Yellowstone Park "Nature's Playground"


8m 1936

Brief Synopsis

This short film showcases the inhabitants and natural wonders of Yellowstone Park.

Film Details

Genre
Documentary
Short
Travel
Release Date
1936
Production Company
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc.
Distribution Company
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc.

Technical Specs

Duration
8m

Synopsis

This short film showcases the inhabitants and natural wonders of Yellowstone Park.

Film Details

Genre
Documentary
Short
Travel
Release Date
1936
Production Company
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc.
Distribution Company
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc.

Technical Specs

Duration
8m

Articles

Traveltalks - Yellowstone Park, Nature's Playground


Shot in July 1936 and released that October, Yellowstone Park, Nature's Playground was possibly the first Traveltalk to be filmed in 16mm color Kodachrome rather than 35mm three-strip Technicolor. If so, it was an aberration; producer James A. FitzPatrick's short travelogues had been shot in three-strip since 1934 and would continue as such until after World War II, when they shifted largely to the less-bulky, more maneuverable Kodachrome system.

In any event, FitzPatrick had enormous freedom to do as he wished creatively and technically. Richard Goldstone, who was production supervisor of the MGM shorts department at the time, later recalled: "Jim Fitzpatrick was very, very much an independent operator. We never had to screen a foot of his material. He never had to ask us where he was going. He had a contract to deliver x number of shows, and when they came in they were accepted as a matter of course... There was no internal, no creative, direction, as far as the regular shorts program was concerned."

This episode explores the park's history, natural wonders (including the Old Faithful geyser), and its four-legged inhabitants - mainly grizzly bears - with FitzPatrick's distinctive voice reading his own scripted narration. According to his 1980 Variety obituary, FitzPatrick's trademark commentary on these short films started accidentally. For his first Traveltalk in 1930, he tried to add recorded commentary from a record, but when the needle got stuck FitzPatrick jumped in to supply it himself. "This," said Variety, "is attributed as the start of film narration."

By Jeremy Arnold

SOURCES:
Douglas Bell, Oral History with Hal Elias (AMPAS Oral History Program)
Douglas Bell, Oral History with Richard Goldstone (AMPAS Oral History Program)
Thomas Meehan, "Those Old Movie Travelogues, Or, 'As the Sun Sinks Slowly In the West, We Bid Farewell...'" The New York Times, Nov. 28, 1971
Variety obituary for James A. FitzPatrick, June 18, 1980
Traveltalks - Yellowstone Park, Nature's Playground

Traveltalks - Yellowstone Park, Nature's Playground

Shot in July 1936 and released that October, Yellowstone Park, Nature's Playground was possibly the first Traveltalk to be filmed in 16mm color Kodachrome rather than 35mm three-strip Technicolor. If so, it was an aberration; producer James A. FitzPatrick's short travelogues had been shot in three-strip since 1934 and would continue as such until after World War II, when they shifted largely to the less-bulky, more maneuverable Kodachrome system. In any event, FitzPatrick had enormous freedom to do as he wished creatively and technically. Richard Goldstone, who was production supervisor of the MGM shorts department at the time, later recalled: "Jim Fitzpatrick was very, very much an independent operator. We never had to screen a foot of his material. He never had to ask us where he was going. He had a contract to deliver x number of shows, and when they came in they were accepted as a matter of course... There was no internal, no creative, direction, as far as the regular shorts program was concerned." This episode explores the park's history, natural wonders (including the Old Faithful geyser), and its four-legged inhabitants - mainly grizzly bears - with FitzPatrick's distinctive voice reading his own scripted narration. According to his 1980 Variety obituary, FitzPatrick's trademark commentary on these short films started accidentally. For his first Traveltalk in 1930, he tried to add recorded commentary from a record, but when the needle got stuck FitzPatrick jumped in to supply it himself. "This," said Variety, "is attributed as the start of film narration." By Jeremy Arnold SOURCES: Douglas Bell, Oral History with Hal Elias (AMPAS Oral History Program) Douglas Bell, Oral History with Richard Goldstone (AMPAS Oral History Program) Thomas Meehan, "Those Old Movie Travelogues, Or, 'As the Sun Sinks Slowly In the West, We Bid Farewell...'" The New York Times, Nov. 28, 1971 Variety obituary for James A. FitzPatrick, June 18, 1980

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