For Immediate Release
August 20, 2010
Contacts: Anne Turkos, 301-405-9060 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Film History Recovered! UM-Navy Football Game 1950
COLLEGE PARK, Md. - The University of Maryland Archives has recovered a rare film treasure - on the eve of the Maryland-Navy football game this Labor Day. The film shows portions of the first-ever game between the Terps and Middies at a brand-new Byrd Stadium on September 30, 1950. That opening game was a 35-21 Maryland victory.
Archivist Anne Turkos says that finding this previously unknown film "is particularly remarkable" since the rare footage captures highlights of future All-American and Heisman Trophy candidate Jack Scarbath leading the Terps to victory and Maryland's stalwart defense on that auspicious day.
The Archives is currently working to preserve more than 400 reels of game films, dating from 1946 to 1989, that are facing a relentless enemy - Father Time. Turkos notes that 68% of the football film collection is in an advanced state of chemical deterioration. "We are in a race against time to ensure that none of these important moving images are lost forever," she says.
University Archives is working with Scene Savers, a professional archival services company located in Covington, KY, which focuses on preserving historical films and videotapes, to save the films. Scene Savers is cleaning and restoring the films and creating digitized copies of each of them. The digital files will be streamed on the Web via the Archives' online image repository, University AlbUM.
Recently the firm returned the first batch of digital files, among them aerial shots and highlights of the first game in Byrd. "It's amazing to see the stadium so soon after construction was completed and to see the huge crowd, including the entire corps of midshipmen, that was there for the opening game. The colors and the quality of the film are quite amazing, given its age and the high temperature and humidity conditions under which it was stored in years past," said Turkos.
Scarbath had a chance to share the footage of his exploits against Navy with friends and family during a birthday celebration this August, and they marveled at the quality of the film. "It's a wonder you could bring [the film] back as far as you could," Scarbath said.
The Archives is eagerly anticipating the return of additional digital files and sharing one of the most important parts of the university's athletic heritage, its historical football footage, with former Terrapin players and Terp fans across the state and around the world. "Seeing the early results of this project only makes me more excited about what is still to come," Turkos says.
This preservation effort is being funded by contributions from the University's M Club and Terrapin Club and the Maryland Gridiron Network, as well as numerous individual contributions from former players, alumni, and fans of the Terps. Turkos is working closely with University Relations staff members Joan Patterson and Sammy Popat to raise the funds necessary to support this rescue mission. Only $30,000 is needed to completely fund phase one of the project, and Turkos hopes to reach that goal this fall.
In addition to financial commitments, Terp fans and former players and coaches can also help in another way. If anyone owns or has access to any Maryland football game film, the University Archives would like to preserve it. There are many games that are not currently represented in the collection, and any additional footage that could be added to Maryland's athletic heritage would be greatly appreciated.
To make a financial contribution to this preservation effort, contact Joan Patterson (301.405.4676, email@example.com). For information about the film collection or to donate films, contact Anne Turkos (301.405.9060, firstname.lastname@example.org).
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