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San Francisco disaster

SUMMARY This film shows the partial burning of a small-scale model of downtown San Francisco in an early attempt at simulating the 1906 disaster. The model is seen in aerial view from above the South-of-Market district, looking northwest toward Market Street and the downtown area. Russian Hill (left) and Telegraph Hill (right) are shown in a painted background. The Call Building at 3rd and Market streets is modelled at left center, and the Ferry Building (Market and East streets) is shown at right. Market Street and downtown have been greatly shortened between the two enlarged model building. It is likely that the producers of the film wanted their audiences to think that they were viewing actual footage of the fire, and the film was probably promoted as such. In reality, the location of the initial fires was more widely scattered than is shown, with many more blazes beginning out of view, at left, and a few more north of the Ferry Building. And while the principal fires did coalesce and spread from the area shown burning, the flames never reached the spectacular proportions shown in the simulation. Note the heavy puffs of smoke wafted in from the left, both to give the impression of a rapidly spreading conflagration and to put out the flames for the final "smoking ruins" view. In fact, every part of the city shown (except a few small pockets) burned over a three day period. No doubt today's special effects wizards could produce a far more convincing simulation of the disaster. CREATED/PUBLISHED United States : American Mutoscope and Biograph Company, 1906. NOTES Copyright: American Mutoscope & Biograph Co.; 19May1906; H77924. Camera, G.W. Bitzer. Photographed: May 5, 1906. Location: Studio, New York City. SUBJECTS San Francisco Earthquake and Fire, Calif., 1906. Fires--California--San Francisco. San Francisco (Calif.)--History. Trick--Short. RELATED NAMES Bitzer, G. W., 1872-1944, camera. American Mutoscope and Biograph Company. Paper Print Collection (Library of Congress) DIGITAL ID lcmp003 m3b01123
Length: 03:28


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