Guide to the Norman and Sally Coe Scopitone Film Collection
NMAH.AC.1230

Administrative Information

Repository Information

Archives Center, National Museum of American History, 2013

P.O. Box 37012
 Suite 1100, MRC 601
 Washington, D.C., 20013-7012
 Phone: 202-633-3270
 archivescenter@si.edu

Conditions Governing Access note

The collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use note

Copyright status unknown.

Immediate Source of Acquisition note

Scopitone machine and films donated by Norman and Sally Coe in 2011.

Processing Information note

Processed by Wendy Shay, archivist, April, 2011.

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Summary Information

Repository
Archives Center, National Museum of American History
Title
Norman and Sally Coe Scopitone Film Collection
ID
NMAH.AC.1230
Date
circa 1962-1970
Extent
1.00 Cubic feet16mm motion picture film (141 reels)
Language
English
Language of Materials note
Lyrics in English, French, or German.
Abstract
Scopitones are three minute long 16mm films that were viewed on a Scopitone machine, a jukebox-like player. A precursor to music videos, Scopitones -- both the films and the machines -- were popular in the United States from around 1962 to 1968. The films featured sets, costumes, and dancers in support of well-known performers singing a single song. The collection includes Scopitone films from the United States and Europe.

Preferred Citation note

[Title], Norman and Sally Coe Scopitone Film Collection, circa 1964-1970, National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution

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Biographical/Historical note

Referring to both the films and the machines that played them, a Scopitone is song-length film viewed on a juke-box like machine with a screen. Introduced in the late 1950s in France, and based on technology developed during World War Two, the Scopitone machine offered a selection of up to thirty-six titles. Patrons would insert coins (twnty-five cents per play in the United States), press the button for the film desired, and the film would appear on a small screen that formed the top of the machine. The Scopitone films were three minute-long 16mm composite magnetic track prints that featured performers singing popular songs of the time. Like their predecessor, Soundies, and paving the way for music videos, Scopitones included basic sets, costumes, and choreography. Scopitones were made in France, Great Britain, and Germany. Scopitones (both the machines and the films) were most popular in France. Consequently, a large number of the films are in French and star performers well-known in France. One of the major producers of American Scopitone films was Harman-ee Productions, a company owned by Debbie Reynolds. In the United States, Scopitone machines could be found in bars, restaurants, and lounges. Performers as varied as Debbie Reynolds, Neil Sedaka, and Ethel Ennis appeared in American Scopitones. In many of the films the stars sang the songs while surrounded by scantily-clad dancers. On occasion the production numbers told the “story” of the song. More often, the sets, dance moves, and costumes appeared superfluous. The “look” of the films reflected the times with choreography influenced by the Twist and other contemporary dances and clothing and hair-dos straight from a mid-1960s teen fashion magazine. Scopitones flourished in the United States for a very short period of time. First introduced around 1962, interest in producing and viewing Scopitones had ended by 1968. Most American machines and films were tossed in the trash. Collectors acquired the remaining machines and films. Scopitone films, once a mostly forgotten genre, are now easily viewed on Youtube, introducing this short-lived cultural phenomenon to new generations of viewers. The donor, Norman Coe, became involved with Scopitone as a business in 1964 when he purchased ten machines from the Scopitone division of Tel-A-Sign, Inc. of Chicago, Illinois. Coe placed his machines and the films in bars and restaurants around the Albany, New York area. He left the business in the late 1960s, selling all but one of his machines and several cartons of Scopitone films. He donated his remaining machine and films to the National Museum of American History in 2011.

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Scope and Contents note

The collection comprises approximately one hundred and forty 16mm color composite magnetic track motion picture prints produced to be played on a Scopitone juke box. These films were produced in Europe and the United States.

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Arrangement note

The collection is organized into one series. The order follows the original catalogue/distribution numbers. Series 1, Original Films, 1962-1970

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Related Materials

Related Archival Materials note

Materials in the National Museum of American History

The Division of Culture and the Arts acquired a Scopitone machine as part of the same donation. Accession #: 2011.0056

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Controlled Access Headings

Genre(s)

  • 16mm motion picture film
  • Music

Personal Name(s)

  • Alpert, Herb
  • Anka, Paul
  • Bach, Vivi
  • Carr, Vikki
  • Damone, Vic
  • Darren, James
  • Eckstine, Billy
  • Ennis, Ethel
  • Gore, Lesley
  • Greco, Buddy
  • Hallyday, Johnny, 1943 -
  • Lansing, Joi, 1934-1972
  • Legrand, Michel, 1932 -
  • McNair, Barbara
  • Morgan, Jane, 1920 -
  • Rawls, Lou
  • Reese, Della
  • Reynolds, Debbie
  • Riley, Billy Lee,, 1933-
  • Rydell, Bobby
  • Sedaka, Neil
  • Sinatra, Frank, Jr.
  • Starr, Kay
  • Vee, Bobby
  • Warwick, Dionne

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Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements note

16mm composite magnetic track motion picture film. No reference copies exist. Special arrangements must be made with the Archives Center to view film. Many Scopitones are available for viewing on Youtube.

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Collection Inventory

 Series 1: Original Films, circa 1964-1970

Das Susse Leben (La Dolce Vita), 1962

Performer: Vivi Bach

He's Got the Power, 1963

Performers: The Exciters

Tell Him

Performers: The Exciters

Walk On By

Performer: Dionne Warwick

Hurt by Love

Performers: Charley and Inez Foxx

Mocking Bird

Performers: Charley and Inez Foxx

Frenchie

Performer: Annie Cordy

La Cage

Performer: Marie-Helene

Truddie

Performer: Marie-Helene

Bons Baisers a Bientot (Kisses and Farewells)

Performers: Kessler Sisters

Je Suis Mordu (I Got Stung)

Performer: Johnny Hallyday

So High, So Wide, So Low

Performers: Delta Rhythm Boys

On the Street Where You Live (L'amour Est Dans Ta Rue)

Performer: Dominique

On the Street Where You Live (color)

Black Boy

Performer: John William

Garde-Moi La Derniere Danse (Save the Last Dance)

Performer: Maya Casablanca

Le Bleu de Lete (The Blue of Summer)

Performer: John William

Itsi Bitsi Petit Bikini (Itsy Bitsy Teeny Weeny Yellow Polka Dot Bikini)

Performer: Richard Anthony

Une Boom Chez John (A Party at John's)

Performer: Johnny Hallyday

Tom Pilibi

Performer: Jacqueline Boyer

Pepito

Performers: Los Machucambos

Nous les Amoureux (We Who Love) (A-59)

Performer: Jean-Claude Pascal

C'etait Bien (It Was Good)

Performer: Juliette Greco

Reve Mon Reve (Dream My Dream)

Performer: Isabelle Aubret

Dum Dum Twist

Performer: Hancy Halloway

Loin de Vous (Far From You)

Performer: Dalide

Ya-Ya Twist

Performer: Richard Anthony

Quando Quando (When, When)

Performers: Kessler Sisters

Zizi! La Twisteuse

Performers: Glenn Jack & ses Glenners

Locomotion

Performer: Sylvie Vartan

Le Jour le Plus Long (The Longest Day)

Performer: Dalida

Sherry

Performers: Les Chats Sauvages

Youpi Ya Tamoure

Performer: Danyel Gerard

Une College Anglais (The English College Girls)

Performer: Audry Arno

Tous les Garcons et les Filles (All the Boys and Girls)

Performer: Francois Hardy

Dans le Train de Nuit (Night Train)

Performers: Dominique et Georges Jouvin et son Ochestre

El Gato Montes (Spanish Bullfight)

Performers: El Trompet Gitana - Leo Vidal

Basin Street Blues

Performer: Colette Magny

My Prayer

Performers: Les Brutos

Good Good Lovin'

Performer: Nancy Halloway

Twiste et Chante (Twist and Shout)

Performer: Sylvie Vartan

Remember Diana

Performer: Paul Anka

Oui Les Filles (We Girls)

Performers: Les Gams

Ruby Baby

Performer: Dion

Si J'Avais Un Marteau (If I Had a Hammer)

Performers: Les Surfs

America

Performer: Danyel Gerard

Ava Naguila

Performer: Rika Zarai

Snappez a Mes Cotes (Snappy)

Performer: Conrad Prindel

I Love Paris

Performer: Michel Legrand

Scopitone Party

Performer: Betty Claire

Viva! El Macho (Long Live the Man)

Performer: Carlos Aragon

Hello Dolly

Performers: Georges Jouvan and Dolly Brothers

Belly Dancer

Performer: Miguel Cordoba

Ca C'est Paris (It is Paris)

Performer: Josette Joubert

Etrangers Dans le Nuit (Strangers In the Night)

Performer: Ricardo

Le Catch (Wrestling Match)

Performers: Christian Marin and Roger Delaporte

L'Argent Ne Fait Pas le Bonheur (Money Doesn't Buy Happiness)

Performers: Les Parisiennes

Mon Ami Lointain (My Friend From Far Away)

Performer: Dick Rivers

La Chevalier d'Amour (American version)

Les Majorettes (Touchdown Girls)

Performers: Crazy Horse Saloon Dancers

A Whiter Shade of Pale

Performers: Procol Harum

Johnny Liar

Performer: Molly Bee

The Best is Yet to Come, 1967

Performer: Barbara McNair

The Other Side of the Tracks

Performer: Barbara McNair

Ain't That Just Like Me

Performers: The Condors

Won't You Come Home Bill Bailey?

Performer: Della Reese

Toreador

Performer: Mary Kaye

C'est Si Bon, 1966

Performer: Jane Morgan

Under Paris Skies, 1966

Performer: Jane Morgan

Cake Walkin' Baby, 1966

Performers: Greenwood County Singers

Around the World

Performer: Kay Starr

Wheel of Fortune, 1966

Performer: Kay Starr

We'll Sing in the Sunshine, 1966

Performer: Debbie Reynolds

If I Had a Hammer, 1966

Performer: Debbie Reynolds

I've Got the World on a String, 1966

Performer: January Jones

That Old Gang of Mine, 1966

Performer: January Jones

High Heeled Sneakers

Performer: Billy Lee Riley

Pussycat A-Go-Go, 1966

Performer: Stacy Adams

Tweedlee Dee

Performers: Freddie Bell and Roberta Linn

For You

Performer: Freddie Bell and Roberta Linn

Pretty Girls Everywhere

Performer: Bobby Vee

The Night Has a Thousand Eyes

Performer: Bobby Vee

Queen of the House, 1965

Performer: Jody Miller

The Race is On, 1966

Performer: Jody Miller

Because You're Mine, 1966

Performer: James Darren

The One I Love Belongs to Somebody Else

Performer: Joi Lansing

Three O'Clock in the Morning

Performer: Lou Rawls

The Mighty Mississippi

Performers: Back Porch Majority

Bless Them All

Performer: Shani Wallis

Lost and Found

Performer: Vic Damone

The Lady is a Tramp

Performer: Buddy Greco

Good for Nothing Bill

Performers: The Legendaires

Yellow Haired Woman

Performer: Frankie Randall

I Cried for You

Performer: Sonny King

Sea Cruise, 1966

Performers: The Hondells

Padam Padam

Performer: Hanna Ahroni

Before the Rain

Performer: Sue Raney

Silver Dollar

Performer: Damita Jo

Everything I've Got

Performer: Vicki Carr

I've Got that Feeling

Performer: Ethel Ennis

One Has My Name

Performer: Barry Young

Keep Your Eyes On the Hands

Performers: Princess Leilani and Alex

Smoldering Drums

Performers: Princess Leilani and Alex

Bellazza, 1966

Performer: Bobby Rydell

Where Did All the Good Times Go?

Performers: Dick and Dee Dee

Where Do You Go To Go Away?

Performer: Gale Garnett

My Teenage Fallout Queen, 1964

Performer: George McKelvey

Mother Nature, Father Time, 1965

Performer: Brook Benton

Just a Dream

Performer: Marian Montgomery

Ike Cole Salutes His Brother Nat King Cole

Performer: Ike Cole

If

Performer: Timi Yuro

Prime of My Life

Performer: Billy Eckstine

Five Card Stud

Performer: Merle Kilgore

The Silencer, 1965

Performer: Joi Lansing

Enamorado

Performer: Enamorado

Love for Sale, 1968

Performer: Frank Sinatra, Jr.

Feminity, 1968

Performer: Donna Theodore

The Web of Love

Performer: Joi Lansing

Lazy River, 1966

Performer: January Jones

I Love Being Here With You

Performer: January Jones

If I Never Get to Heaven, 1966

Performer: Della Reese

Irma La Douce, 1966

Performer: Barbara McNair

Calendar Girl, 1966

Performer: Neil Sedaka

Little Miss Go-Go, 1966

Performers: Gary Lewis and the Playboys

Tijauna Taxi, 1966

Performers: Herb Albert and the Tijuana Brass

St. Louis Blues, 1966

Performer: Lou Rawls

Experience Unnecessary

Performer: Donna Theodore

Wonder Boy, 1966

Performer: Lesley Gore

Small Potatoes, 1966

Performer: Gale Garnett

Ole

Most Unusual Day, 1966

Performer: Vic Damone

Cabaret

Performer: Marilyn Maye

Winchester Cathedral, 1967

Performers: Ray Anthony and the Bookends

Love

Performer: Misti Walker

Whole World

Performer: Unknown

Down By the Riverside

Performer: Faith Flury

When You Make Such Pretty Eyes at Me (German)

Das Suss

Please Love Me

Performer: Michel Polnareff

Le Mone

Oh Yeah

Performers: Trio Athenee

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