San Francisco Moving Picture Time Machine

Randall Stephens

It's really hard to believe that 60 Minutes has been on the air since 1968. (In fact, you can watch original episodes in their entirety here.) This Sunday proved the show still has much to offer all these years later.

In a segment called "60 Minutes Rewind," the program turns its attention to a remastered film, an amazing, rare bit of footage from more than 100 years ago. Way back when two clever filmmakers decided to mount a camera to the front of a trolly car that was rattling down Market Street. The footage is astonishing. I'm thinking about using it in my fall course, the United States from Reconstruction to World War I. Like this 1848 daguerreotype of Cincinnati, the moving pictures might encourage class discussion on what we can learn about a large American city from this film from so long ago. (See also how the story follows the sort of digging, investigation historians have to do.) Have a look and see what you think . . .