Ever since the annual Oregon Country Fair commenced in 1969, it has remained a communal space for self-expression, environmentalism, food, music, art and all other forms of creativity imaginable. SCUA’s KEZI-TV/Chambers Communication collection is home to outtakes, B-roll, and news segments of the fair dating back to the 1970’s. Held in Veneta, Oregon just outside of Eugene, this is an event which strongly embodies the spirit of the region. Examining this collection has taught me how unique and deeply-rooted western Oregon’s multifaceted brand of forward-thinking truly is.
SCUA recently received a supplemental accession of nearly 350 U-matic videotapes from KVAL TV (Sinclair Broadcast Group). The tapes, created between 1970 and 1990, provide a glimpse into local, regional, and national news events. Accompanying each tape are reference log sheets summarizing each footage clip.
Here are some interesting stories covered in this accession:
Annual local events such as the Butte to Butte run, and the Oregon Country Fair
Eruption of Mount St. Helens (1980)
Trial of Diane Downs (1984)
Development of Gateway Mall in Springfield (1988-1990)
Artist and experimental filmmaker Andy Warhol (1928-1987) was invited to the University of Oregon campus in October 1967 to give a talk and show some of his films. Warhol sent an actor named Alan Midgett instead, and no one realized he was an imposter until four months later. Warhol and Midgett perpetrated the hoax on at least five other colleges. The colleges paid “Warhol” $2,600, which Midgett kept and used to fund a trip to Europe. “I never thought of getting away with anything,” Warhol explained. “I actually thought Alan would do a better job and people would enjoy him much better.”
Some in the audience complained about Midgett’s lackluster performance and walked out, but enrollment in a UO class on underground film jumped from 63 to 350 after the phony appearance, according to Eduardo Reyes, who booked the October event.
The real Andy Warhol came to campus on February 21, 1968, accompanied by his manager Paul Morrissey and actress Viva!. In front of an audience of 1,000 people, Warhol showed excerpts of his 25-hour long film “* * * *”. According to the Eugene Register-Guard, “The hour-long segment of the film…consisted of two films projected simultaneously. The first twenty minutes or so were overlapping scenes of a girl dressed in a John Philip Sousa band coat, playing with one of those revolving reflecting ballroom globes and talking. The latter part of the film involved a shaggy-haired youth lecturing against the Vietnam War while a woman scrubbed an American flag in the background. Superimposed over him were films of a couple apparently romping on a bed.”
Morrissey explained to one reporter that Midgett had acted in some of Warhol’s films without getting paid, so they let him keep the tour money.
Midgett (who now goes by “Allen Midgette”) continued to work intermittently as an actor and as an Andy Warhol impersonator. He currently lives in Woodstock, New York, where he is a fine artist. A recent interview with him can be found at the online magazine Chronogram.
Sources: Archival footage from KEZI-TV, Chambers Communications Corp., Coll 427, FV34. Special Collections & University Archives, University of Oregon Libraries.
Bishoff, Don. “No, Uh, Andy Warhol Wasn’t Always Andy Warhol.” Eugene Register-Guard, 24 Feb. 1987: C1.
Bishoff, Don. “Real, Ah, Andy, Hasn’t, Ah, Much to Say.” Eugene Register-Guard, 22 Feb. 1968: B1.
Raines, Howell. “Slated at UA, But…Will the Real Andy Warhol Show Up?” The Tuscaloosa News, 17 Feb. 1968: 20.
Humanities Librarian & Curator of Moving Images
A celebration of the James Blue Archive and a talk on film preservation will take place in Knight Library’s Browsing Room on the UO campus at 4 p.m. on Wednesday, April 23. Representatives from the James and Richard Blue Foundation will be on hand to participate in the event. The event is hosted by UO Libraries and Cinema Pacific.
James Blue, a University of Oregon alumnus and award-winning independent filmmaker, is renowned for his socially engaged documentaries and teaching.
The University of Oregon Libraries recently acquired the collection of James Blue (1930-1980), an award-winning filmmaker and educator who graduated from the University of Oregon in 1953 (see below for images of the collection arriving). The collection extensively documents Blue’s three decades as a filmmaker and educator, as well as providing critical insights into his personal life and development as an artist. The materials include screenplays, storyboards, notes and research, correspondence, teaching materials, photographs, home movies, documentary and feature films in various formats, and audio interviews with many of the world’s leading film directors. Continue reading →