I’ve posted a lot of historic videos of cities. Those from decades ago show places radically different from today. But at some point, a video of the city, even if from the some time ago, would have to be a place that we can in a sense recognize from today.
That’s my experience of this late 70s tourism vision of Chicago, released by the Chicago Film Archives. Though the haircuts and fashion are a world apart, much of what they show and talk about is as relevant today as it was back then.
I actually visited the city about the time of this video when I was a kid. I apparently took a picture of the city from the Sears Skydeck. Looking at that photo in the recent past, my exclamation was, “The skyline is missing!” You’ll see that here. While most of the touchstone buildings like the Sears Tower, Hancock, Marina City, etc. area ll there, the infill buildings leave a much less dense feel to the skyline.
The Chicago Film Archives has a number of interesting pieces. Here’s one called “Chicago: The City to See in ’63.” Though not that many years prior to the 1977 film above, this portrays a much more foreign Chicago to me, thought obviously parts of it are familiar. If the video doesn’t play for you, click over to watch on YouTube.
In closing, I’ll just note that these videos also show the decline of religion not just in American life, but in the civic language. You’ll note that both devote an significant amount of time to churches and temples, whereas contemporary videos are generally devoid of both, major tourist attractions like Sagrada Familia excepted.
from The Urbanophile