On April 17, 1961, a group of about 1,500 CIA-financed and -trained Cuban exiles landed at the Bay of Pigs in Cuba in a failed attempt to overthrow Fidel Castro.
Here’s a newsreel about the “counter-revolution” released by Universal Studios just two days after the invasion:
Gen X’ers and those younger probably encounter newsreels—or more likely, homages to them—as quaint echoes of the past. But for much of the 20th century, newsreels were an important part of how people got their news, especially in the era before television. Universal Studios released two a week, which were shown (in lieu of previews) before every feature film. Some large cities even had dedicated newsreel theaters.
Universal produced this series of multi-topic news shorts as International Newsreel from 1919 to 1929, and then as Universal Newsreel from 1929 to 1967. The reels were seven-to-ten-minutes long and contained six or seven short segments covering a variety of events, from politics and foreign affairs to sports and fashion. Nearly all of them were in black-and-white, and many were narrated by the recognizable voice of Ed Herlihy.
Ends today: If you'd like to help CJR and win a chance at one of
10 free print subscriptions, take a brief survey for us here.