Where to find Jesse Helms videos from the 1960s?
February 13, 2009 7:10 AM   Subscribe

Where can I find video footage of Jesse Helms from the 1960s?

I've been cast as Jesse Helms in a play about desegregation in Raleigh, NC in 1960, and I'd like to find some footage of him from the period to study. Ideally, it'd be from his "Viewpoint" editorials on WRAL-TV. I did find one brief clip here, but I'd like to find more if I can. Online stuff would be best, but I'd be willing to do a little library legwork if I need to.
posted by EarBucket to Grab Bag (7 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
corbis motion has a good library. I would suggest calling a rep and seeing if they can help you out.
posted by krautland at 7:59 AM on February 13, 2009

(call because a quick search didn't show anything but they might have more contacts to mine)
posted by krautland at 7:59 AM on February 13, 2009

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ABC News Archives The obit spots should contain some of the footage you seek.

Also do some searches at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill Library
posted by cinemafiend at 10:01 AM on February 13, 2009

Jesse Helms Center - you can order some loving produced videos/discs for 25 bucks.

If you went that route, you would also be contributing to a horrible cause.
posted by cinemafiend at 10:07 AM on February 13, 2009

Helms's opponents searched long and hard for archival footage of the Viewpoint editorials, especially during the 1984 and 1996 elections. Those missing WRAL tapes are part of N.C. political lore.

UNC has the 2,700+ transcripts, but no video.
posted by joe vrrr at 11:04 AM on February 13, 2009

Just a tip, my mother is a native of Raleigh and worked on desegregation there in the 50's and 60's and nothing gets under her skin more about Helms than hearing how he talked through his bad teeth (bad dentures?). She especially remembers this because of his days when he was the Segregationist NC version of Rush Limbaugh on the radio anf TV. If you really want to capture him for those that were there, you've got to get that bad teeth sound down even if you have to exaggerate it a bit.
posted by Pollomacho at 11:16 AM on February 13, 2009

Those missing WRAL tapes are part of N.C. political lore.

Yeah, joe vrrr's right; if the tapes still existed, they would have been used against Helms. They're most likely gone for good. Scratch the surface around here and you'll find plenty of people who claim inside info, but the only thing that's clear is just a handful of short clips remain from all those hours of broadcast, and there's no clear explanation why. The two main theories are 1) that WRAL reused the tapes for something else and 2) that Helms' political operation made sure the tapes were erased so they couldn't be used in ads against him. The transcripts, under that theory, are far less damning than actual footage of Helms in full rant would have been.

For what it's worth, my boss, who was very active in desegregation protests during the time Helms was railing against them, swears he met a former WRAL worker who claimed he personally burned the tapes on orders from station higher-ups. That's about as close as you get to evidence on this one.
posted by mediareport at 11:33 PM on February 13, 2009

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