The Center houses a large collection of moving images in film, video, and digital formats. The largest portion comes from the KCRA-TV Film Collection and the KOVR-TV Film Collection, both of which contain raw news footage and edited programs date from the late 1950s. Other major collections include local feature and advertising production companies Alexander Media Services Inc. and Steve LaRosa Productions; KVIE’s Good Old Days series; Harold N. Ouye family home movies; and multimedia artist and Sacramento City College professor Darrell Forney.
Using and Licensing Footage
The first step to licensing our footage is to submit a REQUEST FORM and go over our licensing agreement and policies.
Accessing Our Collections
While our television film collections are not currently searchable through the CSH catalog, we do have a number of access points to the collections:
Finding aids with film logs for KCRA and KOVR
Video Archive Masters Subject Catalog, which lists the most frequently requested footage that has already been transferred to archival formats
Selections from our KCRA and KOVR-TV collections digitized and available on the Internet Archive
KCRA-TV Film Collection
Containing over nine million feet of 16mm news film, the KCRA-TV Film Collection documents the work of Sacramento's NBC television affiliate from 1957
to 1982. The collection has been licensed for use in such documentaries as Eyes on the Prize, Chicano!, Berkeley in the Sixties, Fight in the Fields, and America's
War on Poverty since its donation to the Center in 1978. While the early footage is limited, coverage of newsworthy events expanded considerably in
the 1960s. Noted for their in-depth political coverage, KCRA was the first California station to have a Capitol news bureau. The bulk of the collection
contains day-to-day news stories – politics, crime, local events, sports, and human interest stories – occurring in northern California and the Sacramento
In addition to daily news coverage, KCRA filmed travelogues, specials, documentaries, consumer advocacy investigations, and public service features
that aired separately. The station originated the concept of reporters traveling the world to film stories on the everyday life of other cultures,
including filming a travelogue series that documented primitive tribes in Africa and South America. Like many local television stations, KCRA staff
also produced commercials for local and regional businesses.
KOVR-TV Film Collection
Containing over seven million feet of 16mm news film, the KOVR-TV Film Collection documents the work of Sacramento's then ABC television affiliate from 1967 to 1981. KOVR, with bureaus in both Sacramento and Stockton, focused on events within Sacramento, San Joaquin, and Stanislaus Counties. KOVR is the oldest continuously operating television station in the Sacramento region having started broadcasting on September 5, 1954.
The KOVR-TV Film Collection arrived at the Center for Sacramento History through a circuitous route. Harry Sweet, a cameraman for Channel 3 KCRA for many years, discovered that Channel 13 KOVR was going to discard their television news film footage, including some news report scripts, and arranged to rescue the material. Mr. Sweet donated the collection to California State University, Sacramento (CSUS) in 1991. CSUS transferred the collection to the Center for Sacramento History in 2016.
Subject Matter of the TV Film Collections
Few film archives cover both regional and national news stories, thus making the KCRA-TV Film Collection and the KOVR-TV Film Collection remarkable in its depth and scope. The recorded
footage provides a unique look into a dramatic time period in California.
The following list is suggestive of the subject matter in these collections:
- Presidential campaigns from 1964 through 1980
- Robert F. Kennedy's presidential campaign and assassination in 1968
- Richard Nixon's campaign for governor in 1962
- Day-to-day coverage of the administrations of Governors Edmund G. “Pat” Brown, Ronald Reagan, and Jerry Brown
- Day-to-day coverage of the State Assembly and Senate starting in 1962
- Urban race riots, including the 1966 riots in Oak Park
- University campus unrest and the anti-war movement in the 1960s and 1970s
- Black Panthers at the California State Capitol
- Free Speech Movement
- César Chávez, Dolores Huerta, the United Farm Workers and the farm labor movement
- Alaskan oil reserves development
- Zodiac Killer
- Patty Hearst and the SLA kidnapping
- Charles Manson interview with reporter Mike Boyd in 1972
- The first heart transplant performed in the U.S. at Stanford University Hospital