Southern Methodist University

Collection of Southern Methodist University publicity films

A Guide to the Collection


Creator: Southern Methodist University
Title: Collection of Southern Methodist University publicity films
Dates: 1939 - 1965
Abstract: This collection contains 6 mid-twentieth century films shot in or around Southern Methodist University and Texas. Some of the 16mm films were transferred to VHS, and all films have been transferred to DVD. The films feature SMU students, faculty, football games, homecoming parades and events, and three college presidents (Selecman, Tate, and Lee). There are also shots of campus buildings (exterior and interior), campus gardens, and the Cotton Bowl. One of the films was not produced by SMU and is a general college and university fundraising film produced for College Loyalty Alumni Support Program (CLASP).
Accession No: SMU 1991.0024
Extent: 1 box (1 linear foot)
Language: Material is in English
Repository Southern Methodist University Archives, DeGolyer Library, Southern Methodist University

Historical Note

Southern Methodist University was established in Dallas by an Educational Commission appointed in 1910 by the five Annual Conferences of The Methodist Episcopal Church, South in Texas. These Annual Conferences confirmed the work of the Commission, which resulted in the University being chartered by the state of Texas on April 17, 1911.

In 2010, Southern Methodist University is on the verge of commemorating its 100-year anniversary, to be celebrated in 2011. Boasting an enrollment of roughly 11,000 students, SMU confers undergraduate, graduate, and professional degrees through seven schools: humanities and sciences; business; performing, visual, and communication arts; engineering; education and human development; law; and theology.

Scope and Contents of the Collection

The collection consists of 6 movies/motion pictures on 16mm acetate film. All of the movies have been transferred to other formats: some VHS, all DVD and some digitized. The digitized films can be accessed online:

Five of the films appear to have been done by Southern Methodist University staff (possibly Ronald C. Knickerbocker of the Publicity Department—later Public Affairs) who shot "B" roll to document the campus including homecoming, buildings, and student life.

The 1963 film is a promotional film created by SMU staff as a promotional piece for Master Plan and to recruit students.

The 1965 film, "The Silent Explosion: An Ivy Covered Crisis" is a promotional film done by Fidelity Film Productions; a Dallas film company that used Southern Methodist University for some scenes

Arrangement of the Collection

Each movie is a separate series:
Series 1: 1939 Campus Promotional Film
Series 2: Homecoming 1941
Series 3: Campus Views Ground and Aerial 1942
Series 4: Homecoming 1950
Series 5: Promotional film 1963
Series 6: "The Silent Explosion: An Ivy Covered Crisis"


Access to Collection:

Collection is open for research use.

Publication Rights:

Permission to publish materials must be obtained from the Director of the DeGolyer Library.

Copyright Statement:

It is the responsibility of the user to obtain copyright authorization.

Access Terms

This collection is indexed under the following terms in the Southern Methodist University Libraries' online catalog. Researchers desiring related materials may search the catalog using these terms.
Southern Methodist University -- Public relations.
Universities and colleges -- Public relations -- Texas -- Dallas.
Promotional films.
Acetate film.

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Collection of Southern Methodist University publicity films, Southern Methodist University Archives, DeGolyer Library, Southern Methodist University.

Acquisition Information


Processing Information

The archivist made a decision to do a detailed description of each scene in each film. Most of the films had film title cards in front of each individual scene, making description fast and easy. Title cards appear in quotation marks. When possible, time codes were used to give approximate times for each scene.

In general, given the age of these films, the films are in exceptionally good shape. No color correction was done on the DVDs. Some scratches can be seen on every film.

The SMU archivist made the decision to have all of the 16mm digitized in October/November 2009. The digital transfer was done by Rob Walker, Director, Norwick Center for Digital Services, Central University Libraries. He made two digital surrogates, one of which resides on a university drive and one copy for the SMU archives of a DVD of each individual 16 mm film.

Finding aid written by

Leoti Bennett, 2009.

Encoded by

Lara Corazalla, 2010.

Detailed Description of the Collection

Series 1: 1939 Campus Promotional Film

Production date: 1939
B&W, color/no sound; scratchy
Total running time: 00:26:49
16 mm film. Also available as VHS, DVD and online.
This film appears to be three separate films from roughly the same time period spliced together. Film I is immediately followed by Film II in the digital copy. Film I is in color except for sepia title cards. Some of the color footage is in good condition. It consists of exterior shots of university buildings, interior shots of laboratories and classrooms, and exterior shots of students around campus. Film II has a title card indicating that it is the Campus Movies of 1939 created by Alpha Phi Omega. Film III documents the process of putting out the Semi-Weekly Campus student newspaper, starting with assignments given to writers and concluding with students picking up the paper from a stand.
Film I
"Scenes from Southern Methodist University"
Exterior shots:
"McFarlin Memorial Auditorium" - students enter and exit
"Dallas Hall"
"Hyer Hall"
"Engineering Bldg."
"Perkins Hall"
1:24 Interior: "Laboratories"
Two male students looking in a microscope; image under microscope is shown
Interior: female students painting and drawing
Classroom scene – all men, instructor at blackboard, working with adding machines
3:22 Students working with a large machine wheel
Students working with radio equipment
Exterior: two students drawing
Interior: man showing butterfly specimens; some close up shots of specimens
Interior: older man (professor?) looking through large telescope
5:05 "Campus Views"
Exterior: Parking lot; some pedestrians. Cars arrive and depart
Students walking to class by Dallas Hall
Shots of the sky
5:50 "Student Activities"
Peruna (SMU mascot) being led around on two legs on football field
Football game – appear to be playing Texas A & M
Marching band playing in stands
Band marching at halftime
Peruna, the mascot, running around the field
Drum Major and marching band performing
Band standing for a photo in front of a building
Marching band performing
Spectators in stands
Homecoming activities: decorated cars and cars pulling floats drive inside the stadium
Banners on cars read: "Put A& M in the doghouse" "Weed ‘em and reap" "Roast the Aggies" and "Welcome Exes"
Tri Delta insignia on float
9:27 Int. President Umphrey Lee seated.
What appears to be graduation. Students in cap and gown; girls dressed in white walking down the sidewalk
Shots of Dallas Hall with people gathered outside
Baseball game excerpts
Student leading a goat; student leading a dog (Manada Celebration?)
Baby ducks in a tub of water
Girls sitting by the fountain at Dallas Hall; girls sitting on a small stone bridge "church"
Shot of church steeple
Film II
13:03 Title card: "Alpha Phi Omega dedicates ‘The Campus Movies of 1939’ to Dr. E. J. Foscue without whose help the filming would have progressed but slowly. Directed by George Loving and assisted by Kenneth Bandy, Bill Bray, and Bill Montgomery."
Exterior: Unknown woman in white standing in front of a house.
Interior: Woman placing a ribbon on what appears to be a roast pig.
Chef cutting meat.
People eating a formal meal.
Exterior: Three people in a sailboat.
Five co-eds dancing in a line.
Students sitting on the steps of a building.
17:12 Film changes to B & W
Two men fencing.
Multiple shots of people eating in a café.
18:11 "The Student Council 1938-1939"
Students sitting around a table holding a meeting
Woman taking notes
Film changes to color
People having dinner
An older woman giving a presentation
Film changes to B & W
Film III
20:30 "The Semi-Weekly Campus Goes to Press"
"Editor Harting Giving Assignments" - Man smoking a pipe and giving out papers.
"Juanita Rushing interviews President Lee"
"Martha Proctor Writes a Story" - Women at typewriters talking and typing.
"Story Handed to Linotype Operator"
"Associate Editor Johnson Reads Copy and Writes Head"
"Head Smoothed Off"
"Brach Curry Reads Proof"
"Type is Placed in Galley"
"’Proof’ is Pulled"
"Casting a ‘Mat’"
"Linotypist Corrects Proof"
"Jeff Hassel Corrects Final Proofs"
"Associate Editor Makes Up the Paper"
"Papers are Printed"
"9 a.m. and the readers"
Students pick up copies of paper from a stand.

Series 2: Homecoming 1941

Production date: 1941
B&W/ no sound; opening footage overexposed; rest of footage is fine.
Total Running Time: 00:08:34
16mm film.
Available in VHS, DVD and online.
The film documents the homecoming events in a single day, including the homecoming parade and homecoming football game of 1941. All exterior shots.
Homecoming 1941
Crowd lining the street
Decorated cars drive by
President Charles Selecman riding in car
Marching band, male cheerleaders march by
Car with card that reads "Homecoming Queen"
Placard on car with Ruth Swift riding in it
Other decorated cars pass by
Onlookers from building windows
3:20 People outdoors eating at long picnic tables
3:50 A family and fans arrive outside the stadium
Band assembling outside stadium
4:25 Players warming up on the football field
Male cheerleaders tumbling
Football game being played
Planes flying overhead
Footage of game
6:54 From bleachers, two men carrying a sign between them that says "Formal Dance"
Marching band performing
7:40 Male cheerleaders tumbling/performing
8:12 Women and men standing at a microphone on the field, presumably the homecoming queen being presented
Footage of football game

Series 3: Campus Views Ground and Aerial 1942

Production date: 1942
Color / no sound
Grainy; scratched
Total running time: 00:19:00
16mm film.
Available on VHS, DVD and online.
This film shows ground and aerial shots of the campus in 1942. Building shots are all exterior unless otherwise noted.
Campus Views Ground and Aerial 1942
Title card: "Around the campus"
Dallas Hall and fountain
"Random views of the building & grounds at Southern Methodist University"
"From the air" – overhead view of Dallas Hall and surroundings
"Dallas Hall, Classrooms School of Law & Business Adm."
Ground level – Dallas Hall
Students in front of fountain with Dallas Hall in the background
"Atkins Hall men’s dormitory"
"Fondren Library"
"Hyer Hall science building" – students in front
"Kirby Hall School of Theology"
"Perkins Hall of Administration"
"Across the quad to the chapel in McFarlin Memorial Auditorium" – exterior shots of students entering and exiting
"Around the Campus quadrangle"
"Snider and Virginia Halls women’s dormitories"
"School of Engineering & Steam Plant"
"Fraternity Row"
"Ownby Stadium"
Crowds outside stadium
Crowd inside stadium; some men in WWII uniforms
Football players on field warming up, playing in game
Band marching
"Campus Gardens"
Students walking around gardens
Students in front of Dallas Hall
Students walking into Dallas Hall
"Highland Park Methodist Church"
Shots of church and flag
"End" - reflection of cameraman can be seen

Series 4: Homecoming 1950

Production date: 1950
Color / no sound
Total running time: 00:18:32
16 mm film
Available on DVD and online.
This film depicts scenes from the 1950 Southern Methodist University Homecoming including the SMU – Texas A & M game.
Homecoming 1950
0:00 Ext. Dallas Hall
Painted sign: Pride in Progress
Fondren Library and other campus buildings
Cars on street
3:11 Interior: Appears to be a meeting. People wearing badges, presumably relating to homecoming.
Exterior: Sign – "Welcome Alums" Woman pins badge on a man, presumably he is an alumnus. He hands her payment.
Fountain with students milling around.
Tug of war stretching over fountain in front of Dallas Hall. One team is pulled into the fountain and starts chasing the other team.
Women lined up dressed in suits (presumably queen candidates)
Large wooden displays in front of houses (possibly fraternity houses):
1) Bowling pins and bowling ball; sign says "Bowl Over..?"
2) Tractor wheel attached to figure of horse; man dressed in fur coat
3) Wooden cutouts of people raised and lowered
4) "1947 Conference champs"
5) Stuffed figure of man attached to rocket
7:17 Football scrimmage or game; some players wear raincoats.
Fans in stands, some under blankets.
Interior: Men dressed in suits
Sign: "Buy tickets here! Homecoming dance Saturday November 11, 1950 8-10 p.m."
People getting food in the cafeteria and eating
9:31 Exterior: Bonfire
Interior: Women dressed up in formal gowns; big band playing
10:08 Confetti thrown off building
Parade – cheerleaders (male), marching band, twirlers, Peruna the pony
Car with passengers. Sign: First Freshmen 1915
Alumni Association officers
Umphrey Lee in car
ROTC sign on car
Queen contestants
Queen: Mary Beth Roach
Float – "Bustin’ My Buttons With Pride 1915-1950"
Card section standing and sitting
Roach selected as queen; President Lee puts the tiara on her head
Football game continues

Series 5: Promotional film 1963

Production date: 1963
B&W; some sound
Total running time: 00:23:14
16mm film.
Available on DVD.
This film depicts promotional footage shot in 1963 around the campus of SMU. Male and female students speak of their experience at SMU at various locations on campus. President Tate discusses the growth of SMU in the past 50 years and its importance in the Dallas community. During the talk, he shows a 3D model for the Meadows School of the Arts.
0:00 Silent.
Dallas Hall. Students enter and exit.
Peruna the SMU mascot on the football field.
Female cheerleader cheering.
Kickoff of football game.
Dallas Hall, Perkins Chapel, and other campus buildings; includes cars parked on the street.
3:27 Sound.
Student wearing microphone on the steps of Dallas Hall. As students enter and exit, he talks about the advantages of attending SMU.
Hastings Harrison, alumni, seated at desk discussing his support of SMU.
7:45 Campus scenes. Walking in front of Dallas Hall.
Classroom; appears to be a science lecture. Students working with computer data.
Woman singing to piano accompaniment.
9:17 Int. Courtroom scene; appears to be the law school
Exterior: law school
Interior: students seated at tables by vending machines
9:35 Exterior: Fondren library
10:20 Football game in stadium at Cotton Bowl
10:48 Female student discussing benefits of attending SMU.
Male student discussing benefits of attending SMU.
13:10 President Willis Tate in his office discussing SMU’s accomplishments in the last nearly 50 years of its existence. Over 10,000 alumni live in the Dallas area. The student body has increased from 700 students in 1915 to over 6,000 students in 1963. Tate holds up the Master Plan booklet for the university and shows the architectural model for the Meadows School of the Arts.
20:01 Exterior: Campus buildings with cars passing by
Interior: Sign on door: Southwestern Graduate School of Banking
Exterior: building with cars
Exterior: shots of campus buildings
Interior: Unknown speaker at Hilton (?) Tate is seated on the left.
22:37 Marching band on field
Football game
Peruna the mascot on the field
Dallas Hall

Series 6: "The Silent Explosion: An Ivy Covered Crisis"

Production date: 1965
Total Running Time: 029:00 min.
B&W; Sound
Ronald Reagan; Don Cusenbery; Max Anderson; Norman Naill
Dallas, Texas and Abilene, Texas: Fidelity Film Productions.
A lyrical, nostalgic look back to childhood and through the coming-of-age years of the generation in college during the 1940's; ends with an appeal to give generously to colleges. The first section of the film focuses on the effects that World War II had on universities and education in general. It then elaborates on the importance of higher education for our country and future generations. Filmed at multiple Texas college campuses, including Southern Methodist University. Funded by Texas consortium of colleges and universities developed for fundraising purposes, specifically through CLASP (College Loyalty Alumni Support Program).
8:05 Shows a crowd of students walking in front of Dallas Hall; Fondren Science can be seen in background
8:47 Dallas Hall
14:55 View of main quad sidewalk and Dallas Hall
21:51 Main quad sidewalk