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tv   Reel America Fresh Colors - 1970  CSPAN  July 5, 2020 4:00pm-4:23pm EDT

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weekend, on c-span3. reel america is our weekly series featuring archival film. coming up we show you three u.s. information agency films that celebrate phil about the american 52 under his country amid the crushing 1958 student uprising in his homeland. then a 1974 episode of the series vision usa. it features a pedal powered miniature car. series, we will visit jim henson's muppet studio in 1978. >> i was trained as an artist. after completing my schooling, i
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worked as an animator for czechoslovakian films. and then the russians invaded my country. now i am a political refugee in the united states. my first job in this country was as an animator. my first assignment was to make a show about the american flag because it was thought i might bring a fresh vision to a familiar sight. here in this room i began my work that would take me back in time and place to that late today when i arrived in new york city. to live one life and come into another creates a break. behind you is the iron curtain you have broken through.
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the long wait in refugee camps, the long lines for processing, the endless paperwork and daily disappointments. and then suddenly it is all over. you have arrived at john f. kennedy airport. all of you is open to every sensation and every sensation is fresh. my first thought was i had been put down in a brilliant part, it did not occur to me these were the colors of my new flag. they were just brilliant and were everywhere. on buildings against the sky. in the clothing the people war. on that initial day, i did what americans think a very strange thing. i decided to walk to times square. that five hour walk did not
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deter me at all. it was like entering a hall with music swelling all around. a melody that had been in the deepest part of me before but had never found its voice. the city itself was magically music and fresh colors mixed together and moving along. i was the one standing still. now happening on this new land gave me a kind of delight that often seems to feel small children. the men in dress, the flags on the street sent my mind.
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this sense of new elation carried over so that every site seemed to trigger my cartoonist mind and suddenly i was reconstructing how our caveman ancestors found it necessary to group themselves under one single banner. it was a matter of livelihood. ♪ just fantasy, of course. but at some time, something like this happened. a group had to and together under a common symbol to protect their common interest. one doesn't have to go too far in history to find in times of trouble, a flag becomes more than just a piece of cloth. before the russians invaded my homeland, our flag had meant nothing for more than 20 years.
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within 48 hours more russian troops were on czechoslovakian soil than americans in vietnam at the time. to fight back was a useless gesture for such a small country.
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there were incidents that were put down with bursts of gunfire. at last, the final resort left for them, a piece of cloth, the national flag.
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the once neglected flag played a tremendous role in unification in the country, kept on its knees for years by a world superpower. why is that you must first see your blood soaked into the flag before the meaning soaks into you? now here i am an american seeing all flags in a different light,
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with fresh eyes. with new eyes, not unlike the eyes of these children. in a sense both of us, a refugee and young child, are newcomers. ♪ >> the color is blue, white, and red.
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the flag has that kind of colors. this is betsy ross's sewing machine. she is sewing for george washington the first american flag. she was george washington's friend. he became president. george washington gave her a plan how she should make it, the first american flag. the stars were only in a circle. george washington lived in washington. betsy ross was his friend. she had seven children. when she was sewing, she could not stand.
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her legs were hurt. he was only a soldier. ♪ >> even more children can use an animator's camera and when they film their drawings, the pictures come to life. >> this is george washington's flag made by betsy ross. and his cherry tree.
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this is an american flag. this is a boy scout. when bad weather comes, you should take the american flag down. when you see a parade, you have to take the hat off your head. the american flag should not be on a car. it should be flying freely on the antenna. many came to america because it
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was the last day of the old american flag. >> the first flag was the english flag of st. george. it arrived in 1497. objections began almost immediately. the first protester did not appear until 1637. john endicott said as it was a gift from the pope, it was an action of the antichrist. he was barred for one year from public office. they commanded loyalty to the british flag even after armed conflict broke out. new banners of independence began to appear. the rattlesnake and the pine
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tree where the most common symbols. as late as 1775, no one had given much thought. the making of flags for forts and ships generally was left to contractors as a project to play with in their spare time. to mark the formation of the continental army, a flag was raised in massachusetts. but actually the flag was the flag of britain. even while they fought british troops. it was the same union flag which flew from the ships of the continental navy when they sailed from philadelphia three days later.
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and the same flag again was raised over manhattan island even after the declaration of independence had been signed and there was no possibility of reconciliation with the mother country. but the hostilities increased. the old flag, symbolic of england, became a banner to be cast off by revolutionaries fighting in a land they declared their own. in 1777, the young congress told the world the flag of the united
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states shall be 13 stripes with a union of 13 stars on a blue field representing a new constellation. as the legend tells us, on the day congress laid down guidelines, jones was named commander of the newly built ship. >> ♪ stars & stripes had not been seen beyond the country shores a giant of a man went down in history aboard the good ship ranger he made his way to france. our commissioners in paris gave the stars and stripes a chance the french gave the first salute our flag was recognized seeing one more round his ship that never went down the greatest one of all with guns that would never fall
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no ordinary seaman claimed such victories in our early history john paul jones me parties the ranger went down in history for john paul jones and his great ship that never went down ♪ >> at last the permanent design was set. then a new problem arose in 1777. vermont and kentucky were added. the old flag no longer work. that brought up a debate over what should be done to keep the american flag up to date. within 15 years, there might be
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as many as 20 states. the banner would become a streamer that would go on and on. at last, under pressure to get onto more important business, the problem was postponed as the house voted to have the flag of the united states 15 stripes with the union of 15 stars. in its earliest years, the stars and stripes floated over a few merchant vessels. most americans never even saw it. then as now the world was
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dominated by superpowers. the u.s. was not one of them. it was just a fledgling nation, not strong at all. it took powers like england and france and as they straggled for supremacy, america and her ships were caught in the middle. it's commerce preyed upon. so as the 19th century don, america found herself engaged in yet another struggle to preserve her right for independence. during 1812, at fort mchenry, francis scott key wrote "the star-spangled banner." with the war of 1812 over, a new piece was born and the pattern for the permanent flag was set. a white star for every state, to be set upon a blue field. from the day it first appeared, the stars and stripes have gone through 27 changes. once as southerners attempted to break away, the flag was split in two. so i find myself in a new homeland, under a flag that has strengthened its people in times of growth and in times of trouble.
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this is today, as it always has been. a land of many people's with one banner, each to worship in his own way. to aspire to self-expression in his own way. to achieve for himself, his children, and his country in his own way. with this as the goal for all
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newcomers and the children after them, the stars & stripes of the united states has emerged as a symbol of hope and strength for people everywhere. my hope for my people in czechoslovakia is that one day there flag will fly as bravely and as proudly as the flag of the united states. ♪
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>> you can watch archival films in their entirety on our weekly series "reel america" on american history tv. ♪


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