More than 30 inches of snow fell in the Philadelphia area during the Blizzard of 1996. More than 1 million people crowded the Benjamin Franklin Parkway to witness Pope John Paul II’s 1979 visit. And an entire nation saw a grieving Amish community last year after a tragic school shooting.
CBS3 was there. Now, CBS3 is here.
At a reception held in Paley Library Wednesday, Temple President Ann Weaver Hart and CBS3 president and general manager Michael Colleran announced KYW-TV is donating its vast video archives to the library’s Urban Archives.
The archives consist of more than 25,000 tapes and 20,000 recordings of newscasts dating back to 1977. Calling the donation a “transfer of riches,” Colleran said the first tape shows a recording of the Mummer’s Parade on Jan. 2, 1977.
CBS3’s Pat Ciarrocchi and Ukee Washington emceed the event with an audience of more than 100 students, faculty and CBS3 employees.
Ciarrocchi explained how it was surreal “to realize that we grew up watching CBS3, and now to realize the work we have done will be part of this wonderful archive.”
“It is now the learning tool and the foundation for our future,” Washington said. “A very small piece of the very big iceberg is here at Temple University.”
The donated tapes chronicle some of the most major events that occurred in both the Philadelphia area and the world throughout the past three decades.
The tapes include footage from the controversial MOVE organization bombing on May 13, 1985, the Live Aid concert at the Philadelphia Museum of Art on July 13, 1985, and the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001.
The tapes also chronicle Philadelphia sports history. Tapes from the Philadelphia Flyers’ Stanley Cup victories in 1974 and 1975 are now part of the archives. The Philadelphia Phillies are also on the tapes, from their 1980 World Series win to the implosion of Veterans Stadium on March 21, 2004.
Washington described the footage as a sports history “through the good times and the tough times. And on that note – the Phillies are gonna be alright.”
Many Temple faculty members from the School of Communications and Theater attended the reception, including BTMM professor and former CBS3 anchor Amy Caples. Also in attendance was Lew Klein, a prominent media figure in Philadelphia and adjunct professor for more than 50 years.
Larry Alford, Temple’s dean of libraries, credited Klein for getting him in contact with Colleran. “Without that connection, this [donation] wouldn’t have happened,” Alford said.
Colleran explained his positive experiences with Temple students in the past. Of the 10 fall-semester interns at CBS3, eight are from Temple. And many employees at CBS3 are alumni, he said.
“We are so proud of them because they are all good at what they do,” Colleran said.
The Urban Archives, located on the ground floor of the library, documents the development of the Philadelphia area from the mid-19th century to the present day, according to its Web site.
The archives already has about 4,000 rolls of film from KYW spanning from 1956 to 1972. However, the archives are not logged, and many are undated. David Washington, Temple’s director of library external affairs and development, said the archivists hope to digitize the newly-donated footage to make the tapes searchable and accessible to students, staff and the public.
This is not the first time there has been a donation from KYW to Temple. When KYW moved from its studio location at 1619 Walnut St. in 1972, the station donated the building to Temple. The university housed its Center City campus there for many years.
Hart explained how the “extraordinary gift . . . [of] what looks like a box of stuff you might throw out” would help generations of students and scholars understand a little better the historical events that have helped to shape American culture.
“I hope this is the beginning – not the end – of a long-term relationship between CBS3 and Temple University,” Hart said.
Ciarrocchi passed on a special thanks to CBS3 archivist Steve Eisman, a Temple grad who said he had Klein as a professor.
“We would not be here without Steve’s hard work,” she said.
“The future is right now and we are proud to be a part of it,” Ciarrocchi said. “I can’t wait to tell my mom that I’m now part of an archive.”
Chris Stover can be reached at email@example.com.