Home movie of 1939 Union Station opening in L.A. unveiled

Posted on April 24, 2014

Photo by Matt' Johnson via Flickr
Photo by Matt' Johnson via Flickr
In honor of Los Angeles Union Station’s 75th Anniversary May 3, Metro and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, in cooperation with the family of Ward Kimball, have restored and are streaming online the only known footage of the opening of what turned out to be the last great rail station in the U.S.

The parade, documented in the home movie, drew half a million spectators to downtown Los Angeles.

The silent 6-minute color film clip features train engines, vintage cars and spectators from the parade that took place on May 3, 1939. The home movie was shot by legendary Disney animator Ward Kimball, creator of numerous classic Disney characters including Jiminy Cricket in “Pinocchio,” Tweedledee and Tweedledum in “Alice in Wonderland,” and Lucifer the Cat in “Cinderella.” In 1970, Kimball received an Academy Award for Best Short Subject (Cartoon) for “It’s Tough to be a Bird.”

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Kimball was an avid railway enthusiast and collector of old railroad memorabilia. His personal film collection at the Academy Film Archive includes footage of Kimball‘s own Grizzly Flats Railroad and other documentaton of a range of transportation technologies.

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