Open Letter to the National Film Registry & Clint Eastwood

~~Additional copies sent to the Library of Congress and “boxing” senators John McCain and Harry Reid.

~~Clint Eastwood has been in at least two substantial “boxing” films, but has no publically accessible email address.

Attn: Donna Ross

RE: 1897 Heavyweight Title Fight between Jim Corbett and Bob Fitzsimmons

Dear Ms. Ross,

I would like to rectify a major oversight in the National Film Registry’s list of films chosen for preservation.

The prime directive of the National Film Preservation Act of 1988 “Directs the Librarian of Congress to establish a National Film Registry to register films that are culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant.”

I have recently perused the Film Registry list of films chosen for preservation from 1989-2009, a two decade compilation, and I could not find the 1897 Heavyweight Title Fight between Jim Corbett and Bob Fitzsimmons.

Solar Plexus Punch

Solar Plexus Punch

Please forgive my lack of “qualifications” or “diplomacy” as I have no connection to the film industry nor am I a lobbyist or politician. I am cut from a more common cloth, that of being a common American citizen, so in that vein it is no surprise these days to see a government bureaucracy ignore the most valuable contributions of Americans and their history.

I do note that some novelty shorts such as Rip Van Winkle, The Kiss, and perhaps others were chosen from the same cinematographic experimental era, so it confounds the known laws of the universe to see that the Crown Jewel of Thomas Edison’s Black Maria Studio was not chosen.

Perhaps you were unaware of the importance of boxing to the history of this country and it’s original contribution as a live, dramatic action subject of compelling interest that folks of all walks of life wanted to see enough to flock to theaters decades before Hollywood came along and started rewriting history.

A more detailed history of this fight and it’s making can be found in my 113rd anniversary tribute here:

Or you can study up on the subject easy enough as I did. It ain’t rocket science.

This first ever championship fight release substantially predated the concept of “blockbuster” which the NFR has erroneously attributed The Great Train Robbery as the first ever. The fight also predated the concept of movie theaters and international releases. This and subsequent filmed title fights involving Jim Jeffries shortly thereafter became a spectacular financial impetus to the development of cinema and the original blueprint for the basic business model used in the development of movie making.

Before Corbett/Fitzsimmons, Edison produced the “Gentleman Jim” Corbett & Peter Courtney boxing film and several boxing shorts before that. Edison built special kinetoscopes to handle the 6 x 1 minute  boxing footage, a big upgrade from the stock 20 sec machines in use for his novelty shorts. Then we get into the film upgrades needed to handle a full sized ring and full length championship match which could go for 20-25 rds, in short, full length cinema footage long before movies.

I could go on, but……..

How in 2 decades worth of work the NFC managed to overlook the core history of filmmaking is a question for another time and place.

The question for now is when will this oversight be corrected?

Thank you for your time,

…….Bobby Mac……


One response to “Open Letter to the National Film Registry & Clint Eastwood

  1. Pingback: A Tribute to the “Champion” | Bobby Mac's Straight Shooter

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