By Karin Carlson
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So far I have processed 10,974 reels of film in the WCVB Collection. As I collect information about these reels, one piece that stands out is the “slug”. Slugs are short description of the story written on the leader of each reel. Some are an easily understandable summary of the film, like “Roxbury Auto Accident,” “Church St. Fire,” or “Red Sox vs Yankees.” I’m also drawn to slugs like “Nixon Impeachment on street interviews” and “Munich Reaction” because of the historical perspective they offer. I am curious how the average person on the street felt about Watergate or the hostages at the 1972 Munich Olympics. Many of these stories seem fairly obvious from the slug. Others are a bit more mysterious.
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Titles like “Wheelchair Hitchhiker,” “Monkey Kicker,” “Nudity Patrol,” and “Bag Witch” pique my curiosity and I find myself imagining what the story maybe. Other slugs like “Christ Child Contest,” “Crab Soccer,” “Disco Fight” or “Krishna Claus” I like for the title but have a slightly better idea what the story may be. One of my favorites I have come across is “Freud Squad.” I suspect that this may be an error and the correct title might be Fraud Squad, but I have had fun imagining what a Freud Squad’s tasks would be. Other favorite titles include “Storm Babies,” “Seal on the Loose,” “Santa Feeds Da Horses,” “Math Phobia,” and “Elephant Head Removed.” Besides being great band names these slugs provide an insight into the humor of the news staff.
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I know that some of these stories won’t be as exciting as their slugs suggest, but I’m looking forward to the day I can start transferring some of these reels and discovering what they are about. If you're interested in seeing what the footage looks like for any of these slugs, vote to have them digitized! The slugs are hyperlinks to the catalog records, so just click on them to cast your vote.