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IBM/HF launches effort to save valuable film and video
by Mary Lynly, California Bowling Writers

When I read this article written by Bill Vint in his Windy City Bowling News, it brought back nightmares of the erosion of the California WBA history following the merger. I had been an active member, including president and historian among other things and the display at our 75th Anniversary gala was evidence of how much we cared about CBWA from beginning to end. To have it simply torn apart and disappear was unconscionable. Gone forever.

Bill Vint had been a member of the USBC public relations staff and asked to go to St. Louis to get an idea of what had to be moved from the International Bowling Museum Hall of Fame to its new home in Arlington, Texas. The four man team was stunned with what was found in storage: literally dozens of ancient 16mm B&W film reels including such programming as a women’s championship bowling series held in Chicago in the early 1950’s plus copies of All-Star Bowling, Jackpot Bowling, Celebrity Bowling, etc. “Why hidden in a closet?” says Vint. Because the IBM/HF had never raised the money needed to convert the film to a modern, permanent medium.

Bill was also involved in purging a huge basement full of everything you can imagine at Bowling Headquarters in Greendale, WI. Unless someone recognized its value, everything in the basement was headed to a dumpster. Included were videotapes of Ladies Pro Bowlers Tour telecasts dating back to the early 1980’s including some one-of-a-kind VHS tapes.

Last November, the International Bowling Museum and Hall of Fame unveiled a new “Frame for Frame Project” that “not only was overdue,” says Vint, “but somehow managed to capture the attention of diverse film lovers never reached before.” “Frame by Frame” is trying to raise money to digitize and permanently archive an estimated 500,000 feet of bowling-themed film that is slowly but surely decaying in canisters in Arlington, Texas.

This is an initiative spawned by Greg Williams, recently hired by IBM/HF as Director of Development. Vint says, “Williams has proved to be a rare case of an employee with limited bowling background who came into our sport and immediately recognized a treasure chest that those much closer to the subject either failed to comprehend, chose to ignore or concluded wasn’t worth the time and effort.”

What a breath of fresh air!

As a start, the mainstream connection caught the eye of HollywoodReporter.com which encouraged members of the film industry to help raise the $200,000 needed to do most of the digitizing work. It would be a shame if classic bowling footage of popular stars was lost. Williams noted, “We don’t even know what we have. We could be sitting on a treasure trove of stuff.”

So, if you need a good reason to make a donation to the IBM/HF, now you have one. Send your contribution to: Frame for Frame/c/o IBM/HF, 621 Six Flags Dr., Arlington, TX 76011.


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