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AP Archive / youtube | Remix by Max Fleishman

9 of the most entertaining clips from the AP’s impressive new YouTube archive

A look back at the nostalgic, the historic, and the overtly sexist.


Audra Schroeder


Posted on Aug 1, 2015   Updated on May 28, 2021, 6:05 am CDT

When you think of historic pop-culture moments, you might remember a photo or snippet of a speech. But context is everything, and the Associated Press just gave history nerds a goldmine to dig through.

In the new documentary Amy, a devastating look at the complicated life of British singer Amy Winehouse, we get a sense of her humor, as she throws masterful shade at both Dido and an interviewer in a 2004 Associated Press clip. She’s roughly 21, and though fame hadn’t quite gotten hold of her yet, it seems she already saw through its facade. 

A longer version of that interview now lives on YouTube. Last week, the Associated Press announced it had uploaded more than 1 million minutes of news and archival footage to YouTube—in conjunction with British Movietone, a newsreel archive bookending 1895-1986—making it the “largest upload of historical news content on the video-sharing platform to date.” It’s set to include more than 500,000 videos spanning the last 120 years.

The Winehouse clip is just one of several pop-culture mile-markers included. Many of them also serve as a reminder of how openly sexist ads and entertainment used to be. Good thing that’s changed!

Here are some of the must-watch clips from the collection.

1) Muhammad Ali press conference, 1972

The boxer holds court on his 30th birthday, gives incredible advice about “whoopin’” Joe Frazier, and cuts birthday cake.  

2) Isle of Wight Pop Festival, 1970 

The 1970 British concert has been deemed as a disastrous collision of disorganization and ideology, but this clip zooms in more on the nascent festival culture—and the newscaster’s appraisal at the end is some very British shade. Miles Davis, Leonard Cohen, Joni Mitchell, the Who, Tiny Tim, and the Doors were among the performers, and Cohen in particular managed to channel the anger and tension floating around after five days into a transcendent performance.

3) An interview with Amy Winehouse, 2004

Fame—including how it affected Winehouse, and how those around her, including her father, pushed her to be more in the spotlight than she wanted to be—is a big part of Asif Kapadia’s doc Amy. In this clipcirca the release of debut album Frank, the interviewer asks Winehouse if she could ever see herself becoming “a diva” in “four, five years’ time.”

“I’ll be rude if I have to be rude,” she responds. “But I do that now, you know. That’s never going to change.”

4) Marilyn Monroe arrives in London, 1957

The narrator calls her the “American film star with the famous shape and the wiggly walk,” as Monroe’s shown arriving in London with then-husband Arthur Miller, for the premiere of 1957’s The Prince and the Showgirl. There have long been rumors of conflict with co-star Laurence Olivier; in this clip, the tension is palpable, though Monroe smiles through it all. 

5) Salvador Dalí, 1969

We get a look at what might be on the menu at a Salvador Dalí party, and it’s about what you’d imagine.

6) The wedding of Prince Charles and Princess Diana, 1981

The way British Movietone presented this 25-minute clip is almost like a sporting event: It has an austere, dramatic opening, and it’s narrated by a man doing a play-by-play of the ceremony. In essence, it gives a more elaborate context to something we’ve mostly remembered in photos and tabloids.  

7) Dog walking machines, 1937


8) A very bizarre 1930s ad for jewelry

The “vintage glamour” section of the British Movietone YouTube channel is a goldmine of mid-century fashion trends and a barometer for the social norms of the time. Nowhere is that more apparent than this ad. 

“Give her jewelry this Christmas,” the narrator blares. “That should be the slogan of every man who is a man, and not just a blaggard.” He goes on to say that a wife could use a particular necklace to “hang herself with,” and that what she really needs for Christmas is a new face—preferably a terrifying puppet-man’s. “Sexist commentary pretty typical for the time!” the video description cheerfully informs.

9) George W. Bush gets shoes thrown at him by an Iraqi journalist, 2008

Where were you when it happened?

Screengrabs via AP Archive and British Movietone/YouTube | Remix by Max Fleishman

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*First Published: Aug 1, 2015, 10:00 am CDT