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Discovering L.A.'s film archives.

More than 80 years of cinema history make Los Angeles a treasure trove for film buffs curious about the world of studios, stars, and scripts. In four libraries and archives here, you can find almost anything you want to know about the history of films, TV programs, newsreels, movie personalities, or related subjects. At two places, you can see what interests you on private viewing screens.

Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, 8949 Wilshire Boulevard, Beverly Hills. At the heart of the film industry in the United States, the academy, which sponsors the Academy Awards each year, is also a research facility. The Margaret Herrick Library is open, free, from 9 to 5 weekdays except Wednesdays.

Here you can find (though not borrow) books, pamphlets, film periodicals, catalogs, scripts, screenplays, clipping files, more than 4,000 film posters dating back to 1914, and some four million photographs. There are also more than 60,000 files discussing specific movies, starting with Thomas Edison's 1894 kinetoscopic record of a sneeze.

Metered parking is on the side streets on each side of the academy; call (213) 278-4313 for reference information.

American Film Institute, (AFI), 2021 Western Avenue, Los Angeles. This nonprofit organization, supported by the whole film industry, is dedicated to the advancement of film. In its Louis B. Meyer Library, AFI houses more than 6,500 books on film, television, and related subjects. It has a good collection of film and TV criticism, unpublished scripts, 150 periodicals, more than 25,000 clipping files, and interviews with film industry pioneers.

The library, which has no film-viewing facility, is only semipublic: you must be involved in the entertainment industry, or researching some aspect of film or television to use the facility. Appointments are urged; call 856-7600. Hours are 10:30 to 5:30 weekdays.

UCLA Film, Television, and Radio Archives, Westwood. UCLA's archives are second only to ones in the Library of Congress in the amount of preserved film and TV footage. You can view some 55 million feet of early nitrate-type films, 14 million feet of newsreels, 26,000 celluloid films, and 20,000 TV programs, or listen to some 45,000 vintage radio programs.

The collection includes classics such as Charlie Chaplin's 1918 A Dog's Life and Cecil B. De Mille's 1934 Cleopatra. Here too are animated film collections, "B" Westerns, documentaries, and newsreels that have never been shown to the public. The collection has proven so popular since its 1974 public opening that appointments must now be made about a month in advance for the small viewing rooms. For appointments, write or call the UCLA Film Archives, College of Fine Arts, Room 1438, Melnitz Hall, Los Angeles 90024; 206-8013.

This summer you can see archive films showing at UCLA's Melnitz Theater; call 825-2581 for the schedule. In addition, several other film series are playing here: A music-and-film series starts Friday, July 12, and continues Saturday and Sunday nights to September 8. The horror films of James Whale and Tod Browning will play Thursday nights to September 12. The 1985 Whitney Biennial film Exhibition plays Tuesdays from July 2 to August 6, and a new French cinema series runs Mondays from August 5 to 26.

All shows begin at 8 P.M. at Melnitz Theater; tickets are $3.50. Parking is $3 in Lot 3 on the east side of campus.

University of Southern California, Doheny Library Special Collections, Los Angeles. USC's assemblage includes books, periodicals, screenplays, production materials, and more than 200 films on video tape. Papers include Fox, MGM, Warner Brothers, and Universal Studios scripts dating back to 1919. Here are also memorabilia collections from George Burns, Chuck Connors, Edward G. Robinson, and a hundred other actors.

The viewing room and collections are in the Special Collections room of the Doheny Library on USC's campus. Reservations for the viewing machine are required a few days in advance; call 743-6058. The room is open 8 to 9 Mondays and Wednesdays, 8 to 5 Tuesdays and Thursdays, and 9 to 5 Saturdays.
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Date:Jul 1, 1985
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