University of Miami receives $32M `cinematic treasure trove'

February 24, 2010 - Miami - Some of the silent films of Charlie Chaplin, early animated Betty Boop cartoons and episodes of shows from the golden age of television will now be housed at the University of Miami.

This month, the School of Communications received what is described as a ``substantial collection of moving image materials'' valued at $32 million from Norton Herrick, chairman of Herrick Entertainment.

They include early silent films featuring Chaplin, Buster Keaton and Mack Sennett's The Keystone Cops. Among the animated features are early Betty Boop, Felix The Cat and Bosko cartoons and television programs like This is Your Life, The Roy Rogers and Dale Evans Show and The George Burns and Gracie Allen Show.

In all, the collection includes approximately 3,500 high-quality films in the form of 16mm and three-quarter video masters of moving pictures from the 1930s to the 1970s, which are part of the Herrick's Video Yesteryear Archive, which owns rare and obscure films and television programs.

The university expects the collection will boost the school's stature in cinematic holdings and establish it among the top film study programs in the academic world.

``This is a cinematic treasure trove,'' said Sam L. Grogg, dean of the UM's school of communication. ``The Herrick donation will support our motion picture faculty in their dedicated effort to build a vibrant cinema culture on campus. ''

The new donation, together with a previously donated collection, will allow the school to offer a unique archive of material to students and scholars. With a total of more than 7,000 titles, the UM will be among an elite group of schools to provide its students and faculty with such a resource, the university said.

``I have always felt that this collection could be very beneficial to a film school or an academic department specializing in film and communications,'' Herrick said. ``I am thrilled to know that it is in good hands at UM and that a multitude of new generations of film and communications students can access and study it.''

The donation includes a monetary component to digitize the films and to store and maintain the collection. The collection will be integrated into the curriculum of the school's motion picture program.

For more information on the UM School of Communication, visit: http://com.miami.edu.