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Five newsreel companies (Fox Movietone, Hearst News of the Day, Pathe, Paramount and Universal) sent staff cameramen to Lakehurst, New Jersey to photograph yet another routine arrival of the Hindenburg to the United States. Disappointed by the bad weather, the Universal cameraman left to see a Broadway play while the other cameramen remained. Universal acquired the rights to the Hearst footage. Two of these reels (Paramount and Fox Movietone) were edited into a dub with Herb Morrison's recording that has well circulated around the Internet. Like other composites found in some documentaries, certain sequences are repeated in different angles. Another silent newsreel consists of Pathe footage of the Hindenburg's first landing the previous year and Universal Newsreel footage of the disaster.
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Of all five newsreels filmed from the disaster, none show the moment the fire first broke out. Most of the cameramen had their cameras aimed at the ground crew and only started rolling seconds after the fire first appeared. The Pathe Cameraman, William Deeke, did have his camera focused on the airship as it caught fire, but his camera malfunctioned. He had to set up a hand crank and by the time he started filming the ship was already burning and its tail was already on the ground. The footage shown in the Hearst and Universal Newsreels (filmed by Hearst's James Seeley) is the most complete of the four reels filmed.
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Although Herbert Morrison's narration has become inseparable from the famous newsreel footage, they were not synchronized until many years later. What is often shown today is the newsreel footage with Morrison's narration dubbed onto it.
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"Charlie", mentioned in his report, is his sound engineer, Charlie Nielsen, who was manning the transcription disc recorder inside a nearby garage as Morrison narrated the disaster.
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