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October 15, 2010 > Local historian on 60 minutes

Local historian on 60 minutes

Submitted By Rena Dein

David Kiehn, a noted scholar in Niles / Fremont history and recognized on a national level with his expertise in American silent film history will be interviewed by Morley Safer in a segment of 60 Minutes this Sunday, October 17 on CBS at 7 p.m.

How did this come to be? It started with his curiosity on the assumed date a film was made in San Francisco near the turn-of-the-last-century. The Library of Congress had listed the film, A Trip Down Market Street, as being made in September of 1905 based on a few factors. David did extensive research and was able to not only ascertain who the film makers were (previously unknown) but also pinpoint the date of the film creation to April 14, 1906 - mere days before the San Francisco Earthquake and Fire. In fact, the negative for the film was on its way to New York on an eastbound train hours before the Big One struck.

60 Minutes became involved because a popular version of the film was on YouTube listing the incorrect date. A reply was posted explaining that Mr. Kiehn had done the research and listing his name and the museum's name. For four months, David received daily phone calls and emails from various people around the country who were interested to learn about his research methods - one of those being a producer of 60 Minutes.

While the segment is focused on San Francisco, Niles will be seen in cameos, we have been reassured. When the producer came to Fremont to meet David, he was so impressed with Niles as a whole, especially the plaza and silent film museum and theater; he insisted the film crew schedule Niles for part of the shoot, as he wanted to capture this important place.

The segment is 12 minutes long so do not miss it. Kiehn can be reached at the museum at (510) 494-1411.

More information on Kiehn's research here

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