Saving The Golden Age of Television


 “One man’s obsession with the past creates a wave of Nostalgia.” 
-Ron Alexander, The New York Times

"(Ira Gallen is) One of the Industry’s top tracers of lost film and television.” 
-New York Daily News

"These commercials and television shows are a social history of the way we were over fifty years ago, it’s more than a Nostalgia buff can stand.”
-Leonard Maltin, Entertainment Tonight

One Network’s Trash Are Our Nation’s Treasures

I've been known as the “TV, Toy and Nostalgia Guy” since I pioneered the popularity of collecting toys, pop culture items and celluloid film reels almost five decades ago.

My lifelong obsession to save and preserve TV history began with a shocking discovery when I walked into the Paley Center for Media, back in 1980s. I was in search of the television shows and commercials I remember watching as a kid in the 1950s, only to find out they didn’t exist. That's when I learned there wasn’t a museum or library in the country that housed the complete history of television, and in college there were no qualified teachers or books written on the subject because the source materials (the film prints themselves) weren’t available.

At that time, all of TV history and much of film was hidden in celluloid prints, most of which were thrown out by the studios and networks who saw no value in their old product. This is what inspired me to start my lifelong quest of collecting, preserving and sharing lost television history.

It first became a mission to locate these lost celluloid television and treasures, and now the emergency is to restore and save them from decomposing.

However, as a one-man operation, I've never had enough time, ability, funding or resources to properly preserve my 16mm, 35mm, and other celluloid films from decomposing in an ill-equipped storage unit in New Jersey.

Now I'm on the verge of losing it all, after 45 years. This Go Fund Me campaign is my last ditch effort to raise the funds I need to save this important slice of American history told through television, or it will be gone for good and my life’s work down the drain. I simple can’t afford to store, maintain, preserve and restore them myself anymore and I know that there are people who will recognize the supreme value in saving this important collection.

SOS: Save Our Stories from Disintegrating to Dust

Most of these shows, commercials and rare promotional films have not been seen since they aired over 60 years ago. With your help, they can be seen and enjoyed again. 

While the 72 million Baby Boomers in America alone are the first to recognize the value of preserving and restoring these memories of our youth, I have increasingly noticed that my collection also speaks to a whole new generation of those who seek to use the internet to uncover the mysteries of American culture and the world around us.

I understand that not everyone has the funds to spare, especially larger donations, even if they want to support the cause but I feel that everyone at any level ought to be rewarded and get to enjoy some of the best moments in The Golden Age of TV History.  So I'm going to update the best of all the Classic TV commercials, television shows and films already digitized to create Special  Downloads for fans.

For  ANY DONATIONS you will get FREE the following Videos and receive codes to download these high quality video compilations:

​1. Classic Toy Commercials Vol:1 (60 min)
2. Classic Television Commercials Vol: 1 (60 min)
3. Hollywood Bloopers Vol:1 (60 min)
4.Classic Doll Commercials Vol: 1 (60 min) *
​BONUS: Mystery Night Montage (90 minutes) -this is a great introduction to my collection of rare classic trailers, outtakes, cartoons, soundies, film shorts  and more.

​Expires January 1st 2020

*Dolls only offered in this packge until end of December 2019.
For more information, visit:

For special patrons, I am prepared to offer cherished items from my own personal collection of rare, exceptional original and vintage film posters, autographs and other exciting memorabilia as a reward and show of gratitude for high donors who contribute to my cause. You can check out those items here:

Here’s the “Hit List “of my treasure trove of television that must be saved and restored first:

AFRICAN AMERICANS ON TV: Interview with Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshal (1954): Among outtakes from Dumont Television's "Night Beat" was this rare clip of Thurgood Marshall's conversation with Mike Wallace. School Integration in New Orleans (1961): Lost WDSU-TV New Orleans Television Coverage of School Integration in the Deep South during the height of the Civil Rights era. Newark Race Riot (1973): A 16mm Kinescope of the Newark Race Riots 1973 Coverage by CBS News and Jim Jenson.

CAUGHT IN THE MIDDLE: A 1970 CBS Live Kinescope starring a young Morgan Freeman as a street hustler in Harlem. The film aired once and was never shown again but The New York Times critic Fred Ferretti called the drama “an anomaly” and stated that it was, “shot through with brutal, raw strength,” then noted “on videotape last night it charted with considerable success and honesty, to me, the ‘why’ of black rage.”  

KIDS TELEVISION: The Rootie Kazootie Show, Foodini The Great, The Paul Winchell Show, Super Circus, The Big Top, Diver Dan, Juvenile Jury, Ding Dong School, Andy’s Gang, Dumont TV’s Grandpa’s Place.

 ● TELEVISION TOYS (Commercials & Sales Films): WONDERFUL WORLD OF CHILDREN starring Sammy Davis Jr. sponsored by American Character Toys; IDEAL TOYS 1959 Channel 5 Special; REMCO Collection (1950s); THE LIONEL TRAINS CLUB HOUSE (1950) hosted by Yankee Joe DiMaggio.

​● COMMERCIALS (50 hours of 16mm & 35mm) Highlights Include: A wide range of various American and International (Asian, European & South American) Commercials & Clio Award-winning Collection from the late 1940s through the 1990s.

COLGATE COMEDY HOUR: Collection includes a 1954 NBC Kinescope of starring Eddie Cantor, featuring the first TV performance of stage & screen star Joel Grey.

FIREBALL FUN-FOR-ALL: Olsen and Johnson -- who are often unfairly remembered as a sort of poor-man's Abbott and Costello, but really much better than that -- star in what has to be one of the funniest and strangest variety shows ever done for network television.

BROADWAY OPEN HOUSE: Jerry Lester originated the late night network variety show with BROADWAY OPEN HOUSE in 1951, for which all others were modeled after. The show had lots of jokes about "hidden" talents and featured a statuesque blonde called Dagmar. The program was done live and unrehearsed, and has a uniquely manic energy behind it.

NEWSREELS: Vietnam Newsreel: Rare Kinescope reports on the Vietnam War from three TV Networks (ABC, CBS, NBC), meant to be viewed by government officials only.

LIVE MUSIC TELEVISION SHOWS: This Is Music, Young People’s Concerts, Dave Brubeck Jam Session, Old American Barn Dance, Greenwich Village Party, Jazz Party and Polka Party. 

JAZZ PARTY is a series of live jazz performances from the mid-1950s, featuring some of the only recordings of these jazz icons. Coleman Hawkins leads an all-star group including Duke Ellington/Louis Armstrong alumnus Tyree Glenn on trombone, violinist-turned-clarinetist Hank D'Amico (who played with Benny Goodman, Red Norvo, and Tommy Dorsey) and guitarist Mary Osborne.  Also featured: Ramsey Lewis vocalist Bill Henderson, trumpet players Roy "Little Jazz" Eldridge and Buck Clayton, Herbie Green on trombone, Ossie Johnson on drums, Buster Bailey on clarinet, Stuff Smith on piano, Dukes of Dixieland’s Harry Shields, New Orleans legend Alfonse Picou, and Punch Miller (Jelly Roll Morton's band) on trumpet, and others. 

THIS IS MUSIC presents a Salute to Johnny Mercer in all-singing, all-dancing celebration of Johnny Mercer's work, featuring Byron Palmer and Joan Weldon with rarely-seen Mercer present and accompanying the singers at the piano.

YOUNG PEOPLES' CONCERTS: "WHAT IS CLASSICAL MUSIC?"  One of the best specials ever done by Leonard Bernstein and the New York Philharmonic, live at Carnegie Hall in 1960. Bernstein begins by debunking the various ways of referring to classical music and then defines the real meaning of the term “classical” and the Classical Era, using the New York Philharmonic and the piano to illustrate his lecture.

GREENWICH VILLAGE PARTY: Featuring legendary piano composer Cy Coleman as orchestra leader, with appearances by Nancy Walker, Betty Comden and Adolph Green, Mamie Van Dorian, then Paramount Picture president Don Hartman, and the only on-screen interview with controversial and Oscar-winning screenwriter Ben Hecht.

For more information on the TVDays collection, please visit: 

Go Fund My Mission to Save The Golden Age of TV and Treasured Nostalgia

All of the funds received from this campaign will be used to cover these crucial first steps in saving and preserving my massive, unique and varied collection of film and TV history. Additionally, a selection of the rarest, notable and in some cases one-of-a-kind finds will be set aside to be restored and transferred from celluloid into high-quality HD 4K digital format.

Expenses Breakdown:

1. Moving from storage in NJ to appropriate facility in NYC

2. Rental of facility for (3-4 month minimum)

3. Equipment:

Examine, Clean and Catalogue:
-10-12 Metal Racks - to stack the various size celluloid films in order.
-Various sized boxes are needed to repackage the collection.
-Garbage bags and a collection service for trash will be needed.
-2-3 Work Tables fully equipped with a set of 16mm/35mm Film Rewinds, 16mm Movie Scope, 16mm & 35mm tape splicer to examine, splice and clean films.
-One 16mm sync generator, one squawk box, two 8mm & Super 8 Editor viewers, one 8mm Projectors, one super 8mm projector, one 16mm Projector, misc size 16mm reels, blank reels (various sizes), 16mm split reels, tape and film cleaner solution.
-Plastic cans for all the various size films for safe storage.
-Meta-tag bar-coding system to organize and label the films.

Store & Restore:
-Mac/PC laptops with plenty of storage and appropriate interfaces.
-2-4 sets of restoration software packages like Diamant, MTI, Phoenix, an audio restoration software like Izotope, an editing /color correction software such as DaVinci Resolve.

4. Hire personnel for 3-4 month minimum for the following tasks:
-Unpack and spread out the celluloid films into categories
-Throw out all the metal cans (cut weight in more than half)
-Examine the films by for damage and condition.
-Listing the names, lengths (reels) and over all condition.
-Meta-tag barcode the films.
-The ¾, D2, One Inch, and other video formats will be organized in a similar list.   
-During the first step examination we will isolate films to be transferred first.   

5. Selected films will be transferred into 4K HD and restored


Ira Gallen has devoted his life's work to saving and preserving television history, both as an archivist/collector and as a video and television producer/director. Gallen began collecting films at an early age and has amassed a vast collection that includes multiple episodes of old series, Kinescopes, newsreels and tons of commercials, among other things.

Gallen began his film career as a production assistant on major motion pictures then became a member of the Directors Guild of America. He has worked alongside respected, iconic filmmakers such as Sidney Pollack, John Schlesinger, Michael Winner, J Lee Thompson, Gil Cates, Dino De Laurentiis, Sylvester Stallone, and with notable actors such as Robert Redford, Faye Dunaway, Dustin Hoffman and Fred Astaire. His film credits include: Death Wish, Three Days of the Condor, Summer Wishes Winter Dreams, Marathon Man, Super Cops, Shaft's Big Score, Kramer vs Kramer, Rocky II, Gumball Rally, and more.

In the late 1980s Gallen created and hosted his own Public Access television program called Biograph Days, Biograph Nights--a nostalgia show which showcased vintage commercials, films and newsreels from his archives, covered toys and gadgets and profiled the latest film directors. The weekly series ran five days a week for 25 years and garnered a large and loyal following and critical praise.

It was the popularity of his cable show, and the rise of the public's interest in collecting classic baby-boomer toys and watching old commercials during the formative days of public access programming in New York, that had many of the leading newspapers and publications like the New York Times, Daily News, The New York Post, Time Magazine, among others profiling him and his show, and the high prices being paid for old toys. ABC's Nightline even did a feature on his toys and commercials on a special covering the big business of buying and selling old toys.

After doing another live segment on toys for ABC World News Now, Gallen began a five year association with the network, becoming regular contributor discussing the latest trends in toys, technology, nostalgia, collector's items and covering the annual Toy Fair at the Jacob K. Javits Center in New York City, an event which he has documented for 30 years. These television appearances led to Gallen being regularly featured as a guest on programs such as CBS This Morning, Fox and Friends, America's Talking, CNN, MSNBC, and The View, among others.
With the advent of the Internet, Gallen formed TVDays  as an online resource and remarkable trip down memory lane for the vast generation of aging Boomers to relive their childhood through viewing and participating in the documentation of the thousands films, stills, news reels, television shows, memorabilia and especially commercials that Gallen has uncovered.

Ira Gallen’s ultimate dream is to create a network where schools, museums, scholars, nostalgia fans and especially Baby Boomers can have access to the treasure trove of his findings and create their own projects, documentaries, or simply enjoy experiencing a slice of lost history captured on camera.

For more information about TVDAYS and Ira Gallen's work and collections, please visit:

To contact Ira Gallen:

Email: [email redacted]

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Ira Gallen 
New York, NY