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Sally Dixon’s Conversation with WQED’s Jim Sweeney, ca. 1973

As the first film curator at Carnegie Museum of Art, Sally Dixon was well-versed in the history of film in Pittsburgh, and told that story to WQED radio host Jim Sweeney in the early 1970s. Poised and conversant as ever, Dixon starts her tale at the beginning with the first nickelodeon theater, which as many of you may know, was here in the city on Smithfield Street across from Kaufmann’s, later Macy’s.

As fascinating as this history may be, Dixon admits right off the bat to Sweeney that much of the story of film in Pittsburgh is hearsay—a lot of he said, she said—but rather than trying to justify her version, she leaves it up to her audience to decide what they want to believe. She tells him, “You can either print them as truth or as questionable.”

Program Notes is a monthly series on the CMOA Blog that explores the preservation work being conducted as part of the Time-Based Media Project at Carnegie Museum of Art.