Skip to main content

The Tomas of West Africa ; Birdwatching ; Troy

Identifier: Film Collection no. 80

Scope and Contents

SEGMENT 1: The Tomas of West Africa. The Tomas of Liberia and Sierra Leone, Africa are depicted in a film based on the book Sacred Forest, with special emphasis on their rituals and sacrifices, including male and female initiations. Another film on the Toma people is shown. Made by missionaries, this film depicts weaving, playing games, fishing, preparing food, playing music, parading for an inauguration, and dancing for various ceremonial rituals. Joseph Moore, an anthropology professor at the Episcopal Seminary in Evanston, Illinois, and an expert on the topic, is the guest on this first segment. SEGMENT 2: Bird Watching. Robert Cushman Murphy, AMNH ornithologist, discusses the southward migration of birds in the fall, especially of Canadian geese and other waterbirds. A film of slowmotion flights and landings of many waterbirds illustrates the characteristics under discussion. Murphy also takes viewers birdwatching in a secluded section of Westchester County, N.Y. SEGMENT 3: Troy. The story of Troy is presented with an elaborate floor painting and sand table set up in the studio. While the subject is presented as fictional, the theories of Heinrich Schliemann, a nineteenth-century businessman who discovered the city of Troy under the ruins of several other cities, are presented and Walter Ashlin Fairservis, AMNH archaeologist, is interviewed. A film about the ruins of Troy made by Marian Rosen and Carl Blagen of the University of Cincinnatti's Classics Department is also presented.


  • 1954


Language of Materials


Conditions Governing Access

Not available through interlibrary loan. Contact AMNH Library Special Collections for terms of access.


1 Film Reel (60 minutes) ; 16 mm.

1 Videocassette (U-Matic (60 minutes)) : sound, black and white ; 3/4 in.

Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements

3/4 in., U-Matic, viewing copy

Other Finding Aids

Finding aid: script.


Original format: 16mm kinescope.


Originally aired Oct. 10, 1954 as part of the CBS/AMNH Adventure television series.



Charles Collingwood, host; Perry Wolff, director and producer; Robert Northshield and Jac Venza, assistant producers; Shelby Gordon, script editor; Frank deFelitta, Irwin Blacker and Marianna Norris, writers; Grover Cole, production design; Bernard Birnbaum, supervisor of film; Ted Parson, narrator.

The Tomas of West Africa ; Birdwatching ; Troy, 1954
Iris Lee
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the Museum Archives at the Gottesman Research Library Repository

American Museum of Natural History
200 Central Park West
New York NY 10024 USA
(212) 769-5420