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Amazon head-hunters ; Theory of flight

Identifier: Film Collection no. 68

Scope and Contents

SEGMENT 1: Amazon Head-Hunters. Harry Tschopik, ethnologist at the AMNH, discusses the custom of head-hunting as a means of vengeance practiced by the Jivaro Indians in the Montana region of Peru and Ecuador (near the headwaters of the Amazon River). Tschopik attributes the rapid decimation of the Jivaro to that custom. In the studio, Tschopik observes shrunken heads and narrates a film depicting a Jivaro raid of reprisal against their enemy. A man is killed and his head is taken, shrunk and mounted in this dramatic film by Lewis Cotlow. The program discusses governmental attempts to establish punitive actions for this custom, as well as the threat of Jivaro extinction. SEGMENT 2: Theory of Flight. In a remote broadcast from the Naval Air Base at Floyd Bennett Field, associate producer Robert Northshield shows the ways in which man has exceeded birds in flight, both in speed and motionless suspension. Robert Cushman Murphy, AMNH ornithologist, is interviewed. The broadcast traces the history of man's attempts to fly, from his unsuccesful imitation of birds to his most recent achievements in supersonic aircraft. The film was provided by the U. S. Air Force.


  • 1954


Language of Materials



1 Film Reel (60 minutes) : sound, black and white ; 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 Apr. 25, 1954 as part of the CBS/AMNH Adventure television series.



Charles Collingwood and Robert Northshield, hosts; Lamar Caselli and Mel Ferber, directors; Perry Wolff, producer; Robert Northshield and Jac Venza, assistant producers; Shelby Gordon and Peter Tompkins (Theory of flight), writers; Leon Rice, editorial supervisor; Grover Cole, production design.

Amazon head-hunters ; Theory of flight, 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