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Two Million Welcome Queen / Alaska Celebrates Statehood

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Film Identifier: F.2012-03-0741
Run Time
0h 9m 13s
Date Produced
Five news segments, four of which contain footage from Queen Elizabeth II's visit to Chicago on July 6, 1959. The queen and her husband, Prince Philip, were on a 15,000-mile, 45-day tour along the St. Lawrence Seaway visiting all Canadian provinces and four of the Great Lakes, including a 14-hour stop in Chicago. This was their only American stop and was the first visit of a reigning British monarch to the Windy City.

The fourth segment is a silent newsreel about Alaska becoming the 49th state that same day.
The first section of the film begins with a shot of Buckingham Fountain, followed by views of small ships on Lake Michigan with the HMY Britannia at a distance. A large crowd greets Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip at Queen's Landing as military jets fly overhead. Upon her arrival on shore, Queen Elizabeth is greeted by Chicago mayor Richard J. Daley and wife Eleanor Daley, Illinois governor William Stratton and wife Shirley Stratton, and 12 ambassadors representing the British Commonwealth nations. Ceremonial cannons are blasted as a marching band plays. In Grant Park, Queen Elizabeth reads a speech, declaring “We have looked forward for a long time to coming to Chicago and to the state of Illinois, and to meeting our American friends from the middle of your country. Now we are expecting to spend a busy and interesting day in your great city, where we assure you, that we shall be very keen and inquisitive sightseers."

Separated by leader, the second part of the reel begins with footage of a crowd of spectators gathering to catch a glimpse of the Queen at Grant Park. Police officers push back the onlookers. Next, shots of a motorcade procession down Michigan Avenue, with Queen Elizabeth, Prince Philip, Governor Stratton and Mayor Daley riding together in the backseat of a convertible. Chicagoans wave from their balconies. Eventually arriving at the Chicago International Trade Fair at Navy Pier, the group tours the exhibition hall via shuttle cart. 

The third part of the reel captures more of Queen Elizabeth's visit. Arriving at the Museum of Science and Industry, she examines the Baby Chick Hatchery as a large crowd gathers outside the museum. The Queen, Prince, mayor, and governor are then driven to the Art Institute of Chicago. Cops push back waving spectators.

The fourth segment features silent outtakes capturing celebrations in Juneau as Alaska became the 49th state of the USA. A titlecard reads "NEWS FLASHES - Telenews," followed by footage of fireworks exploding near lights that spell out JUNEAU. The US flag–featuring 49 stars for the first time–is raised and William A. Egan, the governor of Alaska, makes a speech. Celebratory parades follow. 

The fifth segment contains much of the same footage as the first, some shot from different angles.
Main Credit
Telenews (Firm) (corporate name)
Koza, Frank (is filmmaker)
Actors, Performers and Participants
Elizabeth II, Queen of Great Britain (is participant)
Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh (is participant)
Daley, Richard J. (is participant)
Stratton, William (is participant)
Eleanor Daley (is participant)
Related Places
Chicago (depicts)
Juneau (depicts)