Without a doubt, one of the biggest disappointments of long-time Eurovision fans is not having any complete video recordings of the 1964 edition.
The 9th edition of the contest was held at Tivolis Koncertsal in Copenhagen, Denmark, on Saturday 21 March 1964. It was allegedly never recorded in the first place (although a persistent myth says that the tape was destroyed in a fire).
All we had until today was a full audio recording of the radio broadcast by Danish broadcaster DR, as well as a few scattered clips that led to a few reconstructions available on YouTube.
But now, a new exclusive clip has emerged from Reddit.
New footage of Eurovision 1964 retrieved from Finnish broadcaster Yle
In an introductory post, Wisey mentions how they spent months contacting each broadcasting company that aired the contest back in 1964, asking if they had any footage in their archives.
Most of the companies confirmed they didn’t have any. But with the persistence of a true Eurovision fan, Wisey was finally able to purchase a clip of the actual TV broadcast from Finnish broadcaster Yle’s archives.
In the video, we can see Italy’s Gigliola Cinquetti being presented as the winner of Eurovision 1964. The host of the show, Lotte Wæver, introduces the award presenter, Svend Pedersen. We also see shots of the Grand Prix medal, the audience, and then the clip finishes with a portion of Gigliola singing the winning reprise of her song “Non ho l’età”.
Since the footage was retrieved from broadcaster Yle, we can also hear Finnish commentator Erkki Melakoski in the background.
The footage, although very short (2:47 minutes), allows us to finally have a glimpse of the aesthetics of Eurovision 1964, as well as production details such as camera angle changes.
Enjoy this piece of history with us:
The lost recording
As many fans know, no complete video recording of the 1964 Eurovision song contest was known to survive, even though a complete audio recording does exist in the form of the DR radio broadcast.
Back in July, French television conserver INA confirmed to wiwibloggs that they don’t possess a copy of the contest.
A common myth is that the tape was destroyed in a fire in the 1970s. More recent interviews with DR, however, state that the broadcast was never recorded in the first place, allegedly due to no tape machines being available at the studio.
Some fan reconstructions were made using available clips and press photos. YouTube channel ESCstuff released their full reconstruction of the contest in December 2020, using the footage recovered from Germany.
An incredible find and a new hope for more footage
This new clip is not only an absolutely incredible find, but a new hope for Eurovision fans all over the world who always wanted to fully enjoy the 1964 edition in video format.
Wisey commented: “I’m so happy to be a part of the ESC community. I have loved the contest ever since I was a kid, and feel so honoured to be part of the ever growing history of this wonderful contest”.
Today I showed the ESC community the first glimpse of TV footage from the 1964 contest and am so happy to see the joy from everyone. I love this contest so much https://t.co/unIdzd9jYz— Wisey (@WiseyHusky) December 13, 2021
1956 and 1964 – The missing Eurovision pieces
This isn’t the only new piece of Eurovision footage that fans have recently uncovered.
Along with 1964, there is also no full video recording of the very first Eurovision Song Contest from 1956. But earlier this year, a full video of Switzerland’s Lys Assia performing her winner’s reprise emerged on YouTube. Uploader wieke qwieke notes that the footage was taken by photographer Vincenzo Vicari, who had been hired to photograph the 1956 contest (thus, it’s not TV camera footage).
Previously, fans only had a two-minute version of this performance of “Refrain” that cut sections out. In this full clip we see them starting the reprise over again after Lys becomes overwhelmed with emotion following her victory and stops singing.
Eurovision blog Good Evening Europe also uncovered further photographs taken by Vicari at the contest in 1956. They help give us even more insight into the very first edition of Europe’s most popular song contest.
We truly hope we’ll be able to retrieve even more footage thanks to the effort of the Eurovision fandom. For now, we are grateful to fully enjoy these pearls from the past.
What do you make of this new footage from Eurovision 1964? Does it give you hope that further footage may be found in the future? Let us know in the comments below.