One of the internet’s best qualities is its ability to provide near-universal access to otherwise obscure media, making the rare ubiquitous in the process. It’s fantastic news, then, that the Associated Press Archive and British Movietone are uploading more than half a million videos of news and newsreels dating back to 1895 to YouTube. The Movietone channel, which covers events through 1986, contains a fascinating snapshot of attitudes toward the popular culture of its day, ranging from the zeitgeist-like (such this video of the Rolling Stones arriving in Sydney, Australia for the first time in 1965) to the head-scratching, like this video of the Kinks getting a haircut while a bemused narrator laments the sorry state of traditional gender norms, one cracked monocle away from losing his mind:

There’s much more on British Movietone’s YouTube page, which is being added to on a daily basis, ranging from commentary on the fashion of various eras to tabloid musings about the love life of Charlie Chaplin.

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[Via Kottke.org]