IRA GALLEN BIOGRAPHY
"One Man’s Obsession with the Past creates a wave of Nostalgia.”
-Ron Alexander, The New York Times
"(Ira Gallen is) One of the Industry’s Top Tracers of lost film and Television.” -New York Daily News
"These Commercials and Television Shows are a Social History of the way we were over fifty years ago, it’s more than a Nostalgia buff can stand.” -Leonard Maltin, Entertainment Tonight
Ira Gallen has been renowned as the “TV, Toy and Nostalgia Guy” since he pioneered the popularity of reviewing toys, pop culture items and historical stock footage on many prime time news programs, documentaries and television shows starting in the 1970s.
As one of the leading self-proclaimed “Baby Boomer Gurus” of the generation raised on television, he has garnered a loyal following of fans and clients that make up a Who's Who list of the entertainment world and global cultural market: celebrities, major corporations, universities, scholars and nostalgia fans worldwide for over 45 years.
Gallen has been almost single-handedly responsible for saving and preserving a a lost part of television history, both as an archivist/collector and as a video and television producer/director. Born in Brooklyn, Gallen became a film enthusiast while in his teens.
He was fascinated by the early filmmakers of the silent era and published two books on the legendary yet controversial film director D.W. Griffith.
Gallen began collecting films at an early age that included feature films, newsreels, cartoons, sales films, educational films, home movies, government and military films, silent & sound features, shorts and soundies.
He's most noted for having the largest collection of commercials--that eventually encompassed over 225,000 film reels and broadcast tapes. He is known to have one of the most impressive and varied stock footage companies in the world. Hundreds of his rare and in some cases one-of-a-kind films have been donated to the prestigious Paley Center for Media in New York.
Gallen has enjoyed a long and storied career in the film and television industry since 1972. He has worked alongside respected, iconic filmmakers such as Sidney Pollack, John Schlesinger, Michael Winner, J Lee Thompson, Gil Cates, Dino De Laurentiis, Sylvester Stallone, and with notable actors such as Robert Redford, Faye Dunaway, Dustin Hoffman and Fred Astaire, among others on films such as: Death Wish, Three Days of the Condor, Summer Wishes Winter Dreams, Marathon Man, Shaft's Big Score, Kramer vs Kramer, Rocky II, Man in a Santa Claus Suit, Gumball Rally, and more.
In the late 1980s Gallen created and starred in his own Public Access television program called Biograph Days, Biograph Nights--a nostalgia show which showcased vintage commercials, films and newsreels from his archives, covered toys and gadgets and profiled the latest film directors. The weekly series, ran five days a week for 25 years and garnered a large and loyal following and critical praise.
It was the popularity of his cable show, and the rise of the public's interest in collecting classic baby-boomer toys and watching old commercials during the formative days of public access programming in New York, that had many of the leading newspapers and publications like the New York Times, Daily News, The New York Post, Time Magazine, among others profiling him and his show, and the high prices being paid for old toys. ABC's Nightline even did a feature on his toys and commercials on a special covering the big business of buying and selling old toys.
Gallen’s archives were used by a then-fledgling start-up search engine (now called Google) in 1998 to attract more viewership in the same way cable and network television did. The company was even interested in helping Gallen on his mission to save and share the lost gems of TV history from his collection. However, once Google purchased YouTube with its endless amount of content, they no longer required Gallen’s unique materials and their offer of assisting in preserving his archives was forgotten.
With the advent of the Internet, Gallen formed TVDays.com as an online resource and remarkable trip down memory lane for the vast generation of aging Boomers to relive their childhood through viewing and participating in the documentation of the thousands of rare and in some cases one-of-a-kind films, stills, news reels, television shows, memorabilia and especially commercials that Gallen has uncovered.
Ira Gallen’s ultimate dream is to create a network where schools, museums, scholars, nostalgia fans and especially Baby Boomers can have access to the treasure trove of his findings and create their own projects, documentaries, or simply enjoy experiencing a slice of lost history captured on camera.
Click: Ira Toy Reviews on CNN, ABC'S World News Now, Fox and Friends among others.
Click to View Reviews
New York Times, Daily News, The New York Post, Time Magazine, among others profiling his show, and the high prices now being paid for old toys. ABC's Nightline profiled his toys and commercials on a special covering the big business of buying and selling old toys.
Gallen Home Movies