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Rare footage of country music greats found

SAN DIEGO, April 1 (UPI) -- The U.S. music footage library Reelin' in the Years Productions says it has found rare home movies featuring Hank Williams Sr. and the Carter Family.

Also appearing in the 1950s-era film footage are Marty Robbins, Merle Travis, Lefty Frizell, Hank Snow, Maddox Bothers & Rose, Bill Monroe and other country music stars of the day.

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Shot in 16mm color film by John Banks, part owner of radio station KRDU in Dinuba, Calif., the footage captures the artists in performance and in rare candid moments, the company said in a release Thursday.

Highlights include Hank Williams singing at a disc jockey convention in Nashville, Marty Robbins playing guitar on a front lawn, Kitty Wells standing in front of her tour car and Merle Travis preparing to board a small plane.

"There exists precious little footage of many of these artists shot so early in their careers," David Peck, president of Reelin' in the Years Productions, said in a statement. "To now have pristine color film documenting Hank Williams just a few short years before his untimely death, is thrilling. This is an important piece of country music history."

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The films had been in the garage of Banks's widow, Bernice, until their recent discovery, the company said.

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