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The Canavan Collection - Bill McFarland’s Underwater World Record (1961)

Pam Canavan

Silent | 1961

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  •  Bill McFarland, a diver and former amateur boxing champion, attempts to break the world record for time spent submerged underwater at Beer’s Marine Supply on West Sixth in Amarillo. Throughout his underwater stay, McFarland was fed sustagen (a vitamin powder) diluted in chocolate milk, orange juice and raw eggs through a plastic tube. According to Don Beer, the biggest threat facing the diver was the possible deterioration of his skin with such prolonged water exposure.  
  •  Members of the Holt family go fishing 
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This 1961 home movie captures 26-year old diver Bill McFarland’s pursuit of the world record for longest underwater subversion in Amarillo. With the help of Don Beer of Beer’s Marine Supply, aqua lungs, feeding tubes, and an extra nighttime diver, McFarland spent 120 hours underwater. This film shows him during an interview as well as his actual subversion. The second half of the film captures the Holt family of Sugar Land spending the day on a boat, going fishing.