There's no audio with the clip of the Beach Boys' performance, but there is sound with Ida B's interview of brothers and bandmates Brian and Carl Wilson.
The collection also includes interviews with entertainer Frankie Avalon, Western star John Wayne and musical group Herman's Hermits.
Other popular clips include a 1966 interview of Oklahoma author Ralph Ellison and a promotional film from the 1960s — titled “Growing With Pride” — that champions Oklahoma City's urban renewal. (Today many mourn that period in the city's history, which drove residents from downtown and saw landmark buildings bulldozed in the name of progress.)
Everyday people occupy much of the footage.
The Warren T. Basore collection, for instance, consists of home movies shot from 1959 to 1978. Shots of unidentified people inside unknown homes or buildings aren't all that helpful for historical researchers, but the Basore films include footage of Oklahoma City and Tulsa neighborhoods.
“They really help people doing research on fashions, locations and events,” Ayers said.
The YouTube clips are good enough for most people, he said, but television networks, documentarians and those with special interest in particular shots may access the high-definition versions by appointment.
High-def files consume immense quantities of memory; in the past year alone, Ayers and Wasser have filled hard drives with seven terabytes of data.
The work isn't easy. Damaged film must be sent out for repair or trimmed and spliced.
“It's a kind of slow, deliberate process. ... Processing and archiving is not a real speedy thing, but it's big to us because some of these things haven't been seen since the 1920s,” Ayers said. “This is the first time, with today's technology, that these are being seen. It's pretty amazing.”