Dhahran in the Summer of 1965: Part 11 of Distant Arabia

Dhahran in the Summer of 1965: Part 11 of Distant Arabia

BY Tim Barger / /

Filmed by Peter Benjamin, this film shows the familiar landmarks of Dhahran beginning with the Gateway to Safety. The Mail Center is seen at 0:33, the commissary at 0:48, followed by the Ad Building and the Dining Hall. At 1:11 the scene cuts to the Swimming Pool and the returning students lounging in the sun.

Authentic Whirling Dervishes: Part 10 of Distant Arabia

Authentic Whirling Dervishes: Part 10 of Distant Arabia

BY Tim Barger / /

Filmed by Aramco Brat and Aramcon Doug Webb at the ancient Sufi school in Aleppo, Syria during a visit in the mid-80s, this video is a crowd-pleaser. The dervishes dance to a drum accompaniment that is centuries old.

Tales of the Bedouin - Part II

Tales of the Bedouin - Part II

BY Mark Lowey / /

For centuries, Saudi Bedouins have passed down their rich oral and poetic storytelling traditions. Their elders have recounted and embellished vivid tales of bravery, skill, and family values, often over a glowing campfire...

Out in the Blue: Part 9 of Distant Arabia

Out in the Blue: Part 9 of Distant Arabia

BY Tim Barger / /

In this clip excerpted with permission from the documentary The Prize: The Epic Quest for Oil, Money and Power based on the book of the same name by Daniel Yergin, the story of Tom Barger’s first journey to Saudi Arabia is related through his movies and letters.

Gymkhana in Saudi Arabia: Part 8 of Distant Arabia

Gymkhana in Saudi Arabia: Part 8 of Distant Arabia

BY Tim Barger / /

Filmed by Aramcon Dean Cantrell in the mid-60s this clip opens with a mare and her filly. At 0:20 riders from the Hobby Farm pass in a 4th of July parade. At 0:26 is Sher Lyn Cruise, followed by Lynn Martin, Patricia Dixon...

Tales of the Bedouin - Part I

Tales of the Bedouin - Part I

BY Mark Lowey / /

For centuries, Saudi Bedouins have passed down their rich oral and poetic storytelling traditions. Their elders have recounted and embellished vivid tales of bravery, skill, and family values, often over a glowing campfire...

Campouts and Flubber Pancakes: Vignette from '3,001 Arabian Days'

Campouts and Flubber Pancakes: Vignette from '3,001 Arabian Days'

BY Rick Snedeker / /

Growing up in Dhahran, I was trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean and reverent. Except maybe for obedient, thrifty and, almost certainly, brave. As a Boy Scout, after all, I took our Scout Law seriously. Sort of.

Death in the Afternoon: Vignette from '3,001 Arabian Days'

Death in the Afternoon: Vignette from '3,001 Arabian Days'

BY Rick Snedeker / /

Tragedy seemed somehow inappropriate in perpetually sunny Dhahran, like the sudden death of a child on a bright, carefree afternoon. Indeed, only rarely did the horsemen of private apocalypse deign to descend on our community.

Dhahran: the Oasis: Vignette from '3,001 Arabian Days'

Dhahran: the Oasis: Vignette from '3,001 Arabian Days'

BY Rick Snedeker / /

Amid East-coast Saudi Arabia’s desolate terrain, Dhahran, barely two or three miles square, stood out, a green exclamation in the endless tan. Even by the early 1950s, Dhahran’s camp forest of imported, multinational trees...

Khobar, Going to Town: Vignette from '3,001 Arabian Days'

Khobar, Going to Town: Vignette from '3,001 Arabian Days'

BY Rick Snedeker / /

In the old days, the only other pockets of “civilization” in the area besides Dhahran were the indigenous Saudi towns of Dammam and Al-Khobar, one hour and 15 minutes away, respectively, and the Aramco camps of Ras Tanura...

The Saudi Adventure Begins: Vignette from '3,001 Arabian Days'

The Saudi Adventure Begins: Vignette from '3,001 Arabian Days'

BY Rick Snedeker / /

By 1950 the horrors of World War II had largely receded, and America dominated the brave new, post-war world. The promising oilfields wildcatted just before the war by American geologists in the arid, menacing Arabian wastelands...

Bahrain Holiday 1938: Part 6 of Distant Arabia

Bahrain Holiday 1938: Part 6 of Distant Arabia

BY Tim Barger / /

Oil men from Dhahran travel to Bahrain for a weekend. They visit the suq, the vast artesian wells of the island and then assemble for a demonstration of Bahraini stick fighting. The agricultural workers were prohibited from owning weapons so much like the Japanese practitioners of Kendo...

Well Fire at Number 12: Part 5 of Distant Arabia

Well Fire at Number 12: Part 5 of Distant Arabia

BY Tim Barger / /

Well #12 was down to 4,725 feet and cemented in when on July 8, 1939 while preparing to perforate the casing, the perforating gun accidentally discharged setting off a conflagration that destroyed the rig and took the lives of five drillers - two American and three Saudis.

Bahrain in 1938: Part 4 of Distant Arabia

Bahrain in 1938: Part 4 of Distant Arabia

BY Tim Barger / /

Distant Arabia part 4 - Bahrain in 1938 In 1938, Bahrain was the undisputed commercial center of the Gulf. Its suqs were the best stocked of any place between Basra and Bombay. In contrast, the Bedouin of Al Hasa lived a simple life in tents and dependent on their camels.

May 1st, 1939: Part 3 of Distant Arabia

May 1st, 1939: Part 3 of Distant Arabia

BY Tim Barger / /

Distant Arabia part 3 - May 1st, 1939: Six years after the oil concession was signed the first tanker load of oil was shipped at Ras Tanura on this date. King Abdul Aziz ibn Saud arrived to celebrate the occasion. The tanker D.G. Scofield awaits offshore.

Pearl Diving in the Gulf - 1938: Part 2 of Distant Arabia

Pearl Diving in the Gulf - 1938: Part 2 of Distant Arabia

BY Tim Barger / /

We invite you to enjoy part 2 of the 12 part Distant Arabia video series. Next to dates, pearls were the biggest business in Al Hasa. Though the boom days of the 20s were long gone due to the Depression and the introduction of cultured pearls there was still a sizeable fleet.

Desert Explorers: Part 1 of Distant Arabia

Desert Explorers: Part 1 of Distant Arabia

BY Tim Barger / /

We invite you to enjoy part 1 of the 12 part Distant Arabia video series. The majority of the film clips are comprised of films taken in Saudi Arabia between 1937 and 1940 by Tom Barger, Les Snyder and Jerry Harriss. They are among the few moving pictures that record that critical and brief moment in the country's history when an ancient pastoral way of life was coming to an abrupt end, to be replaced by an industrial society.

John Ames

John Ames

BY Tim Barger / /

On May 1st 1939 King Abdul Aziz Ibn Saud inaugurated the first tanker load of Saudi oil at Ras Tanura, two months later the well being drilled at Dammam #12 exploded into a blazing inferno killing five Americans and Saudis. Burning eight thousand barrels of oil a day, the well was lost but if the blowout continued the whole field was threatened because it might lose reservoir pressure so that the oil would have to be pumped out at great expense.