Somehow, a 22-year-old University of Alaska student named Richard Millay got his hands on a videotape that's eluded the media since John McCain asked Sarah Palin to be his running-mate — original footage of her 1984 Miss Alaska Pageant.
Of course, this is all very frivolous and has nothing to do with the current campaign. But like Barack Obama's high school basketball footage, it's a little glimpse into the early life of a highly-visible national figure.
In the first part added to YouTube, he posted the portion from the swimsuit competition, prefaced by a brief introduction mentioning the demand for the "88 minutes of Alaska Gold."
Update: The original video was removed, but I managed to save a copy of the relevant footage without Richard's original intro. YouTube's removing every copy of this video, so I'm streaming the clip below from my own server. It won't be removed.
As the future vice-presidential candidate parades on stage, an off-screen announcer reads her early biography: "Contestant #8, Sarah Heath. Sarah says that she wants to prepare for a career in television broadcasting by majoring in Telecommunications and Political Science. It's no wonder that she has also been recognized by Who's Who, since she has displayed her leadership in all areas, from academics to student politics to athletics, having led her basketball team to the championship at the state tournament. Ladies and gentleman, contestant #8, Sarah Heath."
I've emailed Richard asking for a brief interview, and will update here if he gets in touch. (Thanks to Jeff Milner for the original tip this morning.)
October 13: I spoke to Richard by email, and he told me the tape belongs to his mother, who entered the pageant as Miss Juneau, with Sarah as Miss Wasilla. He's in the process of locating the Q&A segment on another videotape, and will post it if he does.October 1: Richard released his second video of the talent portion of the competition. He wrote, "I must apologize for the delay of this footage being released, for I have been unnecessarily mired in some copyright issues. More to come on that later."
In the clip, the announcer says, "Sarah's an accomplished flautist who has been performing for ten years. She will be playing 'The Homecoming' as written by Hagood Hardy and arranged by Sarah's favorite artist, James Galway."
October 6: Richard released the third video, the evening gown competition. Palin says, "God has made us this promise — if we will commit our works to Him, we will succeed. Our lives can be enhanced by applying this and by thinking optimistically. In Alaska, we have mosquitoes... We also have the most beautiful mountains in the world. The choice is ours as to which we'll focus on."