Friday, January 23, 2009

Friday film day

pdated Update: The autoplay problem is fixed, using a different videoplayer from the Archive.

Update: My Lovely and Brilliant Wife saw this and pointed out certain... shall we say, relevancies to political events. Honest, I just grabbed it as an example of the genre. Any resemblance to current events is mostly coincidental.

Those of us over a certain age (I never thought I'd euphemize myself that way!) will remember the educational grade-school films that we usually watched on Fridays when we were too antsy for the teacher to make us do anything more serious.

The Internet Archive, where I get the full-length movies from, also has a couple of collections of those old educational films from the 40s on up into the 80s. Countless of us learned about science, history and venereal disease through these films.

These weren't videotapes, boys and girls. There was no such thing then. This was actual celluloid film, 16 millimeter, threaded* through an actual projector and shown on a white reflective screen that pulled down like a window shade behind the map of the United States and in front of the chalkboard. You can ask your parents what a chalkboard was.

The stuff we watched was often 20 years old or more (this one's from 1946, I believe), but it didn't matter, because it was a film! It was almost like watching a movie right there in school! If we happened to learn something from it, well, what the heck? In a time with three TV networks and single-screen movie theaters (and VCRs years down the road), this was a treat.

Can't you just hear the projector clicking in the back of the room, and smell the fragrances wafting down the hall from the cafeteria?

(*Yes, I was the kid who knew how to thread the projector. Surprised?)

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