Wednesday, February 17, 2016

You're History

After my father died a year and a half ago, my mother was clearing out some things from the basement.

She "found" reels of 16mm film, going back to the 1920s.

"Found" is in quotes, because it was always there. We knew it was there, but "we", as a family, were not film people. It was just inherited movies from my grandparents.

They've been sitting in the office for a year now, with no plans to do a thing with them.

Well, that's not true. My father's side of the family once used to be fairly prominent in Cleveland, and the Western Reserve Historical Society has a tons of memorabilia in their storage dedicated to them. My thought was: maybe they'd want this stuff.

I mean, I didn't. Or I didn't think I did.

710 was way way way more interested in this stuff than I was. I couldn't even interest my cousin to take them off my hands. And rightfully so, as he has enough "clutter" from his own grandparents. Why take on mine?

Of course it was complicated that there was no way to view this material, because who in this day and age has a projector to play such things?

Well, as it turns out, we do. Now.

Thanks 710 and eBay.

710 was really intrigued what was on those reels.

Honestly, he's watched more than I have, but then I was never in AV so working one of those projectors is beyond me, and the films is so old and fragile, I have no desire to destroy them.

There is no sequence to the canisters. 1920s. 1940s. etc.  And some of the footage is really good. And sometime in the 40s my grandfather was shooting on colour, which had to be a newer thing. The colours are still quite crisp.

But on the film is my dad and my great-grandfather. Whatever Emil thought of my grandfather, my dad was his first grandchild. So it was nice to see them walking together when my dad must have been about five.

After the war, my dad is seen skating on the lake in front of his parent's house with his sister, one of his brothers and their dog, who was chasing them, and sliding on the ice. Fun to see.

I tried to take pictures of some of the things, but it is tough to do. There is no 'pause' per se, at least not where the film doesn't burn.

But if there was ever doubt that I am my father's child..........

I sent the top one to one of my sisters and then later commented on it - and she had no idea it wasn't me. She just assumed.

I knew I looked like my father as I got older, but I never thought I looked like him as a child, but that is because I never saw any pictures of him as a child.

710 wants to show the films to my mother, but is apprehensive that they might make her sad. I don't think they will so much. All of them were shot before they even met.

We will consider digitizing the films, but right now it's about $0.25 per foot. Each reel is maybe 250 feet - so $62.50 per can. Kind of pricey. But maybe we'll shop around.

For now, we will keep them.

If we digitize them, I'll make copies for my sisters, but maybe the original film will to go the historical society.

Song by: Shakespear's Sister


anne marie in philly said...

fantastic find!

Travel said...

My father has a box of 8mm from the early 60's, lots of interesting memories in there.

Bob said...

What a great find.
And do digitize them and pass them around. those are treasures!

Ur-spo said...

I love finds/stories like these.

Mark in DE said...

You do look an awful lot like your dad as a kid!

I definitely think you should digitize them. You've already gotten some 'value' from watching some of them. Who knows what the future may hold? You may wish then that you'd kept them.