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Friday, July 11, 2008

Movie Memories

The View through My Father’s Lens and a Sentimental Yearning

Nostalgia is defined as "a wistful desire to return in thought or in fact to a former time in one's life, to one's home or homeland, or to one's family and friends; a sentimental yearning for the happiness of a former place or time."

I have already owned here to being a pack rat from a line of pack rats who can get maudlin over old telephone numbers. So getting family 16 mm home movies transferred to DVD is a no brainer for me. I’ve got seven inch reels of film. Many American families following WWII engaged in various methods of preserving the growth of children and family fun either in 8 or 16 mm movies or 35 mm slides.

When my father died in 2002 my step-mother gave me the twelve cans of 1950s film. I took them to Ritz here in Gig Harbor, but there was one thing I wanted that they couldn’t do. Back in the 1980s I’d had two reels of home movies put on VHS and they’d included a geeky sound track. My oldest son came up with the idea of having the sound track be the sound of an old 16 mm projector. I loved the idea. To be able to sit and watch those old movies and hear the sound of the projector would be divine. Talk about memory lane. So the cans went back into the box and my husband stowed them next to my armoire in the bedroom for six years. He would like to have put them in the garage, but I wouldn’t let him.

Last night the bug bit me again and I started snooping around the Internet trying to find someone who could do what I want. I emailed the first site I visited and came up empty handed. Over dinner I told my husband that I wasn’t going to give up so I started emailing other likely looking website and got someone who actually sounds excited about what I want.

So now I’m waiting for the damage estimate, but I’ve decided that it’s not going to get any cheaper so I will bite the bullet and do it. I will keep the Neighborhood posted on my success. I’m sure there are other Baby Boomers out there with home movies that are deteriorating as I write. If you’ve got those slides or home movies sitting in a closet, consider getting them put on DVD before they disintegrate.

Film at eleven.


JosephMcG said...

You have a wonderful way of telling a story... thank you

Stephanie Frieze said...

Thank YOU, Joseph. If I've a talent, perhaps it's that.

Kim Thompson said...


PLEASE let me know what you find out! My mom has movies from her childhood in South Dakota. These are priceless as many of the relatives are gone now. Thanks!

We also have movies of my brother and I in the 70's. I think mom got those transferred to VHS.


Stephanie Frieze said...

I have 12 seven inch reels and this place in Florida, who does not think I'm some sort of weirdo for wanting the sound of a projector added as a soundtrack, and they've quoted $900, but have offered to do it for $750 for two copies of the two DVDs it will take for that many feet. This is including the soundtrack.

You might find out how many feet and what kind of film your mom has, Kim. 8 mm might be cheaper than the 16 mm. The film will deteriorate and eventually you and your mom will have nothing. If you are so fortunate as to have siblings, you might take up a collection. I, on the other hand, as a singlton don't have that luxury, but in a sense, the movies are all I have. If you don't want a sound track you can probably get it done at Ritz, but check out and get an estimate. They have been extremely understanding and helpful and for me it's worth it to send it across the country, plus the above quote includes shipping.

Maybe the Blog Squad could have a movie night. :-)

EmeraldPrincessOnline said...

I'd like to do the same sort of thing with the hundreds of cassette tapes of music and old radio shows that I have collected over the years...

Stephanie Frieze said...

Funny you should mention that, EP. Watch for a post coming soon.

Lorraine Hart said...

I must have a conversation with my dad about this, Stephanie! He sent me a tape with family home movies...but he cut out all the really cool Air Force the yearly Farmborough Air Show in England...I still remember getting chills watching the movie of the Hawker-Sidley when it first came out. That's the plane that takes off and lands like a helicopter, vertically. I think I'm the only one in the family interested in all this stuff.

Thanks for a great post...I bet you've set many many familial wheels turning!

Stephanie Frieze said...

Wow, Lorraine, more movies! I've got some Boeing stuff that belonged to my dad that I'll get done after I've done the home movies.

You would have enjoyed the air show at Freedom Fair, Lorraine. I sure did.