Saturday, May 31, 2008

Film Collecting Artifact

Being a cartoon-nut from earliest memory, it was inevitable that I morphed into a film collector at some point.

The first major Revelation came in 1965 when I discovered that there was a discount store in far-off downtown Buffalo that sold 8mm home movie versions of cartoons. There they were in the window! boxes and boxes of movie reels. And best of all, there were POPEYE cartoons!

My mania was such that "Santa" brought me a battery-powered projector and a 50' Popeye cartoon ("Free Lunch") that Christmas. I immediately ruined the drive belt (it was a spring that I stretched out too far) so the projector never really ran properly. I made it my business to watch the cartoon a frame at a time buy advancing the projector manually!

For my ninth birthday, my folks gave me an Argus Showmaster 500 projector, straight from the Brand Names catalog! A pretty heady gift for a third grader. I managed to acquire a shoebox full of those little cartoons over the next few years. And there were two camera stores that actually rented home movies! This was decades before Blockbuster and NetFlix, folks.

In 1979, I bought out an older fellow's 16mm gear. For a lump sum I ended up with a few projectors, a screen, some rewinds and a few reels of film. Then the cartoon collecting started in earnest.

I made it a point to buy a dozen cartoons a month from various film dealers. I attended film conventions and ransacked the dealers' room. I was unstoppable.

For a while.

Then the time came when I decided to "thin the heard." I put several ads in THE BIG REEL (a film collector's monthly buy-n-sell publication).

Amazingly, my father-in-law (also a film collector) came across a copy of one of my old film lists! This this has to be about 15 years old. What a blast from the past for me.

Home video eventually usurped my film collecting passion. Oh, I still have many shelves full of film cans, the screen and the projectors. I do run stuff for my daughter when she asks for it. But, gee, I can buy a whole BOX SET of cartoons for what one cartoon use to cost me "back in tha day!" (And these were 1980s dollars, folks!)

I still am a cartoon nerd, though...


Blogger furiousBall said...

i know nothing about cartoons, but i totally identify with you diggin toons. people with interests like yours are what make people fun to meet and learn about.

May 31, 2008 8:58 AM  
Blogger Allan said...

Um...those ' collector-to collector' VHS tapes you picked up at Charlotte's Hero Con in 1994 that were packaged as 'Max Fleischer's Superman' but were actually bad dubs of 'Kimba the White Lion'?...that was me.

Sorry 'bout that.

June 09, 2008 11:53 AM  
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