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MMD > Archives > January 2000 > 2000.01.23 > 06Prev  Next

Mechanical Music & Silent Movies At Home
By Jim Canavan

In addition to my interests in mechanical music, _and_ toy trains
(too many hobbies!), I have been a film collector since I got my first
hand-cranked 8 mm movie projector at about the age of 9.  From that
point through the advent of affordable home video, I purchased films
regularly in 8 mm and Super-8, sound and silent, mainly from Blackhawk
Films in Iowa.

Once I got my first VHS VCR in the early 80s, the affordability of
video vs. film made me switch formats, but I missed the "touchie-feelie"
of holding film up to the light and seeing the frames, of threading
the projector, and of the big, sharp picture on a screen.

Recently I purchased a 16 mm projector on eBay, and now am regularly
buying films again.  I also have gotten hooked on a fairly rare (at
least here in the US) home movie format from the 20s and 30s, Pathe's
9.5 mm format.  I found a complete 1928 Pathe' outfit in its original
box in a flea market a few months back, and am now actively seeking
Pathe' (Pathex) films to add to my collection.

And how does this all tie to mechanical music?  I love accompanying
my silent films with selected player piano rolls (the ones meant for
Photoplayers are perfect!), or also will often use 1920s dance music
on one of my spring-wound phonographs.  It gives folks a real period
"multimedia" experience, seeing _and_ hearing the films as they were
originally experienced!

Jim Canavan
Alexandria, VA

(Message sent Sun 23 Jan 2000, 21:37:51 GMT, from time zone GMT-0500.)

Key Words in Subject:  Home, Mechanical, Movies, Music, Silent

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