“Someone get the lights,” the Teacher says. The classroom goes dark. You flick the chrome toggle switch and the fan whooshes on. Then the powerful light beams across the room onto the large white screen pulled down over the chalkboard by the Teacher. The heat from the lamp sends a rush of warm air on your face, cutting some of the chill in the winter air.
The screen lights up with satin whiteness, awaiting what is to come next. Then you hear it. Like a siren call it beckons you…
… start the filmstrip!
Yeah, remember filmstrips? I don’t know about you, but for Mr. Miller, here, these junior still frame not-quite-movies were the highlight of his Grammar School years. Other than Battle Ball (that’s what we called Dodgeball in my nape of the woods) those hours spent in the dark, listening to the hum of the projector and taking in the audio and visual delights were simply a beloved slice of adolescent heaven. Actual movies – moving pictures – were great mind you, but something about the frame by frame viewing of a filmstrip, the narrator's deep-voiced recounting of a chapter in History or his whimsical telling of a storybook tale seemed to spark Mr. Miller’s kid-sized imagination.
But let me add that, though I love the filmstrip (worship it on certain days) you simply need the audio part of the whole shebang to have a truly complete filmstrip experience. Mr. Miller hated it when the filmstrip only came with a little booklet from which the teacher had to read aloud from. He felt, well… cheated. It was like it was same old daily drag, listening to Teacher prattle on with her lesson of the day in front of the classroom.
Most importante! Filmstrips must always have an accompanying record or tape!!
check out my filmstrip find of the story of Georgie
If you want some more filmstrip fun, check out Get LoFi
And if anyone out there is a fan of filmstrips, let Mr. Miller know who you are. I'd sure like to see what you've got.