I enjoy watching the old Super 8 home movies people post on YouTube. They are like secret windows onto past lives, mini theaters where the actors performed for the smiling face behind the camera, never thinking their actions would ever be seen by any audience beyond their families and friends.
Watching, I wonder what happened to the people in the films? Those children opening presents, the parents preparing meals, hanging decorations, what happened in their lives? What did they do? It’s like the opening questions for “Creative Writing Class 101.” Looking at the clothes they wore, their hairstyles, the background furnishings and decorations. These films are often better than watching hours of crafted television programs, where there’s no real interaction, other than what’s been scripted.
The first film from Christmas 1963 was discovered in a thrift store, and shows a small family gathering, early morning, opening presents. The second is a Christmas in Wilmette, IL, opening with a snowy scene large, suburban homes. Unlike today, where everyone films on their smart ‘phones, these reflect the more affluent side of family life at Christmas. Worth turning down the volume on some clips to avoid the added seasonal music.
‘Home movie of Christmas 1963. I have no clue who these people are, this footage was found at a Thrift Store.’
‘Christmas 1940: Dad receives a brand-new Lionel 149W set, a bunch of Tootsietoy cars and a Tootsietoy garage with operating auto elevator. His older brothers help him play with it all. The operating crossing gate came from their long-departed American Flyer standard gauge train set. Dad was 13. Grandpa was 48.’
More seasonal home movies, after the jump…