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‘The Old Home Movie Vlog’ … or, ‘Have film will time travel!’



  1. a personal website or social media account where a person regularly posts short videos:
  2. “you can add travel vlogs to the growing list of travel-related material popping up on the Web”

I suppose it is a vlog, or at least it will be, but not the kind of vlog that most are used to. It is not about food or families, although both of those appear, and it is not about travel, although that too features. This is more old school than that. Time travel, perhaps? Yes, it is certainly time travel. Maybe I should rename it ‘The Time Travel Vlog’?  It is certainly catchier than ‘The Old Home Movie Vlog’. But let’s stick with the ‘The Old Home Movie Vlog’ for now.

‘The Old Home Movie Vlog’ (*Name change pending) has existed since September 2018, but its origins go back. Way back! Back before I started collecting 8mm film in 2006. All the way back to my childhood in the 1970s. I am the product immigrants to Australia. The youngest of 4, I was the first born out of bounds of England.  An inbetweener. Not English, but not quite Australian. And for the longest time I had an identity crisis, made worse by not knowing my extended family. All we had was a shoe box full of photos of people I never knew that we emptied out once a year and I could never quite wrap my head around how they related to me. More importantly, it made me wonder who I was. Something it took me years to figure out, including a 4-yr sabbatical to the UK in my early 20s. It made me value that little box of memories. The little anecdotes that helped me understand my place in the genealogical schema

But those photos were few. Often blurry, mostly black and white, and no film. No home movies. Too rich for my family! Even my brother and sisters and I only had a handful of photos over the years. So when I met my ex-wife whose entire childhood is documented, including her parents’ childhoods, often in the nice bright colours of Kodachrome, I was suitably jealous. Apart from 5 sec on a wedding super 8 when I was 13 in 1984, I didn’t see a moving picture camera (S-VHS) until 1991, and here was my ex with tape after tape, 8mm reel after 8mm reel, all the way back to road trips in the 1950s and 1960s. It made me want to archive it, save it. It was precious. How lucky was she!

And then I found film on eBay. Entire family lots of 8mm, 16mm, home movies for sale. It sparked in me the desire to ‘save’ these memories. It was a weird compulsion. Still is. Wanting to save other people’s lives for posterity so they aren’t forgotten. I couldn’t understand what forced people to give these things up? So many unanswered questions: Who were they? What had happened that had so shockingly caused them to lose touch with their family memories?

Today I have a lot of film. A lot! I buy it whenever I can. I try and keep it together, ordered by its source. I am obsessive about keeping that history together and always sad when it gets split up into orphan lots. Why? Because people deserve to know their roots. That shot of Uncle Dennis and his brand new corvette, or the Tiki party out in the palisades, or the trip to Disney, or Christmas 1957. These things were shot with love, and considerable cost, they can’t all be unwanted. Someone, somewhere, must be thinking “I wonder what happened to those old home movies?”  

Just a small sample of what is an out of control film collecting habit.

Over the next year I want to try and reconnect that link, that emotional circuit between family and lost film. And as I do, I want to share those stories. Because those are much needed feel good moments in an otherwise stressful world. To date, I have had some successes. One of the first movies I ever made was piecing together 10 Reels (500 ft) of Kodachrome 8mm Film shot by D. E. Schultz, 3715 Dominic Drive, Brookfield, WI 53005. That’s it below. A trip with his wife to Hawaii in 1970. But Mr. Shultz isn’t the story. The story is the little girl who appears at 35:50. Her name is Christine Lamson. In 1970 she lived in Monterey, California with her parent’s Peter and Juliette. The man holding her is her father, Peter. He passed away in 1995. A little detective work – a first name on a cardboard box, a last name on a letter box, and obituary online  – and I was able to find Christine on Facebook (Now Christine Lamson Taylor). And that was special: being able to show someone film of a lost moment of beloved parents from long ago.

1970 Lost Hawaii Film: 10 Reels (500 ft) of Kodachrome 8mm shot by D. E. Schultz.

I am sure there will be plenty of unhappy memories, maybe a few people that others would prefer to remain forgotten, but I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it. In the interim, I hope you follow along …at about 16 frames per second.

For more old film and stories, check out The Old Home Movie Vlog on Facebook.

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