Remembering Someone Else's Memories
April 17, 2007 12:33 PM   Subscribe

While looking for ways to digitize old home movies, I came across the Home Movie Depot Video Archives, and was in awe of how much content they have available online. The vendor provides their clients with space to upload their converted movies, and many have done so... to the tune of 80+ pages of albums. You can browse through page by page, or search for specific keywords. [more inside]
posted by avoision (17 comments total) 14 users marked this as a favorite
There are a ton of staple family events, like baptisms and wedding receptions. There are older clips as well, going back some 50+ years, giving us glimpses of Niagara Falls in the 1940's and
Disneyland in 1958. And then there are the occasional odd movies with helicopters and alligator wranglers.

My favorite find so far? "The Monster Eats the Kids."

Lots to peruse, so be prepared to lose some time. The keyword search is, I'm finding, really fun.

PS: I'm not endorsing this vendor or their services. Just found the videos, and wanted to share.
posted by cortex at 12:45 PM on April 17, 2007

cortex: I was just going to suggest cleaning that up. But shouldn't the "[more inside]" go on the outside?
posted by cerebus19 at 12:56 PM on April 17, 2007

I think I'm dyslexic. At first I read it as "Home Depot Movies."
posted by miss lynnster at 12:59 PM on April 17, 2007

yeah me too
posted by nathancaswell at 1:01 PM on April 17, 2007

Your search - bob crane - did not match any documents.
No pages were found containing "bob crane".

It was worth a shot.
posted by MikeMc at 1:23 PM on April 17, 2007 [2 favorites]

Awesome! (Except for the buffering -- gaah!)

I really loved the Disneyland movie: those images of the fresh-scrubbed young American family happily strolling about the pristine park grounds, eagerly soaking up the sights in the white-hot glare of the California sunshine. I'm no 50s nostalgist, but as a child of the 70s, those images fit my idealized concept of that place and time to-a-T. And at the end, when you can tell the vacation is winding down, and you see the family making that slow, inevitable trek back to the car, and the older little girl hops over to the wishing well (or whatever) and peers expectantly down into it, I must admit I got a little choked up.
posted by Atom Eyes at 1:30 PM on April 17, 2007

Yeah sorry, it looks like the pay-site his son Scotty put together after AutoFocus came out wasn't much of a success: " is undergoing an exciting and major G rated renovation. The members section has been discontinued."
posted by miss lynnster at 1:34 PM on April 17, 2007

I've always found home movies fascinating. This one has some interesting plot twists.
posted by davebush at 1:36 PM on April 17, 2007

I love this kind of stuff.
The two I found of Toronto (City Hall, Centre Island) were disapointing because they looked the same, aside from the old streetcar passing by...just buildings without many people/cars to give it historical context.
It's also hard to watch a lot of badly exposed shaky old film, but it certainly makes you instantly nostalgic.
Funny how almost every film I watched started with a shot out a car window with the road whipping by.
Great site though.
posted by chococat at 1:38 PM on April 17, 2007

So, did you end up using them to digitize your movies? (I've been interested in having this done as well)
posted by neurodoc at 1:40 PM on April 17, 2007

neurodoc - I haven't digitized my movies yet. I was just searching around, and when I saw the archive of movies... I got distracted.

cortex - thanks for the cleanup!
posted by avoision at 2:02 PM on April 17, 2007

Back when we all had our own past, I used to tell people about it. I'd describe family outings to the park when I was a child, and amusing holiday anecdotes. In those tellings my parents were amusingly neurotic but wise, my siblings annoying but loveable, and the boring parts left out. Small phrases and sensations became huge and important. Minor events became symbolic, colored in my telling by knowledge of what would come - rather than the clinical light of Objective Narration, the meaninglessness of What Actually Happened. It was a "Childhood", not the events that transpired when I was a child.

Now I barely remember whose memories are whose. Everyone's childhood movies flicker and blur before my eyes, like the cartoon "life flashing before my eyes" from everyone born after me - a universal premature near-death experience.

Like those pictures made by averaging thousands of centerfolds, personal histories overlay each other in my recollections, leaving only a Least Common Denominator of the bare and banal commonalities. Ubiquity is all that survives this averaging - we all remember a first love, a last visit home: these are the curve of a shoulder or the vague expanse of fleshtone on the chest of the Geometric Mean Playmate. They are noone's memory but close to everyone's.

None of the myths I used to remember seem to be included in the Recorded Histories, and everything is Recorded. The brillantly witty comments were actually stuttered and blurted out accidentally. The instants of brilliance and terror are lost in the expanse of the everyday. My life is perfectly recorded in all its detail, and none of it looks familiar.
posted by freebird at 2:16 PM on April 17, 2007 [3 favorites]

My favorite find so far? "The Monster Eats the Kids."

Hey, it's better than The Creeping Terror.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 2:38 PM on April 17, 2007

freebird, does it help at all to know that Newborn Timmy from 1959 Christmas in Philly had a career in the 80s as a minor fetish porn star? And now is a congressman? Does that help?
posted by stupidsexyFlanders at 5:23 PM on April 17, 2007

I spent a couple of minutes wondering why Home Depot was doing this.
posted by neuron at 12:17 AM on April 18, 2007

Found a few more gems:

"REJEC" the Robot, an atom bomb explosion, and a streaker at a Colorado graduation ceremony.
posted by avoision at 4:03 AM on April 18, 2007

Man these are great. Great post and followups.
posted by freebird at 12:05 PM on April 18, 2007

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