Long ago, before video could be recorded and played back on a device the size of a slice of bread, many families used a movie camera loaded with actual film to document their lives.
Unfortunately, watching them was almost more trouble than taking them: after dragging the projector up from the basement and setting it up on a precarious stack of boxes, the film had to be loaded carefully into the projector. If you were lucky, the footage inside matched the label on the outside of the can, if it hadn’t fallen off. But if the stars were aligned (and the light bulb hadn’t burned out), the gentle flicker of film running through the spools soon transformed the room into a vault of precious memories.
In honor of all those wonderful home movies, USC Libraries’ Moving Image Research Collections (MIRC), Historic Columbia and Nickelodeon have come together for Home Movie Day, which will be held from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. Saturday at the Nickelodeon Theatre in downtown Columbia.
For the first two hours, Nickelodeon will show home movies taken in South Carolina from 1926 until the early 1970s. An official program of films submitted by community members will begin at 12:15 p.m.
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A panel of judges will select a Jury Prize winner and the Most Historically Significant film.
“Home movies are a glimpse into the past,” said Lydia Pappas, MIRC’s assistant director and curator. “It’s fascinating to see how people really lived, styles of the day and how neighborhoods have changed.”
To preserve these unique pieces of history, community members are invited to donate their home movies to MIRC. In return, they’ll receive an easily-watchable DVD of their films.
For more information, contact Lydia Pappas at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Katie McElveen, Special to The State