Their Own Starring Roles

When previewing this post on my predominantly monochrome blog, the lurid orange of these gems came as a bit of a visual shock to the system. However, the colour is true to the originals which are in perfect condition.

Presumably a husband and wife (both photos came from the same estate), these are lenticular photos. My one other example of this rare type of photobooth item can be seen in this earlier post.

These 1940 World’s Fair Movie-Of-U souvenirs are made up of three exposures taken in succession on the same frame. The frame is placed under a lined sheet of acetate and when tilted appears to show movement.  In the flat position needed to make a scan of these images, it is not possible to capture the images separately.

When in action, the movement is fluid and really looks like a mini-movie.  In some ways they could be seen as a primitive version of the Graphics Interchange Format (GIFs) I used in earlier posts this month.

13 comments
  1. You need sunglasses to look at the red on those!
    Never seen Movie-Of-Us before, very cool.

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    • They are very rare Richard. I keep bidding on them on ebay and not getting them. They are highly sought after. I feel very lucky to own three of them.

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      • They look great, I will have to keep my eyes peeled at antiques fairs and flea markets

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        • I hope you find some Richard but I think they are only found in the USA, but who knows where tourists may have taken them after a holiday?

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  2. Lisa said:

    ooh, i like the vivid orange!

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  3. ehpem said:

    These are very cool, and I agree, the idea is similar to your gifs of a few weeks ago, and in some ways it sounds like holograms too. I wonder if there is a way of documenting this for us all to see, Other than on a scanner, and without ruining them. A short film maybe. Acetate can be very tricky to curate from what I hear. Do you have to keep it cold or something?

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    • Don’t know about needing to keep it cold. These are in immaculate condition. I may try to take photos with a camera rather than using the scanner and see it I can get the three pics and then do a GIF.

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      • ehpem said:

        I like that idea of making a gif from the three, bringing it into the electronic age.
        My wife, a museum conservator (though not of this kind of thing), says that nitrate is one of the worst materials to keep stable. Long term storage is very tricky and since you have brought it to a (presumably) new environment they could start to degrade, and quickly too. She recommends you contact a national or state archives and speak to one of their conservators. They will be able to tell you what steps to take so you can store them and keep them stable. It is a common problem that conservators the world wide are struggling with, but have well tested methods for keeping things in good condition.

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  4. What fun! You know, here’s a bit of trivia. That 1940 World’s Fair in San Francisco actually did feature a couple of people who would go on to be movie stars, since the aquacade show starred “newcomers” Johnny Weissmuller and Esther Williams.

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  5. Wow, that is interesting! Did you know she is still alive? 91 years old. My Mum always thought she was Australian as she played a famous Aussie swimmer in a film in the 50s.

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