Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Ready for your Closeup?

My ca 1955 Kodak Brownie Movie Camera, model No. 82.

The VERY Fifties package design, front and back, of this Kodak movie camera. Attractive middle class white people—of course—were used to sell this relatively low-cost 8mm home movie camera. People of color in advertising? Pshaw, not until the mid 1970s at the earliest. At least they didn't have the woman bragging about how "easy" it was to use. They let the man say that and gave the line touting the quality of the filmed images to the woman. 

I have very mixed feelings about my vintage items, and their place in our country's history. For one thing, as cool as the items are, and I have really cool things, lol, their marketing was almost universally white-centric. Gay awareness was not found either, not that it's found much in advertising even today. Women tended to get short shrift as well, unless it was a cooking or cleaning item. But that's the way it was. We can't forget that the "good old days" weren't really all that good unless you were a white man and had money, so that's one reason to keep everything the way I have. Nostalgia is one thing, but the blatant romanticism so many people indulge themselves with while remembering those earlier times needs to be tempered by the reality inherent in these vintage pieces and their marketing. 

There is a pencil marking of "43.30"  on the cardboard box—original price perhaps?  I've found several on eBay for sale, with no bids on them yet, but I can't imagine they're worth much more than the kitsch factor. I have tons of home movies on film, and would love to have them digitized so I can view them—if I ever have any "disposable" income, lol. What is that, anyway? It's all disposed of as soon as I get it on food, rent and internet/phone/TV.


  1. How cool Casey! This is very similiar to one of my Dad's old cameras. He had a half dozen or so old model's that survived until I pirated them while settling my Mother's estate. I wonder if their worth anything, lol!

  2. thanks! I have at least 25 or more vintage cameras, maybe 50 if I actually put them in one place and counted them. I don't think they're worth much at all, but I just love the shapes and the typography on them and I think it's important to keep a record of the way people lived so many years ago, and that includes their "toys" and "luxury" items like cameras, movie cameras, projectors/tape recorders etc. I even have a Dictaphone machine and about 25 Dictaphone tape/rolls/whatever they're called. I'm not even sure what it is!

  3. OMG I had one of those cameras, recorded my first baby's first steps. Too funny, thanks for the memories.

  4. Dictaphones have evolved over the years but it sounds as if yours is one of the very early ones (not surprisingly!) Usually only the higher-up mucky-mucks had Dictaphones. They dictated letters, reports, etc. into a microphone and the Dictaphone transferred it to the little punches on the paper rolls. The secretary (who had been trained in any good secretarial school how to do this) would check the Dictaphone periodically, and remove the roll with punches. She (usually a "she") would then "translate" it and type it all out in draft or final form, for Mr. Mucky-Muck's approval.

    Today's Dictaphones usually make audio tapes to type from but some still use the older technology so you have to listen with headphones and use the back and forward pedals to understand what the dictator was saying.

    I used to type Grand Jury transcripts and that was the technology we used, with a mic at the witness stand, corded to the dictaphone machine at the court reporter's stand.

    The only down side to typing those was that I never, ever got to find out what happened in the end! The proceedings were always closed to the public!

    So that's what your dictaphone is, Casey. :)

  5. What a great treat to wake up to, Katie! Thank you! Now I'm psyched to DO something with the remains I have, and now that I know what it is, I can think about what to do with it all. What a cool job court reporting is! In one of my "down times" I worked at a Sir Speedy in New Haven, the only employee, lol, and we had the Public Defender's contract, so I used to have to xerox court transcripts. I used to peruse them for continuity and make sure the collator didn't screw them up. I thought they might read like an episode of Perry Mason, but I was so wrong, lol. Have a great day, Katie!