excerpted from wired.com:
1939: The New York World’s Fair opens in Flushing Meadow Park. It will give visitors a glimpse of “the world of tomorrow” and shape industrial design, pop culture and the way the future would envision the future.
The fair ran two seasons, from 1939 to 1940. The most memorable exhibit was the General Motors Pavilion, and the most memorable feature in the General Motors Pavilion was a ride called the Futurama. People stood in line for hours to ride it and experience the exciting possibilities of life in the distant future — the year 1960.
The Futurama ride carried fair visitors past tiny, realistic landscapes while a narrator described the world of tomorrow. The effect was like catching a glimpse of the future from the window of an airplane. As you might expect from a ride sponsored by GM, the focus was on what roadways and transportation might look like in 20 years.
The 1939 Futurama had two other factors that compounded the fascination: first, a promise of personal car ownership (and after the Great Depression that sounded pretty good), and second, a grand vision of the future. Up until the Futurama, manufacturers had exhibited at fairs to show how they made their products. Then the Futurama came along and said, Here is how the future will feel. The 1939 audience wasn’t used to having a company selling optimism, and it made their hearts sing.
The Futurama wasn’t so much about the cars GM intended to build. Visitors were told about certain features these future cars might have — such as radio controls that help them maintain proper distance from each other — but the vehicles themselves were so tiny that they could barely be distinguished.
What the Futurama ride was really selling was a highway system — a taxpayer-funded highway system. In E. L. Doctorow’s World’s Fair, a family exits the ride, and the father says, ‘General Motors is telling us what they expect from us: We must build them the highways so they can sell us the cars.’”
At the end of the first Futurama exhibit, fair visitors were given a pin. At the end of the second, it was a pocket tab, but the simple message was the same: I HAVE SEEN THE FUTURE.
The Futurama returned for the 1964 World's Fair, also in Flushing Meadows. It didn't have the same sociological impact, but the space colonization-themed motorized dioramas were truly wondrous:
Clearly there have been some revisions, but this ride dates back to the 30's! Read all about it at the always-superb laffinthedark.com.
As you might expect, you can experience this at the Jersey shore. Specifically at Rye Playland, where I haven't been. But I've visited the boardwalk at nearby Wildwood, which has several operating dark rides as well. I swear, I have to take a vacation out to Jersey this summer to check them out. What else should I do, wait until our prospective kid is old enough? They'll all be torn down by then!
I've been corrected by a commenter: Rye Playland is in upstate New York, nearly 200 miles north of the Jersey Shore.
So, uh... here's a scene from Stunt Rock.
The kit is comprised of a CD containing a photoshop template, a reel jig, an alignment viewer (just a view-master that's been cracked in half) and a couple of blank reels.
I used the monsterpalooza photos I'd shot the previous week. The photoshop template allows two pairs per frame of 35mm film. Being that a view-master reel contains 7 3D photos (14 pictures) you'd need 4 slides (which actually gives you eight pairs, so you would omit one).
Converting the 3D pictures to view-master format in photoshop was the most time-consuming part of the process. When finished, I uploaded them to a digital-to-slide conversion service via their website. I used this one. The slides arrived in the mail just three days later.
A lightbox is essential for lining up the slides on the reel. I called around some local photo supply stores, and learned they started at $60. So instead, I looked around my shop and rigged together a solution in about two minutes: a couple of milk crates, an old scrap of plexiglass with a piece of tissue paper taped to its underside, and a CFL lamp.
It only took about 20 minutes to finish the reel. The slides are cut up into quarters, tacked in place with transparent tape, then lined up using the viewer, which you simply place on top of the two images while on the lightbox. Then it's placed on the jig, and the self-adhesive reel is glued together.
Is it worth it? Kinda. Processing isn't cheap, and neither are the blanks, so you can expect to pay at least $8 per reel. The resolution isn't very good, because view-master images are always so small; even if you're photoshopping your images at top-quality p.p.i, you're still using 20% of a 35mm slide. On the other hand, it's full color and not affected by anaglyphic conversion. It's also retro-cool.
Having shot a couple hundred 3D pictures already, I plan on making a few more reels of some of my favorite images. If you're interested in doing it yourself, you should try it out. But definitely test the quality of your 3D with software before you invest in all the processing and labor for the view-master treatment.
A dreamachine is made from a cylinder with slits cut in the sides. The cylinder is placed on a record turntable and rotated at 78 revolutions per minute. A light bulb is suspended in the center of the cylinder and the rotation speed allows the light to come out from the holes at a constant frequency of between 8 and 13 pulses per second. This frequency range corresponds to alpha waves, electrical oscillations normally present in the human brain while relaxing.
A dreamachine is "viewed" with the eyes closed: the pulsating light stimulates the optical nerve and alters the brain's electrical oscillations. The "viewer" experiences increasingly bright, complex patterns of color behind their closed eyelids. The patterns become shapes and symbols, swirling around, until the "viewer" feels surrounded by colors. It is claimed that viewing a dreamachine allows one to enter a hypnagogic state. This experience may sometimes be quite intense, but to escape from it, one needs only to open one's eyes.
A feature documentary on the dreamachine is on netflix.
Ready to build your own? You will need:
a hanging lightbulb
a 78 rpm turntable
a large piece of cardboard
Get started here.
If you don't own an old phonograph, or you're just too lazy to make something, then you can watch a youtube approximation. They say it works. Be sure to read the instructional / disclaimer video here first, then take the plunge here.
Man, these things are so cool. From 1963, the Monster Magic Action Trading Cards sold in packs of eight for 39 cents (the full set was 24 cards), each depicting a copyright-free monster causing mayhem. They came with a clear plastic fresnel lens, which you'd place over the card, move it around, and watch them come to life.
Several years ago, an old boss of mine bought these at a vintage toy store on the West side of Manhattan for $100. At the time I was extremely poor and extremely jealous. But now there's an ebay seller practically giving them away. $11 for a complete set, mint condition, with a viewer. Now that I've just bought mine, he has two more available. Get yours HERE.
From Dukes Auctioneers, the Bradley Collection is being sold as we speak in Dorset. Be sure to flip through the catalog before it gets pulled; there are also some incredible waxworks.
Op-Ed movie review by Timmy, age 7:
Yor is a caveman from outer space.
Yor is so strong, he can punch a robot and his head flys off. Take that, stupid robot! POW!
Then he kills a dinosaur.
He takes the wings off the dinosaur and uses them to fly into a cave and rescue a lady.
Then he goes up to outer space and rescues the lady again. When they swing on the trapeze, they turn into dolls. Then they turn back into people when they let go of the trapeze.
Then everything blows up.
This movie made my head hurt.
You get a D-, Timmy. Try harder in the future. As punishment, your next assignment will be to review Pasolini's "Salo".
Because you failed to entertain our readership with your lackadaisical homework, here's a bonus video:
Some 3D snaps I took at monsterpalooza earlier today. Most of them are from a "museum" section consisting of full-scale figures, both original movie props and unlicensed fan sculpts. It surpasses most wax museums, and the lighting is excellent. As always, get your glasses on first, then click the picture to start the slideshow.
From the UK Times:
A bizarre creature, dubbed the “oriental yeti”, has baffled scientists after emerging from ancient woodlands in remote central China. The hairless beast was trapped by hunters in Sichuan province after locals reported spotting what they thought was a bear.
One hunter, Lu Chin, said: “It looks a bit like a bear but it doesn’t have any fur and it has a tail like a kangaroo. It also does not sound like a bear — it has a voice like a cat and it is calling all the time — perhaps it is looking for the rest of its kind or maybe it's the last one. There are local legends of a bear that used to be a man and some people think that’s what we caught."
Now stumped local animal experts have shipped the mystery beast to scientists in Beijing for DNA tests.
Finishing out the "sky": an acrylic medium mixed with ultramarine pigment and pearlescent powder, and sprinkled over with diamond dust (powdered glass). This creates a fantastic effect of twinkling stars when the campire flames flare up.
I'll spend the next few days completing the case exterior. Already have a plan for doing another one of these with a different theme and more complex electronics inside. This one will be up on my website in about a week. Update: here it is.
Quite the treat for this edition of Movie of the Week, kiddies; the only feature-length anaglyphic video I've found on youtube. It's the 1958 cold war classic It Came from Outer Space. So get those glasses on, and calibrate them using these short clips:
If everything is working properly, start the feature here and follow the links to continue:
This automaton could smoke and appear to drink fluids. Along with hybrid cams levers and pneumatics, it also had a feature that allowed for a guest to smoke along with him. This old footage shows him in test mode along with a rare view of an experimental homonculus haxanthrobot .The model for the sculpture was based on Conrad Veidt in Thief of Bagdad, 1940.
"L'Oracle du Mort" (ORACLE OF THE DEAD MAN) The Fortune Telling Magician depicting an 1800's magician from the French occult revival. It has a very complex mechanical system consisting of hand cut cams, gears, levers, springs, sprockets and pulleys. Such automata involve great precision and many months of intense work after a preparation time that can often be years. It requires skill sets in all disciplines including sculpture, painting, mold making, machining, engineering fabric work and cabinetry. The case is made of solid oak. It tells 7 fortunes and if one attempts to fool the magician a devil appears in the window.
This automaton ,a nightmarish vision was inspired in part by the 19th century Phalibois clown automaton.The first Version was sold to a private collector and then this 23" tall automaton was made from a completely new set of sculptures with some added feautures and a completely new mechanical design.It is an auto-biographical self-portrait told through occult allegory and runs for one minute to complete the cycle.
Check out his website here.