Starting when I was a tyke and continuing for many years thereafter, my dad documented nearly all family events — birthdays, vacations, holidays, sledding excursions, etc. — with a Super 8 camera. Sometimes he turned it on himself and mouthed a few words. “Merry Christmas, ho, ho, ho.” Or something like that.
You had to be judicious with those things. Three minutes of film isn’t a lot, but it’s enough to capture the essence of an event or happening before moving on. And because the movies were silent, you paid more attention to the visuals — what people wore, how they did their hair, the landscape, the cars. I even made a herky-jerky animated featurette using that camera. Dad helped. In one portion, a giant Play-Doh hand devours a passing toy car. Scorsese-level stuff.
On Saturday, Oct. 19 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., the Chicago History Museum (in conjunction with the Chicago Film Archives and the Northwest Chicago Film Society) is hosting its third-annual Chicago Home Movie Day for nostalgic folks like me. And maybe you. Bring as many reels as you want (Super 8, 8mm, 16mm), but they’ll screen only one from each attendee to start with until everyone’s had a turn. Then seconds are welcome.This year’s batch will highlight the Bronzeville and Ravenswood Manor neighborhoods. Want to narrate your flick? That’s fine. Just keep it short.
Oh, and it’s free.
Chicago Home Movie Day
Saturday, October 19 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Chicago History Museum, 1601 N. Clark