Movies in the 1960s…

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Steven Soderbergh just completed a second feature film using an iPhone exclusively. Very cool. This could be a big break for budding filmmakers and continue to flood the world of film / movies with even more.

The Hollywood blockbuster ruled.

Before streaming, film experts reported that there were more films made than there were screens to display them on – that was the late 1980s. Enter streaming and millions of films. The amount and size of flat screens increases and even though 4-walling movies (on theaters) does not begin to cover the volume of film home theater is attempting to meet the challenge.

As a Boomer I remember when cinema was a big deal. The Hollywood blockbuster ruled. There was a theater in a city south of my little town named the CineMart. They had ushers in red uniforms and hats that seated folks. Movies like “The Sound of Music”, Lawrence of Arabia” and Dr. Zhivago” played for a whole month or more.

“You can’t make movies, they only do it in Hollywood.”

Kubrick’s “2001: A Space Odyssey” played for a whole summer in 1968.

Music from the film played before the movie started. There were no short subjects, no previews and no ads – for anything. When the logo of Metro Goldwyn Mayer Lion appeared on the screen the curtain parted as the film played.

There was an Intermission announced across the wide 70 mm screen and for 15 or 20 minutes music from the film played. People stayed until the credits ceased and the house lights came up. Even in my small town we saw Oscar winning shorts before the feature and slews of cartoons – mostly “Looney Tunes”.

That didn’t stop us

Movies were special. And of course there was a catch. My friend Paul and I made movies, mostly very bad movies. When we tried to get classmates to be in our very bad movies they invariably said: “You can’t make movies, they only do it in Hollywood.”

That didn’t stop us. Our High School Art teacher Mrs. Bernarzyk told us about the Fordham’s Young Filmmaker Festival in NYC in February 1968. Our bad movie – The Chase was our ticket in. It was very cool – movies day and night for 3 days. I met these geeky guys from Long Island that made 3-D animation Godzilla films with models in their basements. The first YFF was during the first garbage strike in the cold and snow of February.

We saw a pre-screening of The Planet of The Apes, cool.

I went home and made films with 3-D (pixilation) animation with chairs, sneakers, laundry baskets, rocks and sometimes with people too.

The last film I made in those days – King Chair that was 3 minutes long and took 3 eight hour days to make was distributed with 2 other shorts and the only project where I made a $45 profit.

…. Later I adapted a James Thurber story – Unicorn in the Garden to a 20-minute plot-boiler of “Alien in the Refrigerator”

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