Chuh-Click. Sunset. ---Last Kodak projector manufactured

Discussion in 'Kodak' started by Alan Browne, Nov 25, 2004.

  1. Alan Browne

    Alan Browne Guest

    From the Washington Post, 2004.11.25
    Chuh-Click. Sunset.

    By Hank Stuever

    The last of the Eastman Kodak slide projectors was manufactured in Upstate New
    York in October, and then no more, the company has announced, after nearly seven
    decades and 35 million projectors sold.

    Next slide, please.


    Oh yes, the party. According to the Democrat & Chronicle newspaper, the
    remaining employees of the slide-projector division, along with some Kodak
    brass, gathered last Thursday night at a special farewell party in the George
    Eastman House in Rochester, and nice things were said about the venerable slide
    projector, and the Smithsonian Institution was given a few Carousels and
    Ektapros to keep for posterity, to remind us who we were, and how many slide
    shows we've sat through, in how many basements and classrooms and board (bored?)


    A documentary filmmaker was there, too, from the Art Institute of Chicago, and
    she has been busily working on a movie about the history of slide projectors. If
    she does it right, the movie should be wonderfully boring and vividly colored
    and meanderingly, redundantly narrated, and the audience will be invited to
    periodically shout "Focus!" It should be five hours long, and shown only after
    pie. Halfway through, it should stop, and the audience will entertain themselves
    with shadow puppets while the projectionist softly curses and his
    co-projectionist (also his wife) insists the slides are in backward.

    Lights out. There was always that curiously intimate sensation of demi-privacy
    in the crowded family room, when your father or uncle or neighbor flipped off
    the light switch in the den and we were all sitting there, aware and unaware of
    one another in the dark. "Let's see," he'd say, and lo, that blank frame of
    white light appeared on the screen or the wall.

    In the beginning there was the universe and it was nothing but white light, and
    rounded at the edges of the frame.


    Then we went to Pikes Peak, in 1981.


    I mean, look at the aspen. They really were that color. Like nothing you've ever


    Then we evolved even further, a civilized people, who had all these slides that
    we never looked at, not really, not after the first time.


    Digital cameras came along. People deleted the pictures where they thought they
    looked fat.


    PowerPoint! The 21st century, the so-called future. The less said, the better.
    Decades from now, science will conclude that nobody ever learned anything from a
    PowerPoint presentation, that it was, in fact, actually worse for the brain than
    slide shows. That juries missed crucial evidence because of the prosecution's
    determination to use PowerPoint during closing arguments. That productivity in
    the American workplace, especially in middle management, hit an all-time low
    because of PowerPoint, and that employees forced to watch PowerPoint considered
    suicide at a rate previously unseen.

    Next slide, please.


    Grandma and Grandpa. They're both dead, now. And we had to decide whether to
    throw all their slides and carousels away, and so we opened the boxes and took
    the slides out one by one and held them up to the window to see what was on
    them, and here came the awful truth about slides . . .

    Um, next slide, please.

    Just hit the -- yes. There you go.


    Here came the awful truth about slides: Too many mountains, too many trees, too
    many prairie dogs and never enough of your grandmother wearing cat-eye
    sunglasses, giving your grandfather that look she gave him when she thought he
    was being a precious fool. Too many hot-air balloons or Alaskan glaciers; not
    enough glum, pimply teenagers trying to look away from the camera. The lack of
    intimacy is what strikes you. The camera was always pointed at the most colorful
    thing, the most Kodachrome thing, the thing possessing what we all agree is
    natural beauty, but it was usually the wrong thing. Here is the turkey we ate in
    1978, but why didn't anybody think to take a shot of whoever took out the trash
    that night?

    You'd give back all those sunset slides for just one slide of your father at age 31.

    But there isn't one, because he was the one looking through the lens, so it's
    sunset, sunset, sunset, sunset.

    (Chuh-click, chuh-click, chuh-click.)

    Slides and slide projectors always had a sense about them of someone's
    picture-taking hobby gone toward obsession. Who was Dad, if not the man with a
    closet full of Kodak carousel boxes lovingly organized by subject and date?

    Slide projectors took on this hopelessly nerdy ethos. In the '70s, people
    learned to choreograph several slide projectors at once, set to music, slides
    fading in and out. The AV kid in charge of the end-of-the-year graduation slide
    show had night-before anxiety dreams unlike any you or I have ever experienced.

    In recent years, slide projectors acquired a certain cachet, a beloved and retro
    quality, like record players. They became very art school, very hipster, and so
    you know they were doomed. A musician named Jason Trachtenburg started an
    indie-rock band in 2000 with his 6-year-old daughter on harmonica and his wife
    on the slide-show projector. They called themselves the Trachtenburg Family
    Slideshow Players and wrote songs based only on the invented narrative
    discovered in heaps and heaps of unwanted slide carousels they bought at flea
    markets and garage sales. So the songs got random titles like "Mountain Trip to
    Japan, 1959" or "Let's Not Have the Same Weight in 1978 -- Let's Have More,"
    which is inspired by agenda and talking-point slides shown to McDonald's
    restaurant franchisers at their annual board meeting.

    Kodak is eager for you to know that it hasn't abandoned the idea of a slide
    show, not at all. It will continue to make projector parts for seven more years,
    at which point the fastidious upkeep of your old Carousel will fall to specialty
    shops and hobbyists, who will be able to hunt down a projector bulb of almost
    any sort, going back to the first projectors in the mid-1930s.

    But for all the coming obsolescence, stepping aside for digital slide shows on
    digital screens, Kodachrome slides demonstrated a shocking resilience to life in
    closets, attics, basements, storage sheds. This, perhaps, is the Thanksgiving to
    get them out, after pie. Unroll the tripod screen and plug in the Carousel
    projector. In the family room, all of you. Let us look back, before looking ahead:


    Sunset, sunset, sunset, sunset.

    © 2004 The Washington Post Company

    -- r.p.e.35mm user resource:
    -- r.p.d.slr-systems:
    -- [SI] gallery:
    -- [SI] rulz:
    -- e-meil: there's no such thing as a FreeLunch.
    Alan Browne, Nov 25, 2004
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  2. Alan Browne

    m II Guest

    Alan Browne wrote:

    Thanks, Alan. That was good reading.

    m II, Nov 26, 2004
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  3. <snipped heaps of comments about the much loved and hated slide show>
    Had a customer in yesterday with some slides they wanted printed through the
    frontier and scanned onto CD. They were Kodachromes that were mounted in
    England in Oct 65. There was a very slight colour shift toward blue on some,
    and a very slight shift toward yellow on others, but the colours on most
    were quite good. Other than that they were perfect. I reckon in 40 years
    time these slides will still be quite viewable, I doubt the same will be
    able to be said for the CD I copied them to.
    Graham Fountain, Nov 26, 2004
  4. Alan Browne

    Skip M Guest

    Thanks, Alan, all too true...
    Skip M, Nov 26, 2004
  5. Alan Browne

    Alan Browne Guest

    Oddly enough I did the same to a friends K-chrome 25's from about 35 years ago.
    I wrote on the CD's : "re-burn in 2009". As to color, he too had some blue
    issues, but I attributed it to the high altitude unfiltered shooting (and
    predominant underexposure) in his shots.


    -- r.p.e.35mm user resource:
    -- r.p.d.slr-systems:
    -- [SI] gallery:
    -- [SI] rulz:
    -- e-meil: there's no such thing as a FreeLunch.
    Alan Browne, Nov 26, 2004
  6. Alan Browne

    bmoag Guest

    That was terrific.

    Ironically I am in the process of showing my wife how to convert her lecture
    slides to a Powerpoint presentation because of the death of the slide

    As I try to convert my now grown offspring's childhood photos to CD and DVD
    I wonder how futile is the effort to preserve these personal images. Will
    anyone care?

    Then I recall the slide shows my father gave when I was a child and the few
    family pictures that remain from that time and what it would mean to me to
    see those people as they were.
    bmoag, Nov 27, 2004
  7. Alan Browne

    Ron Baird Guest

    Ron Baird, Nov 27, 2004
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