We spent last night watching home movies; Christmas 1965, ski trip to Colorado 1968, Disneyland 1969. Such memories! Not our, memories but memories nonetheless. We were watching 8mm home movies that I picked up at an estate sale. Weird? I know it sounds a bit strange but hear me out.
First off, these movies were probably headed for the trash if I didn’t buy them – how sad is that.
Next, because I was about the same age as the kids in the movies, their actions were familiar to me and they did trigger wonderful old memories. Like playing in a partially filled pool while two hose ran for days. Ripping through giant boxes under a tinsel-laden Christmas tree. Hunting for Easter Eggs in the backyard. It was actually kind of spooky how close these films were to my own home movies from the era.
But the best reason to buy old home movies is for the historical significance. I’m not talking about Washington crossing the Delaware, but video of Disneyland prior to Star Wars and Indiana Jones is priceless. It’s also great to see the fashions, the cars and the electronics. Since I had three Christmas reels, I was also hoping to see some amazing old toys, sadly dad didn’t get close enough with the camera to make out most of what the kids were opening.
The downside to buying old home movies is you need a projector or editor to play them. We had no trouble finding a working 8mm projector at an estate sale for only $25. The bad news is you can’t play Super 8 movies on an 8mm projector because the sprockets are different. So before you buy, make sure you know which type of films you have. (Image from DVD Your Memories)
I’m hoping to pick up an inexpensive film editor for the Super 8 films. This looks like a tiny TV and it’s used to splice film. I believe they’re designed to handle both 8 and Super 8. We also picked up a vintage home movie screen for $15. Not necessary as a sheet or blank wall will do, but it added to the effect.
The biggest blast from the past was listening to the noisy clack, clack clack of the projector and that slightly burning smell that goes along with old film. We certainly have come far from those days, but it’s fun to go back and not only see things as they were but enjoy them in the same way.
Vintage home movies sell well on eBay. The value depends a lot on the era and subject. Old movies from places like Disneyland or a defunct amusement park are highly sought after but even generic movies around the house are worth what you’re likely to pay at an estate sale.