By Siobhan Hagan
We are now about one month away from International Home Movie Day 2013, so I thought it an appropriate time to post and discuss some of my own home videos. On October 19 various cities and towns across the world will hold free and open to the public events where attendees can screen their own home movies and learn about how to preserve those moving images (check out the awesome Center for Home Movies to find the Home Movie Day location nearest you!).
This isn’t the first time on MarMIA that we have discussed home movies. As mentioned, “home movies are treasure troves full of not only family pets, birthdays and Easter outfits, but of local cultures, traditions and historical events”. I would like to offer some of my family home videos as an example. Don’t worry, the highlights are under ten minutes and moderately interesting (especially if you are from Baltimore and/or Maryland and/or really want to see me embarrass myself and my kin). I forgot to add a few seconds of puppies: apologies!
First I want to throw a performance by my eldest brother’s (Jim) high school marching band from 1991. Probably three types of people will be interested in this video: 1. marching bandies (is this a term? If not, let’s make it one); 2. marching bandies from Franklin High School in Reisterstown, Maryland; 3. marching bandies from Franklin High School’s moms. Then there are nerds like me who will watch pretty much ANY moving image claiming to be from Maryland, but I am not counting on there being a whole “group” of people like that because I would’ve found them by now. And I mean, c’mon, they begin and end with the SUPERMAN theme–that has to get a few views.
Next in the lineup are two of my FAVORITE childhood pastimes: hot air balloons and baseball games. The video starts with us checking out The First National Bank Hot Air Balloon Competition and Children’s Festival on the morning of May 9, 1990 near the mansion in Druid Hill Park. This was an event I grew up going to: while I never went to the famous Preakness Stakes (that was for the adults), we always went to see the hot air balloons and pick our favorites (I LOVED the Klondike bear, if you can’t tell by my constant bossing of my dad to get video of it—which he obliged with a nice bear bum shot or two). The following is from the Baltimore Sun Archives: “As minds shift toward the Preakness, many Baltimoreans look forward to balloons as much as horses. The annual Preakness balloon race — celebrating its 20th launch tomorrow — now qualifies as a major spring tradition.”
The next activity was inside the mansion, where we had breakfast with reptiles and politicians (really, who planned that one?)! It was called “Breakfast with the Mayor at the Baltimore Zoo” and was also part of Preakness Celebration week activities. Dad obviously missed his calling as a paparazzo, very sneakily capturing the mayor at the time, Kurt Schmoke, the man in the Orioles jacket doing nothing while I am harassed by an over-sized chipmunk (to this day, I have major performance anxiety: thanks, Chip!). Mayor Schmoke was the first African American mayor of Baltimore and is pretty well loved by Baltimore (as much as a politicians could be loved) and recently stepped down as dean of the Howard University School of Law.
The Balloon Glow! This was always the Saturday evening on the weekend before the Preakness at Oregon Ridge Park in Hunt Valley. We would picnic, run like fools down a really big hill (cheap thrills), and then just past 9 PM when all is dark and still: the balloons would light up and we would FREAK out (did you get the Klondike bear?!). Then we would fall asleep during the car ride home.
The last event I would like to share will probably be very meaningful to any baseball fan. It is of the last opening day at Memorial Stadium, April 8, 1991. I had to include a clip of the announcer, Jon Miller, as he was the voice of my springs and summers. The next gentleman in uniform standing on home plate waving his hat is Frank Robinson. Again from The Baltimore Sun, regarding Frank Robinson:
His six seasons with the Orioles were among the most successful in franchise history as Baltimore went to four World Series, winning the 1966 and 1970 world championships… He won the 1961 NL MVP with the Reds and the 1966 AL MVP with the Orioles. He played in 11 All-Star games and was MVP of the 1971 classic. While still an active player, he became the first black manager in major league history with the Cleveland Indians in 1975… He managed the O’s from 1988 to 1991, including the team’s memorable 1989 “Why Not?” season.
Do I need to tell you who number 8 is? All right, for non-Marylanders or non-baseball fans: that is the Iron Man himself, Cal Ripken, Jr. The older men who went out for the ceremonial first pitch were the pitchers in the very first game at Memorial Stadium in 1954: Orioles #33 Bob Turley and White Sox #23 Virgil Trucks. The guy wearing the Orioles jacket who we see throw a pitch? That would be our Vice President of the United States at the time, Dan Quayle. I threw in some of Cal at bat too, and I think that is him (oooooooo, cotton candy) sliding into home. I have no idea whom that guy is that Jim ponders while we hear the loud exclamation of, “I have to stop at the little White Sox room on the way out”. Whoever he is, he is fantastic. And there is always one or two of him at an O’s game.
You may find that in your home movies there is something really interesting: not just to you and Aunt Sally, but to other people who don’t even know your family. So dust off those Hi8’s, Super 8’s, and VHS tapes, and head down to your local Home Movie Day on October 19! And remember kids: just because you digitize your home movies, DOES NOT mean you should throw away the originals! And I say this with love: MAKE BACKUP COPIES.