Like a lot of families in the American middle class in the 20th century, mine had an 8mm movie camera. There is about 90 minutes of film of our various junior high band concerts, beginner ballet recitals, picnics in the woods, visits to local attractions, and on and on.
On one of these filmworthy occasions, circa 1972, my family and I were hosting my aunt Carol, uncle Wes, and cousin Lori, and had taken them to the Holy City of the Wichitas north of our home at the time, Lawton, Oklahoma. At the time, my father was using the wind-up 8mm movie camera he had inherited from my mother’s dad, Richard Batten. Prior to the introduction of “Super 8” film cameras, 8mm cameras actually filmed on one half of a reel of 16mm film, which was then “flipped” over in the middle of the roll, then exposed on the other side. The processing lab would then split the film down the middle, splice the halves together, and a star was born.
I tell you this because on our trip to the Holy City, dad filmed on the first half of the roll, but apparently misloaded the camera when flipping the film. The result was a surreal dance of light that became known to our family as The 11 Film, and, oddly, ended up being one of our favorites. Often when watching it, we would laugh at the little elevens dancing across the screen, and sometimes we would back it up and watch it again. We watched these films at Christmas when we were all together, and it was one of our favorite activities.
About 15 years ago, we had all our films copied to VHS video cassette, and more recently I copied those tapes to DVD.
Now that it is 2011, I feel that it’s time to share The 11 Film. It is about 17 seconds long. Since it does not include sound, you might consider playing something on your iTunes while you watch. I recommend possibly Pink Floyd, The Cocteau Twins, or Carnage Visors by The Cure.