Reader JWilly writes: "Sometime after the introduction of 8mm movie cameras in 1932, my grandfather bought one, along with a projector, screen and the other equipment needed for that early technology. 8mm film didn't have an audio track then, but that didn't matter because he could narrate as he projected. Certainly he was no cinematographer--he didn't tell picture-stories or plan his shoots, he just pointed the camera at whatever was of interest, or directed his assistant of the moment to do so. Nowdays we'd say his shots were too short and his pans too fast, but that was the home movie style of the day...no doubt influenced by the significant cost of film and developing.
"Much of the film he shot was kept by my parents, and we've finally gotten most of it converted to video."
"This brief film about the 1947 Flint River flood, in mostly-faded color, shows parts of the downtown area near the river. This was after the peak of the flood had passed. My grandfather's store then was at the corner of Beach Street and First Street, about two blocks from the river. The surface water didn't get quite that far, but the store's basement and the bottom of the freight elevator shaft were flooded several feet deep. At first it wasn't clear how high the flood might go, and probably shooting film of the flood had lower priority than getting as much as possible of the inventory and store fixtures to upper floors, then working to salvage what had gotten wet. Once the water clearly had stopped rising, then there was time to go sightseeing."
"My dad had just turned 15 when the 1936-37 Sit-Down Strike began. I think he was the cameraman as my grandfather drove, for some of this short collection showing National Guard troops outside Fisher Body #1 on South Saginaw, and bivouacked alongside (I think) the IMA near downtown. Having strikers and police engaged in pitched battles that sent people on both sides to hospitals, and police cars burned and wrecked, and troops in town with fixed bayonets was quite shocking to the ordinary citizenry, for whom Organized Labor, Socialism and Communism all were new, strange and — according to many leaders — dangerous."