Listen to Margaret Wise Brown‘s Good Night Moon, the 1947 Clement Hurd-illustrated picture book shared in this audio filmstrip read aloud. It was created by Weston Woods Studios in 1984 and preserved in 2021 by the team at Uncommon Ephemera on their YouTube channel.
Uncommon Ephemera preserves “forgotten middle class American cultural ephemera from the 40s to the 80s,” which includes audio filmstrips, filmstrips that were fed into a filmstrip projector, and advanced in concert with soundtrack cassettes or records. The beeps are prompts that keep audio and visuals synchronized.
Weston Woods’ adaptation for sound filmstrip was published in 1984, and the visuals are comprised entirely of the original illustrations for the book by Clement Hurd. Especially pleasant here is Weston Woods’ efforts to create every frame of the filmstrip from Hurd’s full-color, full-bleed illustrations, replacing the cutout-style, black-and-white detail illustrations from some pages of the book with full-color, full-frame versions presumably taken from full-size versions of the original color artwork. Every frame is full color and takes up the full size of the filmstrip frame.
While it is an enjoyable perk of the job for this preservationist to poke fun at the shortcomings and cost-cutting decisions that make filmstrip media so often hokey, it’s also good to remind historians and viewers alike that filmstrips could also be beautifully and lovingly produced when the producer wanted them to be, and “Goodnight Moon” is a stellar example.
Follow Uncommon Ephemera on YouTube.
Related reading at Wired in 2010: Turning Picture Books into Art House Films: The Story of Weston Woods.
Related videos includes more read aloud books, and these:
• Pen Point Percussion and Dots: Norman McLaren
• The North Wind and the Sun: A Fable by Aesop
• Ray Harryhausen’s Mother Goose Stories (1946)
• The Story Of King Midas, a stop-motion classic by Ray Harryhausen (1953)
• Sing a Song of Sixpence with six North American black birds
via Boing Boing.
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