A True Blast from the Past (Vacation Filler)

Posted on April 16, 2009Filed Under cartoons, Me | Leave a Comment

Every time I smell a Sharpie, I flash back to the summer between seventh and eighth grade. I spent many an hour in my closet that summer with the smell of felt pens and burning hair. No, it’s not what you think. (What WERE you thinking, anyway?) That was the summer I dug out my dad’s 8mm movie camera, and invested almost $20 (a fortune for me in 1974) in film and developing, and made a couple of movies.

One was a skateboard movie. I had seen Endless Summer, and wanted to make a similar sort of skateboard movie about skating in our neighborhood. I used three reels of film at about 4 minutes each. My friend Ziggy and I used his dad’s old-school film editor, and literally taped together a masterpiece. It only survived 4 or 5 showings before some of the splices melted, and well…today all I have is a reel of outtakes.

The other movie was a cartoon (of sorts), and thus has the Sharpie connection, since I used Sharpies for my “artwork.”  The pens were of the old formulation – I used to get mighty loopy after a couple of hours in the closet with my cut-outs (now stop chuckling) and the giant hot movie light I needed for illumination. I must have burned my arm 20 times, and singed my hair 5 more. I had wanted to do a whole, Disney style, multiple drawings, etc. CARTOON creation. I quickly realized how much work that was going to be, so it became a cut-out, stop-motion type of thing. I did one sequence with multiple drawings, just to see if I could; sort of a flip-book thing. I knew I didn’t have the stamina for a whole movie like that.

This one was only one reel, and I edited it in the camera, as they say in the biz, so it survived long enough to get transferred to VHS in the 80’s. Then a few years ago I managed to transfer it to digital format. Since the old camera was silent (I mean, it didn’t even use electricity; you had to wind it up), I used titles and talk balloons for my “dialogue,” and there was no soundtrack. Once it was digitized, I added sound effects and a soundtrack.

I had sort of forgotten about it for awhile until I happened across the original 8mm reel in the bottom of a desk drawer. Here are a few things to know:

The bearded guy under the saucer when it takes off was our PE teacher; we hated him.
Yes, the villain is ripped off from Don Martin of Mad Magazine fame.
Yes, I know I misspelled aerial.
I also know that some of the titles go by pretty quickly. It was my first try. Just hit pause.
The soundtrack is by a band I was in (drums) in the 90’s called El Queso Grande, so as to avoid copyright issues.

So here it is, Attack from Space.

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