I am a child of the age of Disneyland, and my brain’s view of time was permanently altered by what I saw there for the first time.
Sunday nights, home in front of the round-screen television set (the size of a major appliance), my favorite Disney programs–the nature specials–looked at the planet’s places and animals. There were creatures and parts of the world that I would never have known or imagined without being shown them through this window of light and motion.
This vicarious adventure, as it remains eternally etched in memory, consisted of more than simple narrated visits by loquacious experts in pith helmets interacting with creatures doing what they do in their native places.
Maybe even more importantly, Disney’s special uses for the eye of the camera showed me for the first time two marvelous ways of seeing I had never imagined–what we now call slow motion and time-lapse imagery. We take it quite for granted today, but it was magic to me back then, and–as you might have discovered–I’m convinced our perceptions of the natural world and of each other can still be changed for the better by seeing the world in extra-ordinary ways today.
I remember ultra-slow motion stop-action sequences of bullets slowly piercing the full diameter of a watermelon. And then there were falling drops of red paint rebounding in a graceful splattering ballet of motion not visible to the naked eye because it happened faster than our brains and optical software could process it.
In visual poetry, a green and twining rose stem gyrated upward, reaching out, searching in a spiralling pirouette, and soon appeared from nowhere a red sprouting bud bursting to bloom in less time than an Ovaltine commercial! Plants were alive after all!
This is a first excerpt from this topic taken from One Place Understood–a book in my mind only, maybe always, but at least until summer of 2018.
► Do you have memories from early television that, looking back, changed your understanding of this world we share? Leave a comment.