Tuesday, February 04, 2014

Main Street Instamatics

Today we'll stray no further than Main Street USA in today's vintage Instamatics.

Town Square is all a-bustle in the morning hours. New arrivals are anxious to see everything, while the early birds (like the girl in the red outfit) have decided to head back to Main Street Station to ride the Disneyland Railroad. In spite of the blue sky and brilliant sunshine, there must have been a slight chill in the air; there are not as many short sleeves as we normal see.

Here's an unusual angle taken near the entrance to the Plaza Inn, looking toward The Hub. An Omnibus is just visible as it passes by.

The Motorized Fire Truck has just dropped off a load of passengers. "It's no problem, folks, Mr. Phillips' house will take hours to burn. I'll be there shortly". Now that's the kind of service that you just don't see anymore.


K. Martinez said...

Love the Plaza Inn entrance image. How things have changed through the years. Thanks, Dave.

Anonymous said...

I like the square format of the Instamatic - the photographer doesn't have to decide between vertical and horizontal composition! All three pictures utilize leading lines from an edge of the photo to the subject...the curved curb, the yellow awning, and the railroad track. The second pic could use a touch less of sky and something more interesting in the foreground, and the colors are great in all three.
The Instamatic shutter gave that clunky click, and with a single shutter speed and fixed focus there wasn't much for the photographer to worry about technically. Who remembers the melted blue plastic of the MagicCube flash after it fired?

Bill in Denver
(yes, I'm over the game.)

MRaymond said...

And if you didn't get burned on the Magicube there was always the flashbar.
Great pics as always

Nanook said...

Hey- Let's not forget the "pre-Flahcube era", with the single bulb which fit into the pop-up enclosure. By comparison, Flashcubes were practically Space Age.

Thanks, Major.

PsySocDisney said...

Nice set today. They're more "you are there" than "postcard" quality, with no real obvious focal point. I like em. The lack of crowds in these also make me crave a nice slow, relaxing visit. The last couple visits we've made were over holidays and just packed. I'm soooo over that now!

Melissa said...

“I just don’t feel like you’re truly committed to the Community Party, Kay.”

“What do you mean, Janet? I’m as committed as you or anybody! It’s just too warm for my red sweater! You know I get overheated more easily that you do, especially when we’re walking. You remember when I passed out at Track and Field Days last spring!”

“Like you’d ever let me forget, you big goose! You could have worn your red blouse, anyway!”

“I TOLD you my little monster of a kid sister put it in the wash with the whites last Monday and turned it pink – along with all the bath towels! Boy, you should have seen Mother’s face – Uncle Joe all over again! If we really lived ‘from each according to his ability,’ that little brat wouldn’t be trusted to bounce a foam ball in the corner.”

“You could have worn the pink blouse. It would have been something. A show of solidarity.”

“Now, Janet Larsen, solidarity is all well and good, but after that lecture Miss Ferrington gave us in Home Ec about the color wheel on Thursday, do you really think I’m going to go around in red slacks and a pink blouse, where any of the girls might see? I’d look like… like one of Mrs. Stroebel’s church supper Jell-O salads!”

“Sometimes I think you have just about the backbone of one of Mrs. Stroebel’s church supper Jell-O salads, Kay Martin! And you look like… like a tomato sandwich!”

Nancy said...

Flashcubes ... bring back good memories! :)

Chuck said...

In my collection of "cameras I've used but don't anymore" I have both a single flashbulb Instamatic 100 and a flash cube or magicube (not sure which; haven't seen it in a while) Instamatic 174.

While I like the ease of use of today's electronic flashes and digital cameras, there's something to be said for the thought required to making a good exposure in those days (and then to not burn your fingers afterwards).

Major Pepperidge said...

K. Martinez, I'm glad you liked that one… I figure that mostly true Disneyland fans will appreciate that one, since it is nothing spectacular. Being familiar with the park's history helps make it more interesting!

Bill, it's true, the square format does seem to result in fewer bad compositions… I never really thought about it. Mr. X was a teenager when he took these, so I can forgive the occasiional less-successful picture! I totally remember the melted plastic. My poor mom, when I was a kid I would put the flashcubes on the camera and fire them just to see them flash. I was a little brat.

MRaymond, I never had the flash bar, did those work with Instamatics?

Nanook, oh boy. those were before my time. Or so I'd like to believe! I guess some people still used those, though. Am I crazy, or were there pinkish-hued bulbs for flashes as well as the blue ones?

PsySocDisney, I love these Instamatics so much, and just think… my friend was on the verge of throwing them away until he thought that I might want them!

Melissa, this sounds like a seen from a John Hughes movie filmed in the USSR. John Hugheski?

Nancy, they were fun, but expensive!

Chuck, oh, the magicubes were the best, you could make them flash with just a toothpick. So cool! I think I prefer today's method.. take 100 photos, and if 10 percent are keepers, that's still 10 good photos!

Melissa said...

We used to use the spent flash cubes as big TV sets for our Fisher-Price Little People, and little TV sets for our Barbie dolls. Paper-clip rabbit ears completed the effect.

I just noticed an older lady in an all-red suit in the fire truck picture. Must be Janet's mother from the John Johnovich Hugheski movie.

Chuck said...

Major - your memory is correct - there were different colored flashes for different types of film. Clear bulbs were for black & white photography while the blue ones were color-balanced for daylight film. I don't remember pink ones, but those may have been balanced for tungsten film or could have been used for special effects (like a bit of fill flash in a sunset shot).

I can remember playing with a magicube in my bedroom and unexpectedly setting off a flash...which was followed by me setting off the other three flashes...and then four more on another magicube. And then I had no idea why I wasn't able to find a magicube when I went to take pictures that next Christmas.

The flip flash bars were a later innovation. They had a dedicated socket that was different from the magicube socket (which was itself different from the flashcube socket). There were a few 126-cartridge Instamatic cameras manufactured from 1976-1988 that used the flip flash, but it was mostly used in 110 cameras produced in 1976 and later.

Major Pepperidge said...

Melissa, you were much more creative than I was! I just threw 'em in the trash. PS, I can't believe I wrote "seen" instead of "scene". Embarrassing.

Chuck, I'm almost positive that somebody (my grandparents?) had some old flashbulbs in their closet and that some were blue, some pink. And now I know why I never used the flash bars, though they sound pretty cool; I think I had the same darn camera until I went away to college, when I bought a fancy 35mm Nikon - which sits gathering dust.