Gov. Gretchen Whitmer addressed the State of Michigan after a plan to kidnap her and other Michigan government officials was thwarted by state and federal law enforcement agencies. She started by saying thank you to law enforcement and FBI agents who participated in stopping this [...]
The origin of movies in 3-D goes back to the 19th century stereopticon viewer which held two images mounted on a handheld device allowing each eye to view its own separate picture.
The two images blended in the brain’s optic nerve centers, producing the visual illusion of dimension. Interestingly, the first 3-D sequence dates back to 1890, the invention of an Englishman.
I saw my first 3-D movie, “Bwana Devil,” in 1952. It was a jungle adventure with stereotypical natives, pith-helmeted white warriors, distant menacing tom-tom drums, much ugha-ugha-boss-man, yes-sir-me-do! and chest-thumping Congo grunting.
I walked into the Palms theater while the movie was showing, at just the right psychological moment for testing “Bwana”‘s visual authenticity. I took my seat as on-screen, angry natives were throwing their spears at me. (I wasn’t even out back then.)
I actually ducked, spilling buttered popcorn in several directions, relieved – and delighted – that I was getting my money’s worth, enjoying the novelty of being fooled into narrowly escaping with my still-virginal, non-missionary life intact and finding movie entertainment had turned another make-believe corner for me.
In the years that followed 3-D films – including “House of Wax” with ghoul-master Vincent Price – newer technology debuted: Cinerama, Cinemascope, Todd AO, Imax. I avidly took them all in, thrilling at simulated roller coaster rides, front-seat auto races and full-stereophonic surround sound.
The small screen black-and-white, boyhood films that played Detroit’s Roxy, Colonial, Mayfair, Garden, Majestic, Fox, United Artists, Madison, Downtown, Michigan movie theaters quickly became visual lilliputian relics of past times. (On weekends, all of these venues played to well-attended audiences.)
Most recently – like most civic-minded gay persons I know – I paid my share of buy-in homage to the $1 billion-plus (and still tallying with Blue Ray) that is grossing for the stunning 3-D “Avatar.” I was overwhelmed by the film’s innovative technology, mind-zapping visual panorama, designer created flora and fauna.
My only reservation is that the movie concluded with a half-hour wrap-up reminiscent of “Apocalypse Now,” “Terminator,” “Matrix,” good-guy-vs-bad-guy, one on one. The usual mayhem, majesty, followed by 300-plus film credit listing.
I suppose I was in a bedazzled mood as I left. (Or, maybe I was somehow inspired by the Na’vi and their admirable lifestyle.) I ignored the exit-posted, recycle request, and – please don’t think the less of me for this moment of struggled-with confession – I pocketed my 3-D glasses. For shame.
And that’s when the inexplicable magic began…
That evening, alone in my studio, I examined the glasses closely … RealD 3D … looked in my mirror … Wow! Suddenly I appeared 30 years younger (actually 25 – let’s be modest) … Is it possible? … No mistaking it … Removing them I was, well, my old funny-faced self (see above unretouched, stand-up-comic photo).
It took a little courage to wear the 3-D glasses in public. I wasn’t quite sure what my censorious neighbors might think. And, though it seems silly to say, I had some concern I might be stopped by on-campus security. (They’re really down on lavender-collar crime.) Hey! I decided it was a risk worth taking …
To my surprise, I discovered newfound popularity as I walked the streets of Detroit, Royal Oak, Ferndale. People waved. “Nice glasses, guy!” “Hey, don’t you write for BTL? Great job.” “Tell Jan and Susan hi!” “We’re all family.” “Hugs!”
It was the strangest thing. I’d swear that with my 3-D glasses on – without exception – all of these well-wishers had bright rainbow auras surrounding them. Many had floating, luminescent jellyfish-like, angelic creatures gently, lovingly touching, caressing them. They were positively radiant!
I can’t wait ’til MotorCity Pride (in living 2010 3-D reality).