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Gunsmith of Williamsburg, and Other Junior High Films

Many thanks to Clayton for pointing this series of videos out:

You can see some other parts on YouTube here and here. I probably watched some of the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation videos myself when I was in Junior High too. It’s occurred to me that I was probably among the last of the 16mm film reel generation. When I entered high school, the schools were just starting to get the newfangled Laser Discs, which could be controlled with a nifty Apple IIGS computer. Kids today will never know the disappointment of being subject to regular lessons because the projector wouldn’t track correctly, the film reel broke, or the bulb in the projector blew out (some teachers knew how to fix these things, others didn’t). I’m sure with a new generation of media came a new generation of films, which means kids today will miss out on the delight of what I saw in Volcano National Park in Hawaii, reliving some interests from childhood:

Parts two,¬†three and four if you’re interested. Documentary filmmaking today doesn’t have the same dry, cheesy appeal. No dramatic score, or inappropriately deadpan, unenthusiastic narrator. In part four, at the end, I was particularly struck by the fact that they used, as evidence of mother nature recovering, that they tilled over the soil, and planted some papayas, and they grew, dammit! Today it would be some kumbaya¬†crap about fragile native plants that man as clearly destroying growing in the lava, and starting the cycle anew, rather than man punching mother nature right back in her face and getting some farming action back on.

As it is, I hiked through the area mentioned here, and it’s still pretty desolate.

I guess we didn’t punch mother nature quite hard enough. Not often you get to hike on naturally made, volcanic gravel — a remnant of the lava fountain that spewed here for a while.

6 Responses to “Gunsmith of Williamsburg, and Other Junior High Films”

  1. Countertop says:

    We’re annual members at Williamsburg. Love to visit. I actually placed an order for one of their guns last year. Not sure what I’ll get yet, they estimate it takes 6-8 years to work through the backlog. I hope to get a call in 5 years to come down and work on the design with them.

  2. j t bolt says:

    This movie, and 9th grade history, is why I like guns and old woodworking and blacksmithing NOW.

  3. DirtCrashr says:

    Growing new land is good for the real-estate biz, then comes the farming. But it all depends on bird-poop to get things going.
    Back in the day Mark Twain could sit around the veranda at Volcano House (there’s a wild-ass not-green building permit!) and watch the floor-show of molten magma in the lava-lake…

    • Bitter says:

      Unfortunately, we didn’t get that view this trip. (Obviously, due to the lack of a visible lava lake.) Mainly because Volcano House is closed with no open date set other than a vague “2011.” Apparently the NPS was unhappy with the upkeep of the vendor running it, and they yanked the license, started renovations on their own, and are looking for a new vendor to run it. Otherwise, I would have totally tried to get us in there for the trip. :)

  4. The voice of the narrator (not the gunsmith) on those videos is familiar, but I can’t place it. I’m sure that he was a network reporter back in the day.

  5. Ah, David Brinkley.

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