My guess on the year of this 8mm stop-motion footage is 1962, making me 14 or 15 at the time. I loved the films of Ray Harryhausen and Willis O’Brien. Twilight Zone and the Outer Limits were my favorite TV shows. I always wanted my animated movies to have sound, but I didn’t have the equipment. I had fun putting the sound effects and music in, and I couldn’t resist some editing, zooming and panning to help move things along.
This was probably the third fifty-foot, 8mm, not Super-8, reel I’d shot. The first reel was completely without intentional plot, and oily, melt-under-the-floods plasticine was the medium. The second featured a carnivorous, cave-man eating Brontosaurus made from foam rubber, cut with a scissors, not molded, around bendable wire. In Wild Kingdom all the models were foam rubber. Spikes coming out of the saucer-alien’s feet punched into the corrugated cardboard that covered the table. This only poorly supported the puppet. He swayed a lot. The yellow Martian creature did a little better in keeping upright, he was supported by a tail, as well as some spikes. The camera wasn’t capable of shooting single frames. I had to twitch at the shutter release aiming for two frames. What I was most interested in doing was the shrinking and ray gun effect. Everything else was just an excuse to shoot and shrink.
The insurance company Mutual of Omaha was the sponsor of the real Wild Kingdom. The show, as I remember it, often featured Marlin Perkins with his camera crew going along on those scientific studies where they sedate and tag. You know, get up close and personal with wildlife, and annoy the heck out of them, but don’t actually kill anything on camera.
It made me laugh putting this together, and trying to get back into my teenage head. I hope you enjoy.
I still have the 8mm reels but no way to project them. This video is captured from a deteriorating VHS tape made at least 20 years ago.