Clyde, Time Was: Photographs were precious keepsakes

Published 12:00 am Sunday, June 3, 2018

Time was, we had photographs, phonographs and the Fotosho.

All were used to capture a glimpse of our precious lives and show us what we looked like or sounded like to others. There was always an old box of dark, dog-eared photos hiding in  a drawer for us to relive those moments when we stopped, while someone with a black box snapped and said, “Stand there in front of that bush.” Why? To draw attention away from the most important thing in the frame. You, Narcissus.

Look at old tintype pictures; nobody smiled to hold for the shutter, and nobody touched each other. They all were dressed to the nines in their glad rags and looked skinny, or maybe what was then normal. Some of them held guns or swords.

Wayne, longtime Post photographer,  says we have lost all those images by using cell phones, where you simply delete. There is nothing tangible to keep. Who wants all those Candid Camera, photo-bombed, stupid selfies? What do you call it with more than one? Ourselfies? Thank you, Polaroid for starting this frenzy.

You took a chance with the old box camera of 12 to 24 negatives, rewound in a closet, mailed to Jack Rabbit and after what seemed forever, they “came back,” some good to keep, others solid black with a note that told you what went wrong.

Phonographs from the Latin phono, meaning sound or voice, captured your voice, like no others. Voice recognition is nothing new to recording artists. Our boy, Elvis, with a Rowan County granite tombstone, has sold over 210 million vinyls. The most-records-sold record goes to The Beatles at 265 million. That’s a lot of cranking on an upright RCA Victrola talking machine or a Roller Gem organ.

Kids today don’t even know what a single “45” record is. In 1931 “a disc with a spiral groove carrying recorded sound for phonograph reproduction included a device that automatically positions and plays successively each of a stack.” Record, literally to recall our Latin re-”again” and cordi-”heart.”

Ask the mayor if she knows the difference between off and on the record.

For a really good show, we went to the motion picture show, first called movies in 1912, where they had no sound and the piano or theater organ player roomed at the Bell Block. The Old Meroney Opera House on North Main was replaced by Thomas Jefferson Meroney and his sister, with Meroney’s Theater on South Main. It was later called the Colonial, Grubb, State, Strand and Center. It closed as the Twin Cinemas. On either side was the Bijou and the Fotosho. Facing in the Empire block was the Palace. Near the Square were the Victory and the Gem at the 110 N. Main.

The Blackmer boys hung out at the Capitol, where the Post is now.

The Iris opened in 1914 and closed in 1928 on North Main, and just past the Ford Hotel was the Theato. For our “colored” patrons, as they were called then, there was the Rex on North Lee, the Mowery or Princess on East Fisher and the Ritz on West Horah. That would make a good rehabilitation.

The Lyric lured movie-goers across from the station. Who knows when they invented buttered popcorn?

The Dreamland was in Fulton Heights park and still is for residents there.

So, what do all these have in common, Ms. Little? They are art imitating life. Expressions of free will, saved in sepia for posterity from the ravages of quiet time, so we can one empty day relive, if only vicariously, those smiles, sounds and actions. They are not held in place with glue on photo corners in black and white or in Dolby surround sound on the big screen, or in a named seat at a Piedmont Players sold-out show.

Silence your electronic devices and converse with those you know in person, in front of you.

Sing out in the bath tub or in a choir (not together). Let your beautiful voice be heard, audition, get on the stage, speak your part, sit for a portrait with Cara or Mark, get a record of your time, add it to those you can’t see or talk to or ask anymore and add a layer of yours to the dusty, faded, box of those that came before you. It’s all we have left.

Clyde is a Salisbury artist.

like to others. There was always an old box of dark, dog-eared photos hiding in  a drawer for us to relive those moments when we stopped, while someone with a black box, snapped and said “stand there in front of that bush.” why? To draw attention away from the most important thing in th eframe. You, Narcissus. Look at old tintype pictures, nobody smiled, to hold for the shutter, and nobody touched each other. They all were dressed to the nines in their glad rags and looked skinny, or maybe what was then, normal. Some of them held guns or swords.

Wayne, the camera dragger at the Post says we have lost all those images by using cell phones, where you simply delete. There is nothing tangible to keep. Who wants all those candid camera, photo bombed, stupid selfies? What do you call it with more than one? Ourselfies? Thank you, polaroid for starting this frenzy.

You took a chance with the old box camera of 12 to 24 negatives, rewound in a closet, mailed to JACK RABBIT and after what seemed forever, they “came back”, some good to keep, others solid black with a note that told you what went wrong.

Phonographs from the Latin phono, meaning sound or voice, captured your voice, like no others. Voice recognition is nothing new to recording artists. Our boy, ELvis, with a Rowan County granite tombstone, has sold over 210 million vinyls. The most records sold record goes to The Beatles at 265 million. Thats a lot of cranking on an upright victrola R.C.A. talking machine or a Rollergem organ. Kids today don’t even know what a single “45” record is. In 1931 “a disc with a spiral groove carrying recorded sound for phonograph reproduction included a device that automatically positions and plays successively each of a stack.” Record, literally to recall our Latin re-“again” and cordi-“heart”. Ask the mayor if she knows the difference between off and on the record.

For a really good show, we went to the motion picture show, first called movies in 1912, where they had no sound and the piano or theater organ player roomed at the Bell Block. The Old Meroney Opera House on North Main was replaced by Thomas Jefferson Meroney and his sister, with Meroney’s Theater on South Main. It was later called the Colonial, Grubb, State, Strand and Center. It closed as the Twin Cinemas. On either side was the Bijou and the Fotosho. Facing in the Empire block was the Palace. Near the square was the Victory and the Gem at the 110 N. Main. The Blackmer boys hung out at the Capitol where the Post is now. The Iris opened in 1914 and closed in 1928 on N. Main and just past the Ford Hotel was the Theato. For our “colored” patrons, the Rex on N. Lee, and the Mowery or Princess on E. Fisher and the Ritz on W. Horah. That would make a good rehabilitation. The Lyric lured movie-goers across from the station. Who knows when they invented buttered pop corn?

The Dreamland was in Fulton Heights park, and still is for residents there.

So, what do all these have in common, Ms. Little? They are art imitating life. Expressions of free will, saved in sepia for posterity from the ravages of quiet time, so we can one empty day relive, if only vicariously, those smiles, sounds, and actions; not held in place with glued on photo corners in black and white or in DOlby surround sound on the big screen, or in a named seat at a Piedmont Players sold out show. Silence your electronic devices, and converse with those you know in person, in front of you. Sing out in the bath tub or in a choir (not together), let your beautiful voice be heard, audition, get on the stage, speak your part, sit for a portrait with Cara or Mark, get a record of you time, add it to those you can’t see, or talk to, or ask anymore and add a layer of yours to the dusty, faded, box of those that came before you. Its all we have left.

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