Raise your hand who else has daydreamt about travelling to the past with discreetly-camouflaged high-definition digital camera equipment. No such luck with this interesting footage made public today from the CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation)’s archives, but even so, there’s a whole lot to see here. In those days before Expo ’86 and the 2010 Winter Olympics brought the blight of cheap and greedy development, Vancouver was much smaller and less populous 51 years ago—more my kind of place than today’s, though certainly not without awful blight of its own (more CCs at that link). And the air in town would’ve been considerably dirtier and more toxic with all those emissions-uncontrolled cars and trucks burning leaded gasoline. No matter; everyone just filtered their air through cigarettes.
It’s a timelapse, a big series of still pictures assembled into a kind of cinematic flip-book, so although each image is of higher quality than a filmed-movie frame would be, the film is kind of jumpy and difficult to follow. Have the volume turned up; the 16mm film projector sound seems to help a little. Eyes past might’ve had an easier time with it, accustomed as they were to gleaning usable information from blurry, flickering, small black-and-white television sets. Re-watching the film at 0.25× speed undid most of the flip-book effect and made car spotting easier. CBC’s release is headlined “How Many Volkswagen Beetles Can You Spot?”, but I was more interested in counting Valiants, starting with the white ’60-’62 model at 0:17.
Oh, and that screwy word in the title of this post is French for “slideshow”. The French call a photographic slide a “diapositive”, pronounced “dee-ah-pose-ee-teev”, commonly shortened to “diapo”. Who the hell wants to sit through a boring ol’ slideshow when you could go see a diaporama instead?