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Makin’ Memories, 1974 Style

Way back in the day, before human ingenuity blessed us with the miracle of digital photography, you actually had to think before you took a picture. Why, in my day we couldn’t just cast around taking hundreds of pictures willy-nilly with our cameras and iPhones and hula-hoops and dungarees; we had to stop, analyze the situation, and make sure we were getting the best possible photo for our money. Yes, it’s true – we had to pay for every single picture we took, and every stray thumb in the lens or backlit silhouette of Aunt Debbie was hard-earned money down the drain. And often you wouldn’t know your pictures were terrible until weeks later when they came back from the photomat – stupid 70s people!

But thanks to former Disney sponsor GAF, those avocado loving, AMC Pacer driving victims of stagflation could pick up a few handy tips to maximize their film budget and keep the folks back home entertained. We’ve already talked about my favorite tip from this list, but there are many other wise words here – even for all you kids today from the digital generation!

GAF Walt Disney World photo tips, 1974“Outstanding pictures don’t just happen … they are planned.”

OK. Steady camera… watch the focus… thumb out of the way… Good to go. Thank heavens I have plenty of fresh tungsten film!

GAF Walt Disney World photo tips, 1974“Family pictures are important, but a few go a long way.”

Here, of course, we learn that it’s good to have your family recognizable in photos – but not too many. Also, we can see that they used to sell sweet his-and-hers child ponchos at the Magic Kingdom. Nothing said Disney in the 1970s more than mouse ears and a pink sarape, that’s for sure! Maybe they had been to the Pueblo Room at the Contemporary?

Also notice the lack of a canopy over the teacups.

GAF also kindly gave us some tips for home movies – pan slowly, zoom sparingly, and always wind your motor. All good advice, even today. I laughed out loud at the highlighted rule that a scene should last a minimum of five full seconds to be enjoyed and understood. Maybe I can slip this guide to the folks that make the mail-order Disney Parks promo videos or that produce the Christmas Parade – I think they’ve accidentally misread it as five picoseconds per edit. And NEVER ZOOM AND PAN AT THE SAME TIME! I’m sending that one to Michael Bay.

And it would take 100,000 flashbulbs to light Cinderella’s Castle at night, so don’t even try. Is it me, or is this guide a little snippy? “Fifteen different shots of the Cinderella Castle are fine for a ‘castle picture collection'” – what a burn! Stupid tourists with your memories!

So take these tips to heart, shutterbugs. And the next time you’re in the Kingdom don’t forget these valuable tips – or GAF will come to your house and mock you to your face!

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5 comments to Makin’ Memories, 1974 Style

  • Another Voice

    You have never had to work crowd control at night and been painfully blinded be stupid tourists taking FLASH pictures of FIREWORKS!!!! I still have retina burns.

  • Haha don’t mistake me – I appreciate the real-world need to condescend to certain guests. The flash pictures of fireworks are ubiquitous, but my favorite are the flash pictures of the tanks at The Living Seas.

    PS. I’m kind of embarrassed that it took an IM from my dad to remind me that I DID do crowd control for IllumiNations once upon a time… although flash photos were the least of my worries as I constantly battled with hostile and belligerent guests to fend them off from invading the roped-off wheelchair viewing area.

  • android.dreamer

    I wonder, in that situation, if it would be legal to yell “FIRE!!” in a crowd.

  • Another Voice

    Yes, it’s the “I brought my kid all the way from Mule Spit, South Dakota just to see and so I’m entitled to be rude to everyone else here!!!!” rant. It’s then quickly followed by the “you’ve ruined or vacation” guilt trip and the “My cousin’s fourth nephew’s roomate’s sister knew someone in the College program so I’m going to complain to the very top!”.

    And, back to topic, in the bell bottom days of WDW, I’ve heard that Disney did a study that indicated 3%-5% of all non-professional pictures taken were taken inside a Disney theme park. Cinderella Castle was the most photographed object on Earth, followed by Sleeping Beauty castle and Spaceship Earth.

    Besides flash pictures of movies, my favorite these days are people taken video of their family standing motionless against a wall, building or other unmoving feature.

  • android.dreamer

    As for movies, I can’t stand the shaky cams during the rides. I do like the typical pictures of family members constantly getting scared. I especially like the pics where people “flash” the camera on splash mountain. I think they now have a system so those exposed pics don’t show up on the monitors anymore? It wasn’t in Disney, but there was a great picture on the XKCD blog of two people playing chess while on a rollercoaster.

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