Frank Rich wrote a column in yesterday’s New York Times on a 1956 home movie. The movie, called “Disneyland Dream“, was put together by Robbins Barstow, a Connecticut father who documented his family’s win of a Disneyland vacation, the result of a contest by the 3M Corp.
What distinguishes this home movie from the one you have in your videocam is that “Disneyland Dream” was admitted to the National Film Registry of the Library of Congress two years ago. That rare honor elevates Barstow’s filmmaking to a pantheon otherwise restricted mostly to Hollywood classics, from “Citizen Kane” to “Star Wars.”
According to the National Film Registry: The Barstow family films a memorable home movie of their trip to Disneyland. Robbins and Meg Barstow, along with their children Mary, David and Daniel were among 25 families who won a free trip to the newly opened Disneyland in Anaheim, Calif., as part of a “Scotch Brand Cellophane Tape” contest sponsored by 3M. Through vivid color and droll narration (“The landscape was very different from back home in Connecticut”), we see a fantastic historical snapshot of Hollywood, Beverly Hills, Catalina Island, Knott’s Berry Farm, Universal Studios and Disneyland in mid-1956. Home movies have assumed a rapidly increasing importance in American cultural studies as they provide a priceless and authentic record of time and place.
Robbins Barstow, who did the voiceover for his home films years later, died last month at the age of 91, but left behind a trove of family movies.
Here’s “Disneyland Dreams,” in four parts:
- Robbins Barstow, Home-Movie Maven, Dies at 91 (nytimes.com)