Welcome to the wonderful world of 3-D!

By Mike Rainone

I get quite a chuckle about all the fuss and frenzy that is being made about spectacular 3-dimensional movies like Avatar, Alice in Wonderland, and all the rest. They are also advertising fancy new 3-D television sets for around $3000, that include a free supply of battery operated glasses and a promise that this new concept of programming will soon be zooming into and all around our living rooms in the very near future!

For those of us that are seniors, we will surely remember back then when 3-D comics, storybooks and movies were all the rage when we were kids. What a thrill it was to head down to the good old Capital/Empress Theatre in Ponoka, put on a pair of those multi-colored glasses and watch all our current macho heroes jump right out at us from the big screen. The girls usually screamed during all the action, but that was an excuse to cuddle, and if you took off your glasses everything turned blurry and boring!

Would you believe that the unique concept of 3-D entertainment is really over 100 years old? In jolly old England in 1890, an inventor played two films together side by side and invited viewers to look through a stereoscope and see one subject on the screen. The first 3-reel film was shown to a bunch of ‘stuffed shirts’ at the Astor Theatre in New York in 1915, and the earliest confirmed initial 3-D colour motion picture was ‘The Power of Love’, featured in Los Angeles in 1922. An Audioscopiks film introduced the first 3-D murder mystery in 1941, then 1952 marked the beginning of the “Golden Era of 3-D!” Early problems with this new phenomena included having to run 6000 feet of film through the projectors for an hour, followed by a lengthy intermission for popcorn, visiting, and rewinding all the film.

Some of the early classic 3-D films were the ‘House of Wax’ and ‘Son of Sin-Bad’, who was a real cool magic dude with curled up slippers and a big sword.

The Walt Disney Studios waded into the 3-D zone in 1953 with comics, cartoons and movies, then added a whole lot more special effects, and have never stopped. If you have had the pleasure of taking your family to Disneyland, one of the most memorable experiences is sitting in those huge glitzy 3-D, Imax, or revolving theatres and watching the world surround you!

Once you have put on your glasses you can reach out and touch the characters, while your chair rocks with the wild music, bugs crawl across your feet, and a big wave may even splash you a little.

Now, I guess, a new era of 3-D is upon us, and what will happen next to jolt, tease, and thrill our fun fantasies? I see where they offered the first NHL hockey game in 3-D last week at Madison Square Gardens, and it likely won’t be long before we have 3-D shopping, where the hot items will jump out at the weary customers and encourage them to buy-buy-buy, and pay three times as much later.

If I may be allowed to have a little fun, here are a few of my humble observations of what might happen in our exciting 3-D futures.

*The afternoon ‘coffee set’ will now gather in living rooms around the neighbourhood, put on their favourite colored goggles, and watch the sizzle and smut of the soap operas or a juicy movie. We may even be able to cry a little without anyone noticing, and will pause only at the commercial to munch junk food and catch up on the local current events. Cardinal rule! Always remember to take off your 3-D glasses when going to the bathroom or before driving home after the show!

*3-D may become a windfall or a nightmare for Optometrists? Will we suffer from 3-D eyestrain, will our eyes grow dim with over-exposure, and who will be the first to invent a fancy 3-D clip on gizmo to match our regular specks?

*Will 3-D ever invade the Internet? I hope not, because I have enough trouble figuring out all the instructions now in one form! Is it true that once you put on your 3-D glasses everything looks more magnificent than they already are? The perfect reasons to buy your honey roses, a small box of chocolates, or even better, take her to the show!

Thoughts of the day!

*A married man should forget his mistakes. After all, there’s no use in two people remembering the same thing!

*A successful man is one who makes more money than his wife can spend. A successful woman is one who can find such a man!

Please celebrate the true meaning of Easter with family and friends, and have a great week, all of you!!