Indianapolis, IN - Events Local News Groups Contact
Vintage Films Get Second Chance
By Ethel Winslow / weeklyview.net
Jul 16, 2014

There are film buffs, and there Film Buffs. Falling squarely in the latter category, Eric Grayson, an Indianapolis-based film collector, historian, and preservationist, teaches film history, offers screenings of rare films (some of which he has found and preserved), and is, on occasion, called upon by major national institutions to offer his skills and vast knowledge of rare footage and film stars sometimes long forgotten.
It all started innocently enough. “As a kid, I used to stay up late and watch the Sammy Terry movies. I was just obsessed with the movies. Then we got a VCR and I started taping them, and then got a 60 mm projector, and then got into 15 and 35 mm projections,” Grayson recalls. “It’s really a mental disorder.”
If that’s the case, Grayson has been able to find hundreds of others who are just as crazy about old movies. He collects old films from a variety of sources, including dumpsters, buying from libraries that are closing, and getting them from other collectors. He lovingly restores them, makes copies, and distributes them to be shown around the world in a worldwide network of historic movie palaces. “I’m very picky about who gets to run my films, though.”Rocketship-X-M
Grayson brings his love of old films to Garfield Park on Vintage Movie Nights. This summer’s theme has been science fiction — the next screening will be of 1950 science-fiction film, Rocketship X-M, at Garfield Park Arts Center on July 12, at 8 p.m. For the admission price of $5, audiences get a color cartoon, and a chance to hear Grayson talk about his passion for film.
Grayson’s Vintage Movie Nights are an opportunity for him to show movies overlooked by others. “I don’t show the standards, like Casablanca and that kind of thing. I love finding new films. That’s so exciting to me. Even if they’re not very good movies, I still love it. There are movies that might not have been seen in 80 years and they’re up there again.” He said that when he ran the Marx Brothers films last year, he showed a few that hadn’t been seen in a long time. “I had people come up to me later who were Marx Brothers fans who had never seen some of these films. It was all new material for them.”
“I do this to rekindle a passion for film that’s been lost,” he notes. Online streaming of movies and television showings of a limited number of movies have lead people away from the shared community experience of going to the movies.
For the past several years, he has served as a consultant to the Library of Congress. Grayson consulted with that institution on its restoration of the 1951 Edgar Ulmer film, The Man from Planet X. “The Library of Congress had the original negative,” Grayson said. “It was messed up. It had been shot on a tight budget and was made up of different film stocks, whatever odds and ends of stock the director could get.” He added, “These film stocks were reacting with each other. It made the making of a new print nightmarish. They wanted to know what an older print looked like so they could refer to that to see how it used to look before the film began eating itself. I provided that.”
Grayson is currently working on the partial restoration of the movie serial King of the Kongo (1929). The grant is from the National Film Preservation Foundation, through Silent Cinema Presentations, Inc. Learn more by visiting www.filmpreservation.org/about/PR-2014-06-24.
It is painstaking work to restore badly damaged films, and it is sometimes hard to explain to people why he would spend hours working on a movie that wasn’t very good in the first place. “I get asked ‘Why bother with that?’ sometimes. But we have to go back to that whole ‘mental disorder’ thing. I’m just a sucker for old films.”
Grayson also has a great appreciation for current filmmaking. “I’m not against digital films at all,” he stresses. “But my mission is to keep this kind of film alive, and develop an appreciation for it.” He is a projectionist at the Heartland Film Festival in Indianapolis. “I am an electrical engineer, and have a background in film, so that works out.”
He also gets work transferring film footage. “I worked on the new documentary about Bobby Leonard for WFYI, transferring old home movies.” The documentary, Bobby “Slick Leonard: Heart of a Hoosier, will premiere at Bankers Life Fieldhouse July 29 at 6:30 p.m. (tickets available online at the Web site www.wfyi.org).
“I love the old movie processes. There’s nothing like the older films shown on the screen. Blu-Ray doesn’t look like that, give you those deep colors. It’s really beautiful. That’s why I put a lot of work into this.”

0.0 ·
0
Trending Today
Surviving Capitalist Depression
Michael Emero · 12,009 views today · We live in a toxic society filled with toxic people. Even the ones with the best hearts- including ourselves- have been raised in ignorance, with disinformation. Our examples...
Real Underground Kingdom That Has Existed for Millions of Years Went Unnoticed, Until Recently...
Kid Krunk · 10,725 views today · 28 Stunning Photos Of The World’s Largest Cave
"The Myth of Time" - Martin Luther King Jr.
3 min · 9,870 views today · Excerpt from MLK Jr.'s last sermon, "Remaining Awake Through a Great Revolution". Delivered at The National Cathedral on March 31, 1968 (4 days prior to his...
John Lennon's "Imagine," Made Into a Comic Strip
John Lennon. Art by Pablo Stanley · 8,161 views today · This is easily the best comic strip ever made.  Pabl
How a Lack of Touch Is Destroying Men
Mark Green · 7,999 views today · Why Men Need More Platonic Touch in their Lives
Hans Rosling Brilliantly Explains Complexity of Population and Resource Issues Using Simple Tools
3 min · 3,672 views today · Let me show you the world, says Swedish academic Han Rosling as he demonstrates the dynamics of population growth, child mortality and carbon dioxide emissions. The challenge...
The Price of Certainty
7 min · 2,837 views today · It’s alarming to see how polarized politics have become in the United States. The wider the gulf grows, the more people seem to be certain that the other side is wrong...
How Wolves Change Rivers
4 min · 1,955 views today · When wolves were reintroduced to Yellowstone National Park in the United States after being absent nearly 70 years, the most remarkable "trophic cascade" occurred. What is a...
Today I Rise: This Beautiful Short Film Is Like a Love Poem For Your Heart and Soul
4 min · 1,864 views today · "The world is missing what I am ready to give: My Wisdom, My Sweetness, My Love and My hunger for Peace." "Where are you? Where are you, little girl with broken wings but full...
A Hauntingly Beautiful Short Film About Life and Death
5 min · 1,673 views today · The Life of Death is a touching handdrawn animation about the day Death fell in love with Life.
How to Fire Your Boss: A Worker's Guide to Direct action
IWW · 1,534 views today · The indignity of working-for-a-living is well-known to anyone who ever has. Democracy, the great principle on which our society is supposedly founded, is thrown out the window...
What Makes Call-Out Culture So Toxic
Asam Ahmad · 1,481 views today · Call-out culture refers to the tendency among progressives, radicals, activists, and community organizers to publicly name instances or patterns of oppressive behaviour and...
True Justice Should Have Compassion in It
Thich Nhat Hanh · 1,434 views today · I believe that true justice should have compassion in it. When someone does something harmful, destructive, the destruction is done not only to the person who is the victim...
What It Really Means to Hold Space for Someone
Heather Plett · 1,227 views today · How to be there for the people who need you most
Touch Isolation: How Homophobia Has Robbed All Men Of Touch
Mark Greene · 723 views today · Homophobic prohibitions against male touch are hurting straight men as well.
NRA's Trump Card - Inside Trump's Era of Guns
15 min · 645 views today · Deregulating silencers, broadening concealed carry and undercutting state gun laws are just a few likely changes after the National Rifle Association supported President Trump...
Growing Huge Amounts of Food on 1/2 an Acre - Urban Abundance
5 min · 487 views today · In the small town of Oxford, Kane and Fiona Hogan have transformed their urban 1/2-acre property into abundant veggie gardens. Their business Urban Gardener aims to build...
Meet the Earthship
7 min · 485 views today · Outside of Taos, New Mexico, you'll find a community of people living in off-grid homes made of garbage. The homes are called Earthships and were invented by Michael Reynolds...
Runaway Inequality Elected Trump. Here's How It Can Help Defeat Him
Les Leopold · 461 views today · One of the best forms of resistance will be our demand for a more equitable and humane economy
The Importance of Empathy
3 min · 414 views today · With an increasingly polarized and divided world, we need empathy more than ever before. Too often we are talking at each other, unable to listen and jumping to entirely wrong...
Load More
What's Next
Like us on Facebook?
Vintage Films Get Second Chance