It was 1912


I think we can all agree that the film “Choosing Wall-paper” sounds utterly enthralling.  Kinemacolor was quite generously called colour film although it tended to be a bit red and green in comparison to what we see now.  It really arrived in Wellington with a big splash when it showed us the Durbar in Delhi in colour.

I give you the Durbar:



Kinemacolor was jolly exciting at the time, but now I find it a bit sad to look at those images.  Errors showed me another film from the banks of the River Nile made in 1911.  Much of it is unremarkable I suppose, but the images of the children linger.

This child stares at me from a lost time and place where the heat, and the baby’s hand on the shoulder, and the strange machine pointing at him were all real.  Once.  One hundred years ago.  What did life have in store for them, those children, before it was done with them?

It is not unlike watching ghosts.  Perhaps appropriately.  The chap who invented the Kinemacolor process was one George Smith who began life helping fraudsters dupe the unsuspecting into believing in the powers of the supernatural.

All of this connects with the Durbar at Delhi:

Whether Daisy sneezed or not was not followed up by the reporters of the Post.  No elephants are mentioned in Brennan’s Circus, but if Kinemacolor could not divert you in 1912 perhaps a little live entertainment could?

Incredibly, Prince Charles, the educated orag-utan, is still alive and well and living in England.

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I wrote a book called Kaitiaki o te Pō