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In Search Of Ed’s First Camera

I have to give a shout out to my fellow Ed Wood marks from the Facebook fan group, especially to Joe Blevins, who first broached the topic, and to Al Doshna, Bob Blackburn, Josh Alan Friedman, Ugh Barrett, and James Brummel, who contributed.

Ed Wood, the legendary filmmaker who gave the world PLAN 9 FROM OUTER SPACE, got his start as a filmmaker with a camera his mother bought him for a birthday present, either when he was seventeen or when he was twelve, depending on the source.
According to the book NIGHTMARE OF ECSTACY by Rudolph Grey, on which the Tim Burton movie ED WOOD was based, Ed was 17, and the camera was a Kodak “City Special.” Only there was no such camera as a “City Special.” Kodak DID produce a camera called a CINE Special. It seems likely that there was some confabulation of the two, with the names being so similar and all. Ed’s first camera would have been a Kodak Cine Special. A (according to Wikipedia) “precision, versatile, spring-wound 16mm silent movie camera produced by Eastman Kodak from the 1930s to the 1960s, and intended for advanced consumers and industry professionals.” It featured “interchangeable lenses, variable shutter (for creating fades and dissolves effects), reflex focusing, quick-change film magazines, a chime warning when the spring is almost unwound, slots in front of the lens in which to insert masks of various shapes, manual cranking shafts (1 frame per turn and 8 frames per turn) and a two-lens turret.”

If I owned that camera, it would be for me the equivalent of owning the Holy Grail. Literally. I wonder whatever happened to it?

TheCheezman • August 6, 2018

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