Thursday, September 17, 2009

Adventures With Acme, Part 1

Readers with nothing better to do than to frequent this blog will be aware that recently I have eschewed digital photography in favor of film. Well, I really haven't given up on digital photography all together.I just wanted to use the word "eschewed." One thing is sure--I have become a regular customer at Gene's Camera Store, the only local place I know of that sells and processes 120 film.

My current arsenal of film cameras includes a Kodak Duaflex III twin lens reflex camera, and two toy cameras: a Holga 120CFN and an Acme W20. That's right--there really was a camera with the brand name Acme, made in Hong Kong. I picked it up on eBay. I read with amusement the description offered by the seller:
You are bidding on a Vintage Acme Camera with original box, model No. W20. Takes 16 color or black and white photos with Kodak 120 roll film. The camera looks like it's in great condition, never used, but I don't know if it works. The box is in good condition and shows some wear.
It was pretty obvious from the pictures accompanying the listing that the camera's condition was hardly "great...never used." Note, among other signs of wear and tear in the picture below, how the label around the lens is askew. There! I've done it! I used "eschew" and "askew" in the same post!

Despite the appearance of the camera, with an opening bid of $4.99, I couldn't resist. My winning bid, the solitary bid after some other adventuresome soul opened with the minimum $4.99, was $6.83, a dollar less than the shipping charges. So for a grand total of $14.66, I was the proud owner of a vintage plastic camera.

The brand name Acme conjures up images of Road Runner cartoons, and the outlandish devices that Wile E. Coyote ordered to capture the Road Runner.

The Acme Catalog by Charles Carney, published by Chronicle Books.

From the Wikipedia article, Wile E. Coyote and Road Runner, with italics added by me:
Wile E. Coyote often obtains complex and ludicrous devices from a mail-order company, the fictitious Acme Corporation, which he hopes will help him catch the Road Runner. The devices invariably fail in improbable and spectacular ways. Whether this is result of operator error or faulty merchandise is debatable. The coyote usually ends up burnt to a crisp, squashed flat, or at the bottom of a canyon (some shorts show him suffering a combination of these fates).
Thus, gentle readers, ends Part One of our cautionary tale. In Part Two, I will publish some photographs obtained before, during and after the Acme W20 failed in improbable and spectacular ways, along with descriptions of my improbable and far from spectacular repairs.


bettyl said...

I have to admit that I thought of poor Wiley as soon as I read the word "Acme"! I will be interested to see the sort of photos you get with your Acme!

Julie said...

ooops ... Read Part II first and made the pedestrian comments about Road Runner, then went looking for Part I. ... *blush* ... predictable comes to mind.

Askew and eschew is an kookie achievement that I admire.