In the summer of 1949, people of Markdale, Ontario walked down their street, only to encounter a man with an 8MM movie camera on a tripod. He probably talked to them a bit and ensured all he was doing was taking a movie of them and that they just had to be themselves.
     He spent the better part of a day and possibly night, in Centre Grey, capturing a dance at the Armory, men eating ice cream at a local diner, youths diving in slow motion into the community pond at Rotary Park, barbers cutting hair, workmen pouring cement, kids on bikes, automobiles and horses sharing the road and even the milkman making deliveries from a horse drawn cart.
     A few weeks later, posters and newspaper ads trumpeted the man's return to town. He set up a projector in the local hall and screened the movie, charging a small admission fee.
     This was only one of 88 different such shows for Reverend Roy Massecar in Southwestern Ontario. Its possible he made these films elsewhere and its entirely possible others had the same idea.
     Why not? South of the border, television was becoming 'the thing' and Americans couldn't get enough of it. After WWII, most small towns had a venue for screening movies, to feed the growing appetite for entertainment. Within 6 years, W. C. "Doc" Cruickshank would expand his popular Wingham radio operation to include a television service and more home movie equipment would find its way into the hands of the affluent. The simple and isolated tone to these films was clearly deceptive. We were changing and while the people in the films didn't know it yet, within 50 years their world would be almost unrecognizeable.
     The Massecar films are a time capsule where we can gauge how and where the change began. You can purchase a video of the Markdale film online at the UWO archive. I devote a page of this website to it at the following link: