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[AV Media Matters] The Film Prayer

One of my graduate students came across the following item while
inventorying a collection.  I thought it might be amusing to post to
the list.  It appears to have come from the Barrus-Cook Film Service


I AM FILM, not steel; O user, have mercy.  I front dangers whenever I
travel the whirling wheels of mechanism.  Over the sprocket wheels, held
tight by idlers, I am forced by the motor's magic might.  If a careless
hand mistrheads me, I have no alternative but to go to my death.  If the
pull on the takeup reel is too violent, I am torn to shreds.  If dirt
collects in the aperture, my film of beauty is streaked and marred, and I
must face my beholders--a thing ashamed and bespoiled.  Please, if I ever
break, NEVER fasten me with pins which lacerate the fingers of my

I travel many miles in tin cans.  I am tossed on heavy trucks, sideways
and upside down.  Please see that my first few coils do not slip loose in
my shipping case and become bruised and wounded beyond power to heal.
Put me in my own can.  Scrap off all old labels on my shipping case so I
will not go astray.

Speed my on my way.  Others are waiting for me.  THE NEXT DAY IS THE LAST
DAY I SHOULD BE HELD.  Have a heart for the other fellow who is waiting,
and for my owner who will get the blame.

I am a delicate ribbon of film-misuse me and I disappoint thousands;
cherish me, and I delight and instruct the world.

Miriam Meislik,MLS
Associate Archivist
Photograph Curator
Archives of Industrial Society
University of Pittsburgh
Pittsburgh, PA 15260
(412) 244-7077  fax

Everyone has a photographic memory. Some just don't have film.
--Steven Wright

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