Ed Driscoll

Learning To Fly--And Learning To Drive

Even as space aficionados are tracking NASA’s latest Space Shuttle mission via the World Wide Web, two clips making the rounds on the Intertubes today provide a unique snapshot of American life nearly a century ago. James Lileks links to a YouTube clip of a Harold Lloyd slapstick comedy from 1928. When viewed 81 years later, it’s revealed to be, as Lileks put it, “the height of Inadvertent Documentary” of New York in the 1920s–complete with an extended cameo by one of Manhattan’s favorite adopted sons.

Meanwhile, for something even older and more historic, how ’bout actual film of Wilbur Wright and his Flying Machine, complete with crosscuts to what has to be the first inflight film. Nearly 70 years before the Steadicam, somebody bolted a film camera to the Wright Brothers’ plane, as Wilber had at it–and the results are very much worth your time.