Along This Lonely Road Cereal Box Record Video
A Nostalgic Halloween Video
Sugar cereals often come with a toy, game, or prize of some kind, to entice children and adults alike to buy them. Back in the 1970s some of them had a really cool prize, not inside, but on the back of the box. They were records. You had to cut them off the box and cut the packaging around them so they fit on your record player.
The sound quality of cereal box records was usually terrible and the stories or music were often, well, a bit lame. But they were novel and many children of the seventies loved them.
My partner creates videos for use on the local public access station, GRTV, and he was trying to think of something kind of silly for kids for Halloween. So he chose to make a Halloween video using a Halloween cereal box record from his childhood for the audio. You can see the video we made together below.
Watch the Video, Along this Lonely Road
An Interview with Rich T Anderson
On making the video:
Me: How did you find the audio for this video?
Rich T Anderson: In the 1970s Post Cereals put records on the back of some of their cereal boxes. I was able to collect two records off the back of Alpha-Bits cereal. One of them was a story of alien invasion, which was indicated by a transmission coming through on "Channel 1" of the television. As I knew and the voice of the old woman in the record indicated, "There is no channel one."
I have since lost this record. I still have the second one. This one didn't really tell a story. It was more the set up of a scene, where perhaps a story may take place. Several years ago I took this record and recorded it into my computer. It's been hanging out in my mp3 collection, and I have listened to it from time to time.
Me: What made you choose this particular cereal box record to make a video?
Rich: A few months ago I was listening in my car and pretty much speaking along with it. I was making expressions as I narrated along with the recording. I thought I should make a video of me lip syncing the narration with some spooky images. I wanted to mix silly video effects with "spooky" images that would remind viewers of Halloween.
Me: How did you prepare to shoot the video?
Rich: I had my partner, Jen, (also known as Kylyssa) cover my face with creepy, zombie-like make-up for the recording, and we set up black sheets for the background, so I could filter it out. This was comical because the only black sheets we have are fitted.
Me: What is the video like?
Rich: The video starts off with an image of the record itself. Then there are ghosts, flying glow sticks, and my parents' house covered in Halloween decorations. Jen created lightning animation. Pumpkins and jack-o-lanterns float amid swirling video effects of bizarre photos manipulated beyond recognition. The end result is a fun, family friendly, kitsch-filled video for all ages.
I asked Rich to answer a few questions about this cereal box record video and told him to answer them as if no one knows me. So if his answers seem awkward because he refers to me as Jen, rather than as "you," that is the reason.
While sorting through some old things at his mom's house, Mr. Anderson recently found his original copy of this record.
- Cereal Box 45's: Ghost Story Edition
Learn more about cereal box records.
The Lightning Bolt Animation
The lightning animation in this video was the first animation I've done, not counting flip book cartoons. I drew the clouds and lightning in soft pastels on black paper, a little bit at a time, erasing some bits and adding more of the lightning strike image as I went, scanning it into my computer with each tiny change. I scanned the paper thirty-three times before I was done. Then I went into PhotoShop and edited each image to bring out the brightness of the lightning and to line up each frame exactly the same. I had marked the paper on the back and put tape markers on the scanner to line things up the same for each scan but the scans didn't quite line up perfectly on their own. I also blended adjoining images to create in-between images
Then I handed the images over to Rich to put into one of the Community Media Center's video editing laptops and he did the rest. You can see the lightning animation at around 1:57 on the video.