On Tour: Wilmington, DE

24 Feb

February 15, 2017 | HILLEMAN: A Perilous Quest to Save the World’s Children | Wilmington, DE

It brings to mind another such piece of forgotten technology: the iron lung.  That noble invention that once sustained young lives as they struggled to overcome the ravages of poliovirus…

The Queen Theater in Wilmington, Delaware dates back to the late 1700s when it began as a Hotel.  It would take more than a century to transform the building into a 2,000-seat theater, showing movies from huge 35mm spools of film.  As I step off the elevator I find myself literally faced with a monstrous projector, taller than me.  It’s the kind of thing that grabs you by the curiosity and forces you to consider just how far we’ve come.

photo-judy-hickman

Photo: Judy Hickman

You can’t help but be in awe of its shear size and fleeting purpose, and yet you realize it will never again serve the purpose for which it was built.  Not because it has been replaced by a better version of itself, but because the reason for its existence has been eliminated.  With the disappearance of film, the machine has been rendered unnecessary, utterly obsolete.

photo-cdc

Photo: CDC/GHO/Mary Hiplertshauser

It brings to mind another such piece of forgotten technology: the iron lung.  That noble invention that once sustained young lives as they struggled to overcome the ravages of poliovirus, today occupies a similar corner in the halls of our oldest hospitals, reminding us of a scourge that has all but been eliminated.  As 2017 begins, we stand on the verge of eradication of polio, which would make it the second killer eliminated through vaccination.  Truly amazing just how far we’ve come…!

Post provided by On Screen/In Person touring filmmaker, Donald Mitchell

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