There comes a time when an eBay automated search turns up a diamond in the rough – this has surely got to be one of those times. Brian and I both found this film on the auction site and we immediately began to ensure that we would be able to secure it. We accidentally bid against each other, but no harm done, we got the film.
There are a few things that make this particular film unique. First it was taken on October 14, 1982 – a mere 13 days after EPCOT Center opened its doors. Second it is film, not video. In 1983 Sony released the first home camcorder and the influx of grainy poorly lit home videos boomed from there. It is very rare to find any film footage of EPCOT, let alone this early in its life. I believe this footage was taken by an older couple, there is a woman who appears in the film a few times wearing a long pink skirt – on top of that, they have almost zero interest in Future World. I can only assume, and maybe a stereo-typical one, that this couple made the pilgrimage to EPCOT and by 1981 they weren’t about to spend any money on a “newfangled Super8 sound camera” and “fancy technology” wasn’t that appealing to them, hence they spent their time at World Showcase over what appears to be two days.
The film starts off back in the parking lot of EPCOT. We see the monorail swing by and we are quickly whisked away to the fountain. From there it is a tour of World Showcase. There are some very nice slow pans of the Lagoon and a great shot of the chrome windowed Friendship boats. Note how the small trees make some countries look like they are on top of others. The Germany pavilion, which was going to house a Rhine River Cruise attraction, shows its massive size more than it does today. The first part of the film ends with a sunset over Paris.
Remember when I said the photographer had almost zero interest in the future? Well this all changes at the 6:02 mark when Horizons comes into focus, under construction. You can see welders and steel workers on top of the structure – the familiar Horizons shape is very clear. From there we are back to World Showcase and the film ends with a fantastic shot of the monorail gliding into the station.