Sunday, June 20, 2010

The Theme Parks Took the Kodachrome Away

Well, actually, Kodak took the Kodachrome away -- the company doesn't make that film anymore. But that's not my point.

Yesterday, Amy and I spent a delightful afternoon behind the Orange curtain. We went to our grand-niece's 6th birthday party (which included some Wii Sports Resort playing for the adults). Since the Southern California Quilter's Run is on, Amy then visited three Anaheim - Garden Grove area quilting stores in quick sucession. Quilting stores generally have a spouse-depository area to park whichever spouse is not into quilting, and I brought my Nook along, so I passed the time polishing off the pilot script to "The Glades" (smart marketing move, to give away the script as a free ebook to promote the upcoming TV series) and worked on Patricia Briggs's first Mercy Thompson story.

We finished up our Orange-tinged afternoon by visiting the chicken restaurant at Knotts Berry Farm (, where the fried chicken is just as good as advertised. Afterward, we hit the souvenir shops. When I was a kid, the souvenir shops at theme parks were as much fun as the rides. They don't hold quite the same wonder to an adult, but I did find the two we visited impressive. The first was Snoopy Headquarters, which featured a dazzling array of Peanuts collectibles -- comparable to the collection I saw at the Snoopy Town store in Yokohama, Japan, but with different merchandise. (Where else can you get stuffed animals not only of Snoopy, but also of his brothers -- not to mention the rarely-seen Franklin?) The other was a general gift store that had collectibles that spanned pop culture -- Elvis, Disney, Harley-Davidson, Lucy, Hello Kitty, Harry Potter, etc. We didn't buy anything there, but the browsing alone could consume hours.

Which brings me back to the title of this post. One thing that was ubiquitous at the park souvenir shops I visited as a kid, but was absent at the Knotts stores: Film. Just a few years ago, you could get all sorts of still and movie film at theme parks (although always with a single brand, Kodak or Fuji, throughout the park). Now the Kodak displays at both stores we visited had a couple of single-use cameras, some AA batteries, and nothing else. I wonder how much damage the prevalence of cellphone and other digital cameras has done to the bottom line for souvenir shops (and film companies).

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