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I have thirty minutes allotted to a subject I think you loyal people who have remained would like to use up probably an hour of time on. As you probably know, the 35 mm. three-dimensional cameras made in America are only two in number, and they are both made here in Milwaukee.
I am going to try to cover briefly what I think you brothers and sisters in the cemetery field would like to know about three-dimensional photography. I believe the first two cemeteries in the United States to use stereo slides were Wisconsin Memorial and our Arlington Cemetery. I acquired the twelfth camera made in February of 1947. I carried it with me to California for the sales conference. On my return from there, Howard Ott, my traveling companion, immediately went into the use of stereo, and we have used it at Arlington continuously since that time also.
Now I stole a little of Howard's thunder and brought his sales manager before you to briefly give you the highlights on the use of the stereo slide in selling. I also have my sales counselor here, and following their talk with you, the genius that created both of these three-dimensional cameras, Mr. Currie, will talk to you on the technical side, so if you are going to have any technical questions, anything scientific or otherwise pertaining to this type of photography, hold the questions for Mr. Currie, because heaven knows I couldn't answer anything technical.
One thing I want to mention, other than for the selling of your property, keep one thought in mind, and that is the advantage of a progress record. We all are continually improving our properties, and you will get great satisfaction in taking those before and after shots. That applies to the property, the office and other buildings, and you would be surprised if you are creating a. custom¬ built setting for some family, a deluxe lot or something of that type, if you take a shot of that spot before and then when it is landscaped or completed with whatever memorials, etc., go on it, take a further shot. I don't claim you should try to take sufficient shots so you can pass them out freely to the family, but I have in my case many shots of that type. The family have seen them, they know of their existence, and many times bring people out for the express purpose of seeing what the plot looked like before and what it looks like now.
At this time I call on Mr. Rice, sales manager of Wisconsin Memorial Park.
Mr. Rice! (APPLAUSE)
MR. RICE: Thank you, Mr. Pett. Ladies and gentlemen, we have been using this stereo reel for the most part to sell the interview. You know people don't like to talk to salesmen. I have been hearing that; we all know that, and I just heard Mr. Godfrey say when their salesman comes to the door, and we all do the same thing more or less, we say, "May I step in" and the gentleman lets us in. You know up here in Wisconsin from now on we are going to be wearing topcoats and overcoats. We've got our sales kit way in the back somewhere, so the minute we get inside that door the sales kit goes down, but this comes out fast. "Wisconsin Memorial off West Capital Drive," and he's looking at a picture. Now we are not there to sell a thing. We are there to show him pictures. The wives are out in the kitchen or they're watching television; we all run into that, of course, and until colored television comes out we have got a better program than Milton Berle, so we snap that in front of his eyes and he's looking at a picture and it's beautiful.
If you people haven't seen it, you're going to see the hottest thing in three¬ dimensional, so we show him about three of these and he's convinced that he never saw anything like that before. You should see it when children are around. Oh boy, they come up and say, "What's that," and enthusiastic! They have got all the enthusiasm that your sales force needs, so we show it to the children for a minute or two and then we say, "Now if you will just wait a minutes, you can look at all these pictures."
By that time the man is curious enough and he will call his wife in from the kitchen or away from the television set or whatever she may be doing, to come in to look at these slides. Just show two or three, enough to arouse his curiosity. They sit down relaxed and look at pictures. The sales kit is off on the side; haven't had it out yet, and you are in there pitching.
Now we used this for the last three years and I will guarantee it will get interviews. It will. Selling your interview is tough, we all know that, but it is fast, it is snappy, it is not cumbersome; it is adjusted for everybody's eyes - ¬nine out of ten. If a gentleman comes up to us who has glasses on, he can adjust it very simply, but for nine out of ten people we know what the proper adjust¬ment is. It just takes a second and you have something in front of him. Any questions about the interview?
MR. ARTHUR PETT: Calling on my associate, Mr. Walters! I am taking a little unfair advantage of Paul. My sales manager, who was with me when we started using stereos, was called to the Navy Thursday morning, so Paul will give you the experience he's had in the few short months that he has been with Arlington.
Now there is one thing I want to mention. When Howard Ott went into stereos, he engaged a professional photographer to come out and photograph the shots that he wished his men to carry, and if my memory serves me right, to equip his sales staff, cost Mr. Ott something like $1,200.
CHAIRMAN OTT: $2,200, $10 a picture.
MR. ARTHUR PETT: For you folks who have been using a 35 Kodachrome slide, you can project one frame of a stereo with that same machine. There are others that are coming into the market, stereo projectors. You can take your own pictures and eliminate that great expense.
At this time I am going to ask Paul Walters to say a few words. (APPLAUSE) MR. PAUL
WALTERS: It's very nice to be next to the last speaker here. I just got on the line. I think everything I intended to talk about during the conven¬tion everybody else brought a little of it up, so I am just about ruined here.
I came with Mr. Pett in February of this year and had never used a viewer before. I found that in February and March we do have quite a lot of snow and people are not enthused about coming out to the property, but everybody wants to see a good picture, especially at night, because that is when most of our selling is done. When you take the viewer into the home, when you press that button that brings everything to life; it won't sell the property for you, but it will do a lot of good and help you.
We all know there is nothing that will take the place of color. Everything has color in it, even the whitest rose that God ever made has a little blue in it; that is what makes it white. Life magazine, Life and Look magazines, let's put it that way, have proved that people like to look at pictures, although most of their pictures are in black and white, but if you ever notice on the back page some very large advertisers spent a great deal of money for that colored advertising because people will read it, they know.
We will go back to the artist of years ago, the famous artists, and even today there is one color that an artist never uses and that is black, because black is opaque; you cannot see through it. There is no depth to it, so therefore I can't see why when we move in a home and take black and white pictures along we expect them to be a success, but I can see why we should take colored pic¬tures of the property we are trying to sell. I would like to say this to you men who are carrying in your kits pictures of a dream; I would go to my boss and ask him for some natural photographs of the property he is trying to sell. If he says "No," take an artist's picture; go out with your kit prepared with an artificial picture dolled up to look beautiful; if a man couldn't give me a picture of the grounds, get away from him.
I think the oldest thing known to man is color. That is the reason people like it. I remember when I was a child and my mother had one of these stereoscopes, I think you call them, and I would see these beautiful pictures come to life. That is practically the same as what we have today, only it is up-to-date.
I know, gentlemen, if you have the opportunity, especially in the winter time, to take this viewer into the home, it will do forty per cent of your selling for you. Thank you! (APPLAUSE)
MR. ARTHUR PETT: At this time with a great deal of pleasure I am going to present to you the creator of our American three-dimensional camera, Mr. James Currie.
MR. JAMES CURRIE: I guess there is a tendency in every salesman to exaggerate a little bit. I am not the creator of all of the stereo cameras made in the United States, but I had a part in the design, and of course this one is my own product. One thing I think that everyone who has spoken so far has failed to think of and one that I am sure is of importance to you is this: That when a person has that viewer placed before his eyes and looks at the picture, he is instantly transported both in time and space-he is transported in mind to the position in which the camera stood at the time the picture was taken and back to that time, and nothing is lost except motion.
I make no excuses for that statement. All the dimensions are preserved except the theoretical fourth dimension, and we are not interested in that. Color is preserved, everything but motion. There is no question about that fact, so that you, as cemetery men, primarily interested in this case in sales, actually move your prospect from the position in which he stands or sits to the position in which the camera stood at the time of the taking of the picture. He loses nothing-size, time, color, everything is faithfully reproduced.
Three-dimensional cameras are not new. Stereo pictures were taken of the Civil War and of President Lincoln.
My primary purpose is to answer questions you may want to put. Has anyone a question?
QUESTION: Have they developed it to the point where you get satisfactory duplicates of your original films?
MR. JAMES CURRIE: I have heard that some people are making duplicates which are considered to be satisfactory, but as far as I am concerned, they are not very good. They are perfectly satisfactory if you have no originals to compare them with. If a salesman had a kit comprised entirely of duplicates and the prospect whom he was interviewing had never seen anything else, he would be amazed and delighted with the results. If you have them mixed, the result is not satisfactory because the originals are so far superior. Is there anything else?
QUESTION: Jim, there's one question that has been asked and that is the cost of a stereo slide broken down.
MR. JAMES CURRIE: Well now, that depends entirely on whether or not you do the work yourself. Of course, if you are caught with the strong desire to have the thing and it's so new that no one has it, as Mr. Ott says, it can be expensive, but if you are going to take your own pictures, it is quite inexpensive.
The 35 mm. Kodachrome Film that is used ordinarily can be bought in roll sizes which give sixteen stereos for $3.50. That will translate itself into something like $.22 for a picture. The finishing of the film itself is included in that price, returned to you from the Eastman laboratory finished in a strip. It is then necessary to mount them into slides. The mounting services that are standard around the country do that work. It's $1.04 for the entire roll, so it amounts to about $4.50 for about sixteen pictures.
The same mounting services charge about $.40 a slide for mounting in glass. That can be done (and it is not too difficult either), for approximately a nickel a slide-if you do it yourself. Now I would say that, particularly because most of your pictures would be taken out of doors, the average cost of the slide, if you do the work yourself, would not exceed $.35. If you take indoor pictures and use flash bulbs it depends on how many bulbs you use and how big they are and what they cost. Duplicates (those that are available) run about $.50 in paper and about $.90 a piece in glass.
Imagine the enthusiasm of the people who view them for the first time! Actually I think the salesmen using these kits will agree that sometimes the interest in the stereo pictures takes the prospect away from the actual purpose of the visit. I can imagine from my own experience that it would be wonderful to get in and show people exactly what you want them to see.
I think of a question that was raised to me which might be of some interest to you. Someone brought up the matter of why there were, two lenses in the camera and why they were spaced as they are, and how the distance is established. It is a simple thing; a little self-examination will remind you that there is a definite reason for your having two eyes. You don't see quite the same thing with each eye, and that is the reason for the two lenses in the stereo camera. One takes pictures to replace the mental image of the left eye, and the other one takes the picture which is intended to replace the picture of the other eye, and the reason for their placement (their normal distance apart) is simple. When we were designed (or whatever happened that brought us to our present state of being), our eyes were placed approximately two and a half inches from pupil to pupil, so we put the camera lenses the same distance apart, with the same effect.
Actually, the dimensions down to fractions is one of the conveniences of mechanical design.
Any further questions?
QUESTION: Aren't there some attachments that can be used on thirty-five cameras to do that same job?
MR. JAMES CURRIE: Yes, there are two, one called a Stereotach and another one, but they have this disadvantage. They are both beam splitters. In other words, they divide the regular picture in half, which is too small for practical use. Anything else?
MR. ARTHUR PETT: If not, Mr. Currie, will you show a couple of shots.
VOICE: Is it practical to use a wide angle lens with that?
MR. ARTHUR PETT: Yes, these are wide angle lenses. They are fifty degrees too. This camera that Mr. Currie is setting up is the new one that is coming out.
QUESTION: How much does it cost?
MR. ARTHUR PETT: $99.50 including the federal tax; that is the pick-up and take home price.
From the publication:
“1950-1951 Cemetery Yearbook”
NCA 21st Annual Meeting
Hotel Schroeder, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
October 18, 19, 20 and 21, 1950