Monday, September 14, 2009

Flannelgraphs

What did evangelical kids do during congregational meetings before there was Veggietales? I had trouble remembering yesterday. There were other videos before the mid-90’s but I can’t recall them. Some rather serious cartoons, I’m thinking. Filmstrips, maybe. Stretching further back, there were always Arch books and variations on the coloring and let’s-all-sing methods. In the 50’s and 60’s there were flannelgraphs. Bringing in a movie was a pretty rare treat, and seldom as good a movie as we hoped.

I have long claimed that I hated flannelgraphs, but I don’t actually remember what I thought of them as a child. Perhaps I liked them fine, and only acquired my anti-flannelgraph snobbery as a teenager wanting better production values. When a fellow short-term missionary brought out a very elaborate set to show to the children of Romania, I was appalled. I hope I hid my contempt. I was certain that this was one more example of inflicting Romanian Christians with the outdated entertainments of American fundamentalists. Could Scripture Drill Teams and translations of “Arky Arky” be far behind?

Yet the younger Romanian kids loved flannelgraphs, and I was glad I had piped down. Did Catholics have flannelgraphs, or was that considered too Protestant? Eastern Orthodox flannelgraphs, with Saints Cyril and Methodius in icon form – that would be cool. Except it probably wan’t that interesting if you actually grew up with it.

5 comments:

Ellen said...

AVI,

I spent 16 years in Catholic schools, and I've never heard of Flannelgraphs. What are they?

Assistant Village Idiot said...

Here is one. According to Wikipedia, it does tend to be a Protestant, especially evangelical thing.

http://www.bettylukens.com/catalog_closeup.php?pid=30&imgid=340

It's more colorful than I remember.

Erin said...

I grew up with flannelgraphs, but also with some stellar precursors to Veggie Tales:

Circle Square
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LJHiXyQ07QE

and Superbook, an early attempt at Christian anime
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h2CScfyw4Jk

Assistant Village Idiot said...

Irritating. But no more irritating than say, The Wiggles.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZDHSbrPZH4A&feature=fvw

Jonathan said...

Superbook was epic fail