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 I was certain that this was one more example of inflicting Romanian Christians with the outdated entertainments of American fundamentalists.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.