S. J. Perelman
No trip of the scope of ours, naturally, would have been complete without a motion-picture record, and Hirschfeld, an ardent cameraman, had exposed over four thousand feet of sixteen-millimeter film on the journey. On a brisk autumn evening in November, a select audience of two or three dozen friends crowded into my living room to witness the results. The party buzzed with anticipation; it was generally admitted that by all existing standards, this bade fair to be the outstanding travel picture of the decade. And in many respects it was.

Though the greater part of it was upside down, backward, and out of focus, it had moments of breath-taking beauty --- the traffic on Wilshire Boulevard in Los Angeles, the traffic on Hornby Road in Bombay, and the traffic in Leicester Square in London. In between were illimitable miles of shoreline in Siam and countless shots of monkeys picking fleas out of each other, interspersed here and there with gaudy sunsets. Unluckily for my commentary, I swallowed a poisoned highball halfway through it and confused many of the locales, a mischance that led to protracted bickering between the projectionist and myself.

The audience tactfully muffled our squabble by yawning as loudly as it could, and everybody agreed that you would have to get up pretty early in the morning to find a more piquant film. Most of them were willing to try, nevertheless, and, since it was already way past nine o'clock, hurriedly took their leave. To show what degree of wanderlust the travelogue inspired, not a single one of those who saw it on that occasion was available for a second showing. They had all left town within forty-eight hours, and I can only assume they must have set forth immediately for the romantic places we had visited.

--- from Westward Ha!
© 1998, Burford Books

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