Episode 3 – Bad news… Good News

Last week I received a fantastic gift: Piasecki Aircraft Corporation gave me some archive material of the AAFSS program.

I had been expecting just documentation (later on that thought) but what turned up in the mail were some very unique looking film reels.


Thinking that they were merely some unique IBM design I contacted Deluxe Labs in Northvale NJ to setup a transfer. When I explained the strange casing and the 16mm film within their top technician was stumped; no one had ever seen the item I had. Intrigued by this mystery we set up a time to meet the following Friday…


That Friday was today. Deluxe Labs’ Mark B., the GM actually deserves the credit for solving just how to access the film within and  lead colorist Dave did some tests and it turns out that although the cartridge contains 16mm film, it actually has data- no images. Bummed I left knowing at least what it wasn’t. I was hoping that it was actual film of the AAFSS program development…

The good news is that after some serious Google searching I finally discovered that the cassette was a magnetic storage device made specifically for IBMs Selectric MT/ST typewriter system. It was released in the early 1960s and is credited with being the first word processor.  IBM discontinued support for it around 1983 so I’m not sure if there are any working units left… maybe a museum?

So basically they did provide me with documentation, it’s just unfortunate that I can’t read it at this time.

While this doesn’t directly affect Episode 3’s production, I was hoping to add whatever media was on the cartridges to the final edit.

Pre-production continues!

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