In Memoriam - Kent Blanchard 1954-2018
This forum is a unique place and is home to some great coverage of various forms of media, but at it’s core we here at the Ark are a family organization: particularly the Blanchard family – and we would be remiss to not acknowledge the passing of our Uncle Kent Blanchard.
Kent wasn’t the first person you’d except to be delving into genre films or television like we cover here on this site, but he certainly played a role in the foundations of this website. Whether he knew it or not, Kent was directly responsible for my fascination with filmmaking as an art form.
In the early and mid-eighties, we had yet to purchase a VHS player and were still running an all Beta-Max video library that was primarily recorded off of HBO. There was better gear to be had, but on a single salary with two children: my father couldn’t throw down on the topmost top of the line VCR. Kent didn’t have the added expense of children so he was able to purchase slightly cooler tech – and that included a VCR with functionality my father’s simply didn’t have: the lightning in the bottle that we know today as frame by frame advance.
As much a fan of Star Wars as anyone, Kent watched televised behind the scene specials and read articles about the fantastic film of George Lucas – but when he got his VCR he had a brilliant idea that he just had to share with his young nephew: he would go through the lightsaber fight between Obi-Wan and Darth Vader to try to figure out how it was animated. It took forever to go through each hand animated frame and we were able to see that not every frame featured a fully animated lightsaber, some just had the original on-set stunt saber. Kent thought it was neat, my Dad thought it was cool, but I was from that moment hooked on the idea that something much bigger was happening in the making of a film and I was desperately interested in finding out what that big machinery of film making really was.
Without that silly idea of showing off the features of his VCR to his young nephew, I might never have fallen as deeply in love with film as I did. Thanks Uncle Kent, for that and for so much more. Your support and encouragement over the years meant the world.