Big kids appreciating little movies -- "Celestial Navigations" explores the work of Al Jarnow


It was science disguised by fun, flashy animation, and people everywhere ate that stuff up like it was a bowl of chocolate-covered bran. Filmmaker Al Jarnow is a dude who managed to make learning fun on Sesame Street and far more intersting than the overbearing bird and crabby monster in a can. Most people had no idea who was creating the incredible shorts that appeared on that show, but if you were a kid or parented one in the past 50 years, you're bound to recognize his work. And now with an escavation of over 45 films, Celestial Navigations -- playing Thurs/22 at Red Vic Movie House -- brings Jarnow's magic back for some instant reminiscing.

Colors flashed, stop motion and time-lapse techniques mystified, and simple, beautiful cartoons turned every day objects and topics into a beautiful experiment gone right. Jarnow's films played for years and expanded minds in the wee morning hours prior to the school bell's ring and the punch of the time card. Jarnow educated through psychadelic hypnosis, the eyes of eager audiences glazed over while the fast-paced, brightly-colored animations whizzed across the television screen. I was an '80s tyke who rolled out of bed excited to watch Sesame Street's "cool" movies (and Kermit, of course) and when I found them years later on You Tube, the situation is nearly identical: bowl of cereal, blanket, couch and eyes glued to the flashing screen.

Celestial Navigations is the Numero Group's first foray into the world of cinema and they've collected, color corrected and remastered a flashy bunch of classic Jarnow. The film also includes a 30-minute documentary on Jarnow's creative process, which I'm hoping boils down his steps in a 3-2-1 Contact Style.


Celestial Navigations: The Short Films of Al Jarnow

Thurs/22, 7:15pm, 9:30pm, $6-9

Red Vic Movie House

1727 Haight, SF