Movieguide® on the Cutting Edge

Screenshot from Movieguide®’s YouTube

Movieguide® on the Cutting Edge

By David Outten

The Internet did not start with a bang and provide HD movie downloads in seconds. Movieguide® began using the Internet from the very early days. Today’s teenagers have no concept of how slow the internet was. 

In 1987, I met Ted and Lili Baehr. Ted used to be able to prescreen movies weeks before they came out. He would create a newsletter using a typewriter, have copies made and mail them. He had a radio show of his own, and he would record reviews, have copies made on cassette tapes and mail them to other stations who agreed to hold the reviews until release date.

I met Ted because I produced a Christian newspaper in Atlanta and ran his reviews. I had a MacPlus computer and a Lazerwriter printer. I began to typeset Movieguide®, and it gradually transformed from a newsletter into a magazine. Ted used to send me the text for the magazine by modem. There were no cell phones. We would have a set time to transfer files and would connect our home phone lines to modems. When you indicated who you were attempting to reach someone else’s modem, your computer would send connection messages you could hear. They sounded like two cats having a fight on a chalkboard. Once connected the cat fight would end and a text file would be transferred. While a few pages of text transferred you could go have dinner and come back.

Next, CompuServe came along and made the transfers easier. In fact, each of us could upload to CompuServe, and then download on our own schedule.

In the early to 1990s, the World Wide Web came into existence. Movieguide® was an early adapter, but the first stages of the World Wide Web looked much like newsletters. If a page included any images, it would load so slowly readers would get frustrated and go elsewhere. For all its shortcomings, it was still remarkable. It really was like having a whole library on your computer. 

Ted and Lili moved to California, and, thanks to the Internet, I could create magazines for them without leaving Atlanta. 

Now, the Internet and the World Wide Web enable Movieguide® to provide so much more information in a much more timely fashion. They can even to so in high-definition video. There is a younger generation doing a fantastic job. That generation doesn’t even know what life was like before the World Wide Web.

Having been through such a huge transformation of Movieguide® (and the world), I can’t help wondering what’s next. This I do know: before I was born great stories were told in great novels and great movies (some in black and white). In the future, regardless of the technology, people will still love great stories. 

My dear friend Ted Baehr has been promoting the production of great movies since the early eighties — before I even met him. I’ve worked on many of Ted’s slide presentations for classes and for the Annual Report to the Industry, and his message has always been the same, “Great movies are great stories, well told, that have a positive worldview and are spiritually uplifting.” 

Imagine the day when you can choose a movie you want to have a part. Submit your own images and voice, and you can play the part of your choice in the movie. Imagine being able to write a script, choose some digital characters and locations and have your computer make your movie. Don’t expect the quality level of professionals, but it could be fun.

Imagine Movieguide® offering uplifting stories where you can star. Imagine the entertainment industry being transformed by people choosing great movies (as defined by Ted) and rejecting all movies laced with woke propaganda. 

I believe a time is coming where spiritually uplifting movies will top the box office and home entertainment charts, and my friends Ted and Lili (who has gone to Heaven to be with Jesus Christ) will have played a leading role in the story. 

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