Walkabout: Jeff Walker March 1st, 2016

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Larry Hurd-ling barriers to the past

Walkabout_columnYou can’t go home again, wrote novelist Thomas Wolfe. But Leasider Larry Hurd proves him wrong.

He grew up mostly at 54 Fleming Cres. and a few years ago installed himself in an upper-level apartment at 1611 Bayview Ave. a few doors north of the Shoppers Drug Mart.

In between the Fleming Crescent years and his Bayview present there’s been a lot of living. Now pushing 60, the creative director (and owner) of Manic Media has set a pretty manic pace.

In the media business from the get-go, Larry’s been all over the map from Barrie to Texas — his first decade out of Seneca College working for Channel 11 in Hamilton and then CTV.

He even took a few years break from media madness as the owner-operator of Grant’s on the Harbour, a restaurant up Collingwood way. Family-wise there were marriages that produced sons Drew and Morgan, now in their 20s.

For everyone, a full life means life full of memories and a lot of those memories have been recorded in forms long outdated by the digital age. If the house is burning down, God forbid, those memories are what fleeing residents will grab on the way out — the photo albums, ancient super-8 reels, camcorder cartridges and the like — and to heck with the stereo system.

Larry’s master passion is to gather up such memories, say, a family’s home movies, and transfer them onto DVDs or convert them into digital files — but not before he’s turned those family memories into a virtual A&E biography. Raising the stakes to that level requires that Larry deploy his decades of film-editing experience.

“I like to think I’m the Apple Computers of this game,” he smiles. The final product typically includes a voice-over narration he has solicited from family members and a music soundtrack geared to the time-period of any given footage.

Larry cites another angle on the family bio: A well-to-do owner of a large mid-town residence had just sold the house knowing it would be torn down by the new owner. Alas, so many memories in every room. He was determined to preserve the house and its memories the only way he could, so he gave Larry a call. Larry had the family members, collectively and singly, walk him through a guided tour of every room as he filmed away, the memories spilling out then and later.

Once Larry had assembled the whole production and the family had seen it, there were tears. “It’s a release. It’s a good thing. I take great pride in that,” remarks Larry, misting over just a bit. For Larry this is also a chronicling of local history, at a very personal level.

Manic Media has the tiniest “shop-window” on the street, but it’s a by-appointment-only operation, not a shop at all.

And, perhaps most importantly, this being Bayview, there is parking for clients behind the building off the laneway.

He can be reached at 416-623-9479 or online at manicmedia.ca.