: English :

Hello! We are the Slideshow twins and really enjoy showing stories!

  • pohadkyprodeti.cz (fairy tales for children) is an online catalogue of Czech and Slovak slideshows and filmstrips produced in the 1940s to 1980s
  • In addition to fairy tales, some feature cartoons with an instructional quality
  • Their content is the sign of the times – but without propaganda from the socialist era
  • This resource is undergoing continual development as the first part of the Diafilm.cz project

About the collection

The catalogue is designed to be a database of Czech and Slovak filmstrips and slideshow stories produced in the 1940s to 1980s. Although they are mostly fairy tales, you can still find hand-drawn, occasionally photographed, stories there that feature an instructional element for children. Their content has not been altered, except for the addition of translations, and reflects the times in which they were made, which includes the era of socialism. To a limited extent, we also highlight professional and technical filmstrips and slideshow films. The collection additionally includes children’s projectors, of which some are Czech in origin, whilst the remainder are the result of foreign manufacture.

Fairy tale catalogue

This is structured as follows:

  • By type (slideshow story, filmstrip)
  • By producer:  Diafilm Prague-Bratislava-Olomouc [also labelled as: Filmove laboratore (studio) Barrandov, Kratky film Prague, Diacolor, CS statni film), MU (Moravska ustredna Brno), KSM (Komunalne sluzby mesta Bratislava), Diababy (Prirodovedecke laboratore Brno), Mofis (Moravske filmove studio) and Diakolor Pavla
  • By the illustrator of the pictures
  • By the author of the text
  • By the creator of the artwork

Looking back plus some figures

  • January 2007 – The collection was established based on 50 items; experimenting with digitalisation
  • January 2008 – 350 fairy tales collected, 30% scanned
  • January 2009 – 450 items, 65% scanned
  • Autumn 2009 – New site launched featuring 550 items, 95% scanned; a total of 750 recordings approximately, Slovak texts translated
  • Spring 2010 – 700 items (inc. instructional filmstrip cartoons), 90% scanned, totalling 850 recordings; almost all the texts transcribed, quality improved and bugs fixed
  • February 2011 – The number of recordings exceeds 900; the number of fairy tales in the collection is approximately 800 items

Slideshow films and screenings in the Czech nations

There exists a very long tradition concerning fairy tales in the Czech nations, which is rare when considered globally. Initially, projection was carried out using Laterna Magica (magic lantern) projectors that were principally sourced from Germany. The first slideshow film examples (1935 – 1945) in the country took the form of scanned picture books (Volesky, Prague) and short fairy tales (Mofis Brno), as well as slides (Diacolor Pavla). Due to their popularity, as well as advances in technology and photographic materials, there was a manufacturing boom in Czechoslovakia in the 1960s.

The first form of industrially produced stories intended for projecting were filmstrips (celluloid strips with printing in 1955 – Diababy, MU).Later these were replaced by fairy tales produced on slide film (35mm reversal film featuring a series of positive images). In addition to fairy tales, such slideshow films were published for educational purposes – natural sciences, local history, engineering subjects such as cars and railways, ideology, the fine arts, the military, etc. They were and still are often used for teaching in schools and as illustrations for books, while also being a resource within the lending sections in libraries.

Supplied in varied packaging, slideshow films were usually coiled in a rounded plastic box identified by name. The accompanying text was read alongside the projection of the film. Production was halted in the 1990s due to the fall of communism, the burgeoning electronics market and the advent of video. Essentially, the isolation brought about by the socialist system, in combination with a baby boom (Husak’s children), contributed to the continued popularity of such slideshows. This remained firmly established in the country as opposed elsewhere, and is now experiencing a renaissance. A similar situation is also true of Russia, but to an even greater extent.

In homes, slideshow stories used to be shown via Bakelite children’s projectors. Projectors with DIAR branding were designed to show filmstrips, the DIAX3 being the most common example of such devices. Schools and libraries were more often provided with Meopta professional projectors.

Projections and children

For children, from an early age, seeing a projection is a wonderful experience – one anticipated with joy and excitement. Even a darkened room invokes a special charm, which actually helps youngsters concentrate more. No external stimuli from the immediate environment excerpt an influence on the children present other than the illuminated image and the voice of their parents.

It is this and other factors that make long winter evenings the perfect time for holding a slideshow.

The images are large enough, unlike those in books, and can be immediately viewed by all children for as long as desired, unlike in a film. This gives a child enough time to understand and construct their viewpoint and conclusions. The mental activity of children is additionally supported by the fact that they perceive through audio and vision, consequently the experience has a more profound impact and this aids memory. Using slideshow films can effectively develop the language, knowledge and aesthetic perceptions of children, plus it promotes activity in an individual.

One important aspect is that parents make time for their children, attending to them in an entertaining way. Furthermore, there is a potential of adding to the spectacle through an adult using imagination, rather than just simply reciting the text. As for older children, the projector itself can serve as a toy, as well as triggering cooperation between siblings.

About us

The impetus for the creation of this project was a visit to an attic back in November 2006. It was then that we came across a Diax3 projector with a few dozen fairy tales. At that time, a desire to find more stories was born, resulting in the idea of creating an online catalogue (in January 2007) that might reinvigorate this form of entertainment. Its development was driven, at first, by email and then by personally contacting people, as well as through uncovering and exchanging an ever greater number of texts and stories.  The initial enthusiasm for it soon turned into a collector’s passion driven by the offspring of the Husak generation, who in turn displayed interest in showing such stories to their children. Unearthing new titles continues unabated, as no comprehensive documentation or archival records exist.

A non-profit activity, the project is still under development, and improvement is subject both to the leisure time available and the voluntary endeavours of our colleagues. Without aiming to draw cash from your pocket, voluntary donations are most welcome.

World Fairy Tales
Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs
Sleeping Beauty
Little Red Ridingh Hood
Puss in boots
Gingerbread house (Hansel and Gretel)

TOP 12 czech and slavic fairy tales
Cook, Mug, Cook!
The Devil and Kate
Little Otik
The wolf and the (disobedient) goatlings

Translate to English: Lubomír Moudrý – www.naturtrans.cz

Contact: boris<at>diafilm<dot>cz
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