As a small boy, my dad walked with my granddad into Walsall to buy the latest gadget - a home movie projector - and remembers vividly the excitement of the day. A day or so later, war was declared. For the next few years, the projector drew a large crowd to my granddad's house, neighbours desperate for an evening of levity in the silent, black and white company of Felix The Cat, Mickey Mouse and Betty Boop. So popular were the shows, in fact, that granddad began to charge at the door - investing any profit in new cartoons. Dad remembers the shows as riotous affairs, particularly because of arguments over who got to crank the projector's handle and how, but reckons the cartoons bought the house down even when the same films were played over and over again. They had to be very careful with their blackout curtains, of course, the projector's light was not very powerful but the Luftwaffe were often overhead, aiming for Birmingham and Coventry, or sometimes even Walsall itself. Dad reckons it's no exaggeration to say that the projector kept the street going through the war. And I'm happy to report that it still works!