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It's All in the Wrist

Fliptomania's flip books are a 10-second thrill

By Dara Colwell

Thomas Edison toyed with them, Cracker Jack buried them in their snacks, and those with sufficient manual dexterity have always enjoyed their instant amusement. A seemingly low-tech product, flip books evolved 100 years ago from what was then a high-tech concept: persistence of vision. Based on Muybridge's famous photographic series, in which horses tripped an elaborate series of cameras as they ran, the flip book offered a sort of primitive animation.

And like anything given a San Francisco spin, Fliptomania's flip books are wacky enough to sustain the interest of even those with severe forms of ADD. President Mark Weissberg, who has a background in documentary film making, designs his books with an irreverent twist. Asked where the ideas come from (coffee? acid?), Weissberg quickly replies, "From the deep dark recesses of my brain."

Fliptomania's books range in theme from storks delivering the Golden Gate Bridge to the secret behind Mona Lisa's smile (be careful there if you suffer from flashbacks). There's always a kicker in the end--it's enough to make viewers go "Wow," which is why Weissberg makes 'em to begin with.

Books are $3.99 each and can be found at Just For Fun (24th Street), Imbellish (Brannan) and Arch (Missouri). Or click onto www.fliptomania.com.

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From the April 3, 2000 issue of the Metropolitan.

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