Melania Takes the Max

I fell in love with Telidon back in 1982. Telidon was the Canadian developed Videotext system, a precursor to the internet. The idea was that television could deliver the newspapers of the future. All content was “paged”, one screen at a time. A maximum of 24 lines and 40 characters per line. No page scrolling.


It could be transmitted “free” to the home as Teletext, using television’s vertical blanking interval (the invisible bar at the top and bottom of a TV screen that synchronized analogue television broadcasts so the picture wouldn’t “roll”.


Alternatively, Videotext could be sent to the home over phone lines, using a 1.2 Kbps analog phone modem. It was later adopted for Prodigy in 1992, one of the first major on-line services.


Videotext was transformative. Especially the Telidon system, later called the North American Presentation Level Protocol (NAPLPS). It showed that content creation and distribution no longer required a giant printing plant or broadcast station. Anyone could do it.

One of the first examples of Telidon was “Nancy Reagan Takes The Subway”. You travel with the First Lady on a NYC subway.


The problem with all these early on-line services is that they were pre-internet. There was no browser like Mosaic (1993) or Netscape (1994). There was no commercial internet in the 1980s — that didn’t happen until the mid 1990s.


The internet made Videotext systems obsolete, overnight. Pictures, audio and video could also be incorporated into content. Distance became irrelevant by using packet switching. Mosaic popularized the World Wide Web, linking local nodes and databases. No long distance calls were required. Web browsing was faster, cheaper and better than Videotex in everyway.


Let’s update the Nancy Reagan story with a new form of story telling using 360 panoramic graphics.


I envision a comic-book style graphic presentation. Like a “virtual tour” with each frame a 360 degree, animated panorama. Call it “Melania Takes the Max”.


It’s like Bandersnatch with a Wackness soundtrack.


The story: Ivanka Melania gets separated from the Secret Service at Pioneer Square and takes the Yellow Line to “the wall” in Vancouver. Along the way, Melania interacts with drug dealers at the Greyhound stop, crazed Blazer Fans, HipHop music, orders a Taco, and confronts Vancouver commuters.


How do we create it?


  1. We’d shoot the main Max scenes with a 360 camera like the Insta360 One X.

  2. The 360 photos are converted into stylized graphics using Photo Sketch Apps or other applications like Prisma.

  3. The individual 360 Photo Sketchs are edited with an app like Pano Painter to create the individual 360 degree “frames” of the “tour”.

  4. A clickable “virtual tour” of the adventure would be available on-line using Kuula or other 360 degree panoramic tour hosts.

  5. A narrated video is created for promotion.


Maybe Melania could bring both sides together. This project expands “virtual tours” into 360 illustrated novels while poking fun at Oregon and Washington’s bickering over traffic congestion. It seems like a fun project for 2-3 people.


– Sam