Training police with virtual reality has become all the rage here in the 2020s, giving cops an “immersive” experience without actually having to fire their weapon. But, believe it or not, police were trying simulated firearms training long before VR was a thing. And it was all happening with old fashioned movie film.
On February 10, 1958 a photographer from the Los Angeles Examiner newspaper was invited to shoot photos of L.A. police officers taking aim at a film projection of good guys and bad guys—or “celluloid badmen” as the Examiner called it at the time. And, yes, they were shooting live ammunition at the projection.
Click through for photos of the action, including what they were looking at in motion picture form. Unfortunately, the limits of film photography from the 1950s make it difficult to see the action on the screen while also seeing the police officers taking aim, and vice versa. But it’s still interesting to see this very primitive form of an “immerse” experience taking shape in the 1950s. And some of the scenes are kind of unintentionally funny, given how outlandish they look.