Kodak's Super 8 Film Labs Were As Close As Your Mailbox
When home video taping hit the scene, there were a lot of reasons that it decimated super 8 home movie making. One of the top reasons touted by camcorder manufacturers was that you didn't have to wait to develop the video tape. You can be watching your footage the moment after its shot onto a sturdy & convenient cassette. The time necessary to get your film to and from the lab was always going to be an issue (though Polaroid gave it one honey of a try!), so the best that manufacturers like Kodak could do was make it easy as possible to get film developed.
These cardboard sleeves from back then contain prepaid mailers for sending in your film for developing. The price you pay includes the processing for double 8mm, super 8, and even super 8 sound - but bring your own stamps! Once your film was shot, if you didn't have a handy drug store or camera shop, you could buy these pre-paid mailers and get your movies to the lab quickly by mail. These would be great on vacation too. Once you finish shooting a roll, drop it into the mailer and your movies might be waiting for you when you get home (and probably will get there sooner than the postcards that you sent to your neighbors).
The envelopes are unusually shaped, with pleats in the sides to fit the bulky film. They're not light-tight, so better be sure what you're mailing them in is. On the back is a map of the US with all of the officially sanctioned labs listed that handled processing motion film. Mine would have gone to Chicago's south side to this building.
I was wondering what would happen if I sent one of these envelopes to Kodak's Rochester HQ today as a joke. As it turns out I could have used them for processing from Dwayne's Photo (the only remaining processor of Kodachrome film), but they expired - get this - in December of '09. These mailers must be 20+ years old, who would have thought they'd still be good? More importantly, why didn't I think to check a few months ago?
Of course today if you're shooting Super 8, shipping your film is the only alternative. When these envelopes were current, the pre-paid mailers were mostly a convenience. Or they were for folks who didn't have a nearby photo developing lab. Today mail order is what's keeping super 8 alive (except for those brave souls out there who process their own film!)
I found this whole big stack of mailers at the thrift some time ago, and I did get a little bummed out that someone may have invested a good deal of money in their future home movie making. Or perhaps along the way they got a camcorder, and fell in love with instant 2 hour color videos with sound. I know that I would have... and did.