This is a scene from the 1950 women’s prison cult-film classic “Caged.” It depicts the main character, a 19 year old first offender who tries to escape when she is denied parole. I remember seeing it as a kid; maybe it was the brutality of the scary prison guard, the death of a kitten during a riot, or the uber masculine women, but it really had an effect on me. So a week ago when it came up on cable I had to watch it again, and it didn’t disappoint. You can view the cool trailer for it on YouTube here. It’s a hoot!

On Friday I was making an animation toy called a thaumatrope with my summer students. On an index card we drew a bird, on another card we drew an empty cage. Then the two cards were glued back to back with a drinking straw sandwiched between. When the straw was rapidly twirled the bird appeared to be sitting in the cage.

So, here is your project for the day, kiddies. Print the two pictures below, cut them out, glue them back-to-back with a drinking straw inserted between. Quickly twirl the straw and stare at the image. You now have your very own women’s prison-break thaumatrope toy! Next week: An origami chain-gang!

This animated GIF shows how the thaumatrope might look: