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Duck & Cover Film Festival! Wheeeeeee!
June 8, 2007 10:06 PM   Subscribe

"For the quarter-century following World War II, a special kind of classroom film received wide circulation. These "mental hygiene" films thrived in a confused and nervous America. The rebellious behavior of young people challenging the social norms struck fear into the hearts of parents and educators, who saw dark futures for the teens who broke the rules and refused to fit in with society. These concerned adults embraced the metal hygiene film as a new means of delivering social guidance." Program One: Manners, Menstruation and The American Way; Program Two: Dating, Deliquency and Diversity; Program Three: Conformity, Safety and The Bomb

Special Bonus: Amy Sedaris, Paul Dinello, Mitch Rouse & Steven Colbert re-enact How To Be Popular (from Program Two).
posted by miss lynnster (28 comments total) 31 users marked this as a favorite

 
Wow, that ended up longer than I meant for it to be. Hit post too quick. Sorry folks.
posted by miss lynnster at 10:10 PM on June 8, 2007


Clean-up in aisle 61917 (?)
posted by The Deej at 10:18 PM on June 8, 2007


lol at "Menstruation and The American Way"... Nothing like a patriotic period... But seriously, those 1950s-era menstruation films make me feel very grateful for the cheesy 70s ones I was subjected to... I haven't watched all of the links yet, but I'm bookmarking this post!
posted by amyms at 10:21 PM on June 8, 2007


Anyone who loves this kind of stuff - as I do - needs to have the Prelinger Archives bookmarked.
posted by davelog at 10:25 PM on June 8, 2007


Don't have sex with robots!!!
posted by milarepa at 10:25 PM on June 8, 2007


I absolutely love the Coronet films (and archive.org is an international goddamn treasure) . The funniest part is that a few of them actually have good advice in re: dating and social activities, no matter how hokey and absurdly conformo-building they seem.
posted by griphus at 10:35 PM on June 8, 2007


I love these films, thanks for the handy compilation! I used to have a bunch of these downloaded from the Prelinger Archives, they got lost along the way.

Some great ones not featured in the OP:

Habit Patterns
Narcotics: Pit of Despair(Part 2)
Live and Learn

But the ones linked in the post are also some of my favourites, especially A Date With Your Family, Cindy Goes to a Party, and Benefits of Looking Ahead.
posted by yellowbinder at 10:41 PM on June 8, 2007


And there's the book, which goes into enormous detail on how Coronet, Centron, Britannica Films, and the rest of the classroom film producers worked. Plus, a section on the vaguely horrifying Sid Davis .
posted by ormondsacker at 10:42 PM on June 8, 2007


Oh my god! I've been menstruating for The Enemy all these years!

Hope you appreciated it, The Enemy.
posted by maryh at 10:44 PM on June 8, 2007 [3 favorites]


There are so many great ones out there, it's amazing how prolific these film studios were. To narrow it down, I just figured it might be fun to follow the exact program of the American Cinemateque event in the first link as best I could. Youtube amazes me, there were only a couple of films I didn't find.
posted by miss lynnster at 10:44 PM on June 8, 2007


"Narcotics: Pit of Despair" stars Locke's dad from Lost. Such a bad seed, that guy...
posted by miss lynnster at 10:51 PM on June 8, 2007


I thought "hygeine" was what Charles Nelson Reilly & Brett Somers always said to the host of Match Game...

the more you know...
posted by wendell at 10:54 PM on June 8, 2007


The first time I got high on the grass was actually at this series of screenings. An experience to be sure. That was at least seven years ago, I'm glad Ken Smith is still touring them around. They're great fun!
posted by yellowbinder at 10:56 PM on June 8, 2007


Fantastic.

I really enjoyed Make Mine Freedom (1948).
posted by zymurgy at 10:57 PM on June 8, 2007


The funniest part is that a few of them actually have good advice.

Y'know, I thought the same thing about this little gem from the fifties: How to Pack a Suitcase.

And thanks for the post, miss L. You just can't have too much of this stuff. Priceless.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 12:05 AM on June 9, 2007


Personally, I greatly prefer the MST-ified versions of such shorts:

Cheating, Posture Pals, Keeping Clean and Neat, What to Do On a Date, Body Care and Grooming, A Date With Your Family.
posted by Rangeboy at 12:17 AM on June 9, 2007


Body Care and Grooming... They're cops!
posted by The Deej at 12:34 AM on June 9, 2007


rangeboy- you missed the delightfully creepy Why Study Industrial Arts?

"This is the movie they had the boys watch and the girls had to go to the gym to watch the other film."
posted by griphus at 1:29 AM on June 9, 2007


Scared Straight! springs to mind.
posted by chuckdarwin at 1:38 AM on June 9, 2007


I'm still haunted by the image of a junkie chick yakking up some milky crap on the fire escape in Dead is Dead, a film I was shown in jr. high, which I can find no record of online.

Does anyone else remember this movie?
posted by davelog at 2:32 AM on June 9, 2007


So the reason Americans don't stop for hitch-hikers is because they are afraid of turning homo?
posted by c13 at 6:37 AM on June 9, 2007


The one that blew my mind here was the one they made to tell housewives not to wash their clothing in gasoline. I mean... just... oh my.
posted by miss lynnster at 7:14 AM on June 9, 2007


Amy Sedaris, mmmmm. Why the world hasn't showered her with fame and fortune, I don't know. But at least she can shower with me.
posted by adipocere at 7:18 AM on June 9, 2007 [1 favorite]


The one that blew my mind here was the one they made to tell housewives not to wash their clothing in gasoline. I mean... just... oh my.

That mystified me for the longest time, but I found out not too long ago that gasoline was used as a dry-cleaning solvent and degreaser for a good while.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 7:49 AM on June 9, 2007


I've used it as a solvent before. It works.
posted by blasdelf at 8:06 AM on June 9, 2007


Related.
posted by nickyskye at 8:48 AM on June 9, 2007


The Simpsons did a parody of one too--with bunnies going thru puberty.
posted by amberglow at 9:00 AM on June 9, 2007


Great post. If you like this stuff, make sure to check out the AV Geeks website. Also, Rick Prelinger's The Field Guide to Sponsored Films is available as a free ebook.
posted by jtron at 2:16 PM on June 9, 2007


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