I don’t know about you, but I absolutely love those PSA educational films over the years from the 1940’s, 50’s and 60’s, which weren’t meant at the time to be hilarious, but really are… and in some cases, deeply, deeply disturbing. These ‘helpful’ productions were shown in classrooms across the country as mandatory viewing to impressionable children, each one heavy on fear, but light on facts.
Thank God for such gems like Perversion for Profit a 1965 anti-pornography film commissioned by The Citizens for Decent Literature, which points out that, “This same kind of rot … and decay caused sixteen! of the nineteen! major civilizations to vanish from the earth!” and includes twenty minutes of pornographic pictures and helpful hints as to where to find such filth.
And then there’s “Boys Beware”, a chronicle warning of the various ways gay men of 1961 stalked tender, young pubescent boy prey, helping them recognize the dangers of the mentally ill homosexual, and points out some warning signs. Is the man being a little too friendly? Offering gifts? Playing basketball with you? The film was commissioned by the Inglewood Police Department, implies that simply being the victim of “the homosexual” can get you in legal trouble yourself (or at least probation), and was shown in classrooms across the country. Except maybe San Francisco.
For the young ladies we have “Habit Patterns” (1954) the story of “Barbara” who is admonished for sleeping in too late, eating too quickly, and being an awkward teenager at social functions (that BITCH!), and ‘Body Care and Grooming” (1948) which offers helpful tips about man-getting hygene and appearance. (“Look at that hair. Look at that blouse. And the way your skirt hangs. And those socks. You don’t seem to be the type to make this man act like a human being.”
For all you potheads out there, you’re well on your way down that rocky road to heroin abuse as evidenced in “The Terrible Truth” (1951), “Drug Addiction” (1951), and “Narcotics: Pit of Despair” (1967) among others. “Forget it, man and get with the countdown. Shake this square world and blast off for kicksville.” Seriously though, these films are much better viewing after a puff or two, or so I’m told.
And who can forget such Cold War classics like “Our Cities Must Fight” (1951) and “Duck and Cover” (1952), and mandatory viewings in drivers ed of either Blood on the Highway or Red Asphalt? It’s amazing that anyone ever left their homes. Might as well just stay in and get stoned. We’re all going to die soon anyway.
But I digress. The film we’re really focusing on today is about dating from 1949 called Dating: Do’s and Don’ts. Before Al invented the Internet and made it incredibly easy to find love and lust online with a quick point and click of the mouse, it was hard to go out there and get some. This film is especially helpful to help you choose the right date for the Hi-teen Carnival. “Woody first thought of Janice and how good looking she was. He’d really have to rate to date somebody like her. Yes, he’d enjoy that. It’s too bad that Janice always has to act so superior and bored. She’d make a fella feel ackward and inferior.” (But does she still put out?) Anne on the other hand, knows how to have a good time, and she really knows how to handle that cotton candy. Look at her attack that thing. I think we have a winner.
But then you have to figure out how to actually go about asking her out for a date, what you’re going to wear, borrowing a rubber in case Janice says ‘yes’, asking someone to show you how to put it on correctly and where the ribs go, proper carnival dating etiquette, and at the end of the evening, how to say “goodnight” (because a girl likes to know you had a good time). Or alternatively, “Where are my socks?” the next morning at Janice’s pad.
If you or someone you know needs these burning questions answered before your next big Hi-teen Carnival, then I suggest you watch the film. You’ll be glad you did!