Remember the early Simpsons episode where Bart and his fellow classmates have to sit through an ancient film about the wonders of zinc? I kind of got that feeling while viewing a DVD gifted from Christopher — Atomic Age Classics Vol. 2: Hygiene, Dating & Delinquency. This collection of vintage educational films (one of five volumes) was put together by Alpha Home Entertainment, a company that specializes in cheapie DVDs of olde time serials, B-Westerns, ’50s Sci-Fi, and other scratched-up old movies scrounged out of someone’s basement. Everything about the disc is half-baked and slipshod, but overall it’s a semi-entertaining way to kill an hour. More details about the films (and links to their Archive.org pages, where available):
Name Unknown (Sid Davis Productions, 1964) More of a general purpose cautionary film for teens about the dangers of accepting rides from strangers, making out in a field, etc. I think the most notable thing about this film might be the ratted-up, trashy fashion sense on the teens — a distinctive look which John Waters subsequently based his entire career upon.
Going Steady (Coronet Films, 1951) Creaky film whose message seems impossibly quaint in this “hooking up” age — you might even be going steady without even knowing it! So they’re saying not only do you have to worry about the things you know, you also have to be aware of the things you aren’t aware of?
Getting Along with Parents (Encyclopedia Britannica Films, 1953) Battle of the century: Whiny Teens versus Boring Parents! I like how the teens are all hot about going to a nightclub with real booze and excitement, then when the adults present them with an alternate basement party with soda bottles and chintzy decorations, everybody’s fine. Ookay.
Body Care and Grooming (McGraw Hill, 1956) I had seen this one on a Mystery Science Theater 3000, where it’s much funnier. Joe College won’t give Suzy Sorority the time of day because her sweater’s untucked. Do college students really need a film to teach them how to brush and use soap?
Unto Thyself Be True (Family Films, 1949) This one is unusual in that it shows a competent, b-movie level of acting and filmmaking. Surly boy steals Dad’s car and causes an accident, and to pay for the damaged car he must fall victim to his small town’s Lottery-style ritual stoning. Just kidding.
Any Boy — USA (Women’s Christian Temperance Union, 1953) This is one seriously weird, yet boring, film. A farm boy, running away from home, meets Mr. Whiskey. Mr. Whiskey is upset since all his friends tend to die on him, and he can’t befriend train operators, farmers, pilots, and other men with jobs — because none of them drink. What follows is a lot of walking and talking until the duo arrive at a dirty metropolis filled with vagrants and a burning building (??). Odd, and the central boy has got to be one of the ugliest child actors I’ve ever seen.