October 28- 29, 2000

Mental Hygiene: Classroom Guidance Films 1947-1961
 

Program compiled by Ken Smith. Program produced by Andrew P. Crane with assistance from Nancy Winters.

 

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EGYPTIAN THEATRE

 

Hosted by Ken Smith, author of Mental Hygiene: Classroom Films 1945-1970. Ken will also comment on the films, adding depth and layer to these strange, shrill educational films. From 1945-1970, "mental hygiene" films were specifically designed to shape the behavior of their young viewers. Some of the topics were "party etiquette", "personal hygiene", "substance abuse", "venereal disease" & "juvenile delinquency." Mental hygiene films did not represent pinnacles of film artistry, nor were they supposed to; crews were small, sets were improvised, equipment was minimal, actors wet behind the years. Despite these obstacles, distinct filmmaking styles emerged among the major producers: the merciless optimism of Coronet, the smoldering doom of Centron, the sledgehammer morality of Sid Davis.

Viewing these films as a genre uncovers something unexpected: a range of competence and technique in a class of filmmaking that is generally thought to have had none. Thousands of mental hygiene films were produced during their twenty-five year reign, but only a handful made it to our time. Their master reels were thrown away, along with almost all the information about their creators, casts and costs. At least half of all mental hygiene titles have vanished forever, and many survive as only a single, battered print. All these films are in the book, "Mental Hygiene", which will be available for purchase before and after the programs. With over 400 photos, interviews with surviving filmmakers, and nearly 300 capsule reviews, Mental Hygiene is the result of ten years worth of research.

(Each program, including intro, the films and the commentary are approximately 2 hours.)

SATURDAY – OCTOBER 28 – 7:00PM

1) MANNERS, MENUSTRATION & THE AMERICAN WAY

"Benefits of Looking Ahead", 1950, Coronet Instructional Films. "Cheating", 1952, Centron Corp for Young America Films. "Cindy Goes To A Party", 1955, Centron Corp. for Young America Films. "Live and Learn", 1951, Sid Davis Productions. "Social Class in America", 1957, Knickerbocker Productions for McGraw-Hill Book Co. "Molly Grows Up", 1953, Medical Arts Productions for Personal Products Corp. "Make Mine Freedom", 1948, John Sutherland Productions for Harding College.

 

 

SATURDAY – OCTOBER 28 – 9:30PM

2) DATING, DELINQUENCY & DIVERSITY

"Are You Popular?", 1947, Coronet, Instructional Films. "A Date With Your Family", 1950, Simmel-Meservey. "What About Juvenile Delinquency?", 1955, Centron Corp. For Young America Films. "Towards Emotional Maturity", 1954, Knickerbocker Productions for McGraw-Hill Book Co. "Last Date", 1949, Wilding Picture Productions for Lumbermen’s Mutual Casualty Co. "Seduction of the Innocent", 1961, Sid Davis Productions.

"What About Prejudice?" 1959, Centron Corp for McGraw-Hill Book Co.

SUNDAY – OCTOBER 29 – 7:00PM

3) CONFORMITY, SAFETY & THE BOMB

"Good Table Manners", 1951, Coronet Instructional Films. "Habit Patterns", 1954, Knickerbocker Productions for McGraw-Hill Book Co. "Boys Beware", 1961, Sid Davis Productions. "The Terrible Truth", 1951 Sid Davis Productions. "More Dangerous Than Dynamite", 1941, Guy Haselton for Panorama Pictures. "Social Courtesy", 1950, Coronet Instructional Films. "Duck and Cover", 1951, Archer Productions for Federal Civil Defense Administration. "Dating: Do’s and Don’ts", 1949, Coronet Instructional Films.