Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|The Educational Archives - Limited Edition Lunchbox|
Actor: Artist Not Provided
Genres: Special Interests, Educational, Documentary
Generations of American children sat in dark classrooms and absorbed wisdom from 16mm educational films. Through the flicker of dim projector bulbs and the warble of optical soundtracks, a blueprint for better living in th... more »
The Road to Hell is Paved by Good Intentions
Jonathan Schaper | London, Ontario Canada | 01/07/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Educational Archives is an excellent collection of "educational" films ranging in date from the 1940s to 1980s providing a wonderful look at the concerns of society and its often misguided attempts to change children (and, in some cases, adults) during those periods. (Interestingly, the 1980s films have the most dated fashions).In these mini masterpieces you get to meet all sorts of interesting characters. There's Chalky, a talking drawing on a chalkboard who, in only 10 minutes, turns a potentially homicidal young bully into the paragon of politeness, then, after the lesson is over, has the young man help him commit assisted suicide! Then there's Soapy, a bar of soap dressed in yellow tights and puffy purple sleeves with fancy elbow length cuffs who sneaks into a young boy's room at night to teach him that washing does not make you a "sissy" by gesturing flamboyantly and making the boy watch a film of a rugged cowboy soaping up. On the other end of the spectrum is Mr. Bungle, a fun-loving puppet who children despise so much that they do their best to act like pod people in order to avoid being anything like him: Mr. Bungle wouldn't neatly line up his utensils on his lunch tray before eating, so I will! In another film a woman learns the truth about hot dogs by taking LSD: they are actually made of still-living troll dolls who have been taken away from their wives and children (leaving them without support) and are cruelly being served as food to those who haven't had the veil lifted from their eyes by popping acid (the film is unintentionally more pro-vegetarianism than anti-drug). But after learning all this from the troll doll, she cruelly stamps it to death!There are "real" people too, like a stereotyped Italian shopkeeper with syphilus, a mother who apologizes for interrupting her son's masturbating, a factory worker who trips and falls every 2 seconds, and teenagers doomed to die in car crashes on their prom night. In "The Outsider", a seriously mental girl breaks into tears wondering why other kids order chocolate icecream when she orders root bear. And there's celebrities! Sal Mineo (the guy who dies in "Rebel Without a Cause") sarcastically makes fun of drug addicts then sings a lame song about russian roulette. Lorne Greene advocates using pets as aids in teaching young children about reproduction. In "Shy Guy", narrated by Mike Wallace, a young Dick York stars as a likeable outsider who is encouraged by his father to spy on other young men so he can learn to copy them, conform and become boring. Lou Rawls recommends that blacks join the Navy as a solution to racial discrimination (!) Best of all, there is a stoned looking Sonny Bono dressed in a shiny gold suit who, in a supposed anti-pot film, actually teaches kids that it is okay to smoke pot except while in a bad mood or operating heavy machinery.As a male, I also finally got to see one of those special films only girls get to see about menstruation (basically an extended TV commercial for maxi pads, complete with blatant product placement). Not all of the films are funny, but all are fascinating in their own ways. I'm not sure what "Why Doesn't Cathy Eat Breakfast?" is trying to teach, but she has some interesting posters.Unfortunately, some of the Sex and Drugs films are edited for time, most drastically in the case of "Narcotics: Pit of Despair", but that film is available complete and in a better print as an extra feature on the DVD for "Blood Freak" (also highly recommended to those interested in unintentionally humourous anti-drug propaganda). There are other films I wish were included in the collection, e.g. the Navy's "LSD: Trip to Where?", but the Educational Archives is a great start, filled with amazing films, many I've never heard about.Hopefully additional volumes will be released in the future."
The Best DVD Box Set In Existence!
Christopher W. Curry | Indianapolis, IN | 10/03/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Fantoma has really outdone themselves with this package. I've yet to see a more impressive box set of any kind; whether CD, DVD or VHS this one surely tops them all. Lovingly packed in an actual tin lunchbox with a thermos comes 4 DVDs jammed full of those `scare films' that your health teacher showed you in class.
Disc 1 contains 12 films on "Sex and Drugs"
Disc 2 contains 10 films on "Social Engineering"
Disc 3 contains 10 films on "Drivers Education"
Disc 4 contains 12 films on "On the Job Training"
These films were also known as `educational films' and/or `industrial films'. If shown in a classroom today they'd be considered campy or outdated. Campy? Yes. Outdated? No. Of course some of the statistics are inaccurate but does the actual ratio of car accidents caused by intoxicated drivers versus accidents devoid of booze really have to be correct? Drinking and driving is just plain dangerous.
Mainly these quaint 10, 12 or 15-minute films work solely on a fundamental basis. The filmmakers were running on the premise that if you went back in time, squashed a butterfly and returned home that everything in the past present and future would have been changed. Obviously it is difficult to achieve that kind of depth in such a short period of time but they tried and were successful (and unsuccessful) in varying degrees.
Crudely made, ineptly acted and over-dramatized these movies were nonetheless attempting to pick up the disciplinary ball where the parents were forced to drop it. The lessons taught at home didn't always translate well to the public. In short most everything Mom and Dad taught you about courtesy, cleanliness and safety was often thrown out the instant you stepped onto the school bus.
Hell, the only thing that I remember about the relationship between at-home-rules and at-school-rules was mom saying, "If you get a paddling at school then you'd better be prepared for an ass busting when you get home." She stuck to her word too, first a spanking from my teacher and then another from Mom later that afternoon, that'll break the spirits of any 10 or 11 year old. I'm all for corporal punishment. Groundings are for sissies. Frequent ass whoopins' from my Mother helped turn me into the fine up-standing citizen that I am today. Writing for M.K. Ultra and all, what Mom or Dad wouldn't be proud? But I'm not here to stand on a soapbox and preach about parental guidance, I'm here to tell you about this awesome Fantoma DVD box set, so on with it.
SEE: A misguided youth bolt from `squaresville' to the garage where the `real' action is!
SEE: "Chalky" the talking blackboard eraser or "Soapy" the living breathing cake of cleanliness!
HEAR: A father attempt to draw similarities between school and his son's radio.
SING-A-LONG WITH: "I Like Bikes" or "Shake Hands with Danger".
All this is here along with some familiar faces and voices; Sonny Bono, Jimmy Stewart, Lou Rawls, Dick York and one of those Partridge Family kids are all in tow. In addition to this we have some extensive liner notes and a great special feature called "The Classroom Experience" that allows you to relive those afternoons in health class - should you want to. The feature throws the audio to your rear speakers in a muffled approach that is coupled with the clicking of the film projector, a novel idea for sure. Fret not you non-surround sounders, the simulated "Classroom Experience" is almost as impressive.
(Pulling up the soapbox once more) The longer I'm alive and the more I'm amongst the public the more I feel that these folks would really benefit from these absurdly funny yet viable sources of education. There's no denying that it would benefit me (and you) if they saw them. Alas they are adults and very set in their ways. I'm curious as to how they'd view the films anyhow, common sense or communism. In all honesty I'm not expecting any kind of a miracle because I know that the only true solution is mass genocide, but until then I'll just sit back and wallow in this lil' ole' piece of Americana. This profound cultural artifact that represents a time when someone cared and there was still hope. Remember that word, `hope'?