One of our most popular sellers is social
guidance films, so we thought we'd give you a little more insight on
where these films came from.
Social guidance films are a whole category of films that try to
guide children and young adults, as well as adults, to behave, act,
and even think in a certain manner. If you went to public schools,
you pretty much were exposed to the indoctrination efforts of the
establishment. Although they are shown much less today, they
do still exist. The height of popularity of these films was
from the 50's to the 70s. No topic was off limits. From
courtesy, to table manners, personal responsibility, sexual
behavior, dating, drug abuse, driver's ed, marriage personal
finance, violence, and other forms of juvenile delinquency. If
someone thought it was wrong, a film was made.
While there were several production companies, the majority of these
films were produced by big name corporations such as Coronet Films,
Centron Corporation, and even Encyclopædia Britannica. Some films
were also roduced by maverick independent filmmakers such as Sid Davis,
dubbed by author Ken Smith as the "King of Calamity" for his often
Many films gained notoriety for their outrageous topics. We try
to collect many of those in our catalog as those are our most popular.
Some examples include Duck and Cover (instructing children to duck under
their desks in case of nuclear war, and including the famous cartoon
with the turtle and the stick of dynamite to illustrate the point), and
Boys Beware, a film warning of the dangers of male homosexuals, actually
described as pedophiles.
Appearances In Other Media
Many of these films have achieved cult status and have been used in more
modern productions outside of their intended purpose. Several short
social guidance films, such as Posture Pals and Are You Ready for
Marriage?, were featured and lampooned on the television comedy series
Mystery Science Theater 3000 to provide padding for episodes in which
the featured movie and host segments could not fill out the program's
roughly 90-minute running time. On The Weird Al Show, clips from still
other films were taken and edited together with new voiceovers to make
parodies. Many more examples exist.
The federal gov't has greatly reduced the budgeting of these films in
the 70's. Today, hardly any are made any more due primarily to
their lack of effect in today's internet age. These films relied
heavily on the fact that they were a prime source of information to that
generations youth. Rather today, with the internet and cable TV,
today's youth is more exposed to different piece of pop culture very
early on. Impressions are made, opinions are formed, and it
becomes hard to change peoples minds.
Most of these films, when watched today, provide little more than
comic relief, which certainly does have a value. As far as their
intended purpose, well, the message might be the same, but the method of
delivery is way outdated. Most youth would not be reached by these
films. Yet they still provide a valuable look back in time at
where we were, and where many of us would still like to be.