Sunday, June 08, 2008


Noise (1970) Don Dickerson
Describes various types of noise familiar to young children and raises the questions, what is the difference between sound and noise, how much does noise affect the quality of our lives and how much noise can we tolerate. This particular copy of the film was clipped so we don't know how it ended but it was clear that in teaching kids to pay attention to all the ambient noise in their lives, that they'll never be able to concentrate in school.

For Goodness Snakes (1973) Learning Garden
Introduces snakes to young children before they have been prejudiced by the attitudes of adults. The subtext of this film is far more evil since it teaches kids not to fear the lying serpent -Satan. For example, the film was made by the"Learning Garden" - a reference to the Garden of Eden and Tree of Knowledge. Also, after looking for snakes in the wilderness, the man and kid eat apples(!).

Let's be Friends - an Emotionally Disturbed Child (1977) Encyclopedia Britannica Films
Like You, Like Me Series. Shows how a group of children decide to help one of their friends, a little girl with an emotional problem. This film is animated and looks very similar to the "Most Important Person Series" but aimed towards special needs kids. The main characters in this particular episode are a deaf black girl, an emotionally-disturbed girl and an Asian girl. Not particularly a great film but it has piqued my interest since it is trying to address "normal kids" who are sharing a classroom with mainstreamed "special needs kids". Other films in this series (which I don't have): Doing Things Together - a Child with a Prosthetic Hand, Everyone Needs some Help - a Child with Speech and Hearing Impairment, I Can do it - a Child with Double Braces, It's Up to Me - a Child with Asthma, Let Me Try - a Mentally Retarded Child, See what I Feel - a Blind Child, Let's Talk it Over - a Child with Epilepsy, When I Grow Up - Career Aspirations, Why Me - an Orthopedically Handicapped Child.

The Dime (1973) Little Red Filmhouse
Follows the circulation of a dime from the mint through many changes of hands until it finally ends up in a sewer. This film is great - first there's assembly line porn of dimes being made and wrapped. Then we watch this single dime (with a nail polish smudge) as it goes from person to person. It's a kid's version of Twenty Bucks.

PCP: You Never Know (1979) Churchill Films
Presents information on PCP, known as 'angel dust', 'Sherman' and 'crystal' and reveals the unique dangers of this drug. There's a good girl freaking out scene but this, like other drug films about PCP, is fairly dull when compared to films about LSD or marijuana.

Getting Busted (1973) OCATS Orange County Alcohol Traffic Safety
Presents an in-depth study of an 18-year-old's arrest for driving while 'under the influence,' through trial to sentencing. Discusses the humiliation, emotional and financial problems which are created by the abuse of alcohol. There are some good curbside sobriety tests (including some that we couldn't do sober) and some jailhouse hijinks in this film.

Fluoride: The Magnificent Mineral (1983) National Institute of Dental Research, Colgate-Palmolive
Discusses methods of fluoride, including community fluoridation, dietary fluoride supplements and fluoride mouth rinses. Points out that tooth decay can be prevented through the proper use of fluoride. This Colgate-sponsored film was such a highly polished piece about the wonders of fluoride that we all immediately questioned the benefits of fluoridation.

Portrait of the Enemy - American Dental Association /Vision Associates
I let my guests pick from three films based on their titles. They chose this one. Like "Dead Birds" they chose weeks ago, this film had everybody screaming in horror. It starts off simple enough with an analogy of basketball game strategy in dealing with gum problems. It recognizes the opponent (gum disease) and his style of play (plaque), effective defense (proper home oral hygiene and regular professional care), and the cost of losing (loss of teeth). It was shots of extreme peridontitis - nubs of teeth surrounded by thick pus and tartar in a bed of irritated and bloodied gums - that had people screaming in terror.

1 comment:

Todd M said...

That PCP film was also a great example of the cock-eyed "how-to" film that pretends to be anti-drug but ends up giving kids all kinds of cool info about how to find, buy and use the stuff. Like, "Oh, so you can just sprinkle the PCP in a cigarette! That's convenient."

A great batch this week, Skip. I finally found something worse than watching films of eye surgery: "scared straight" close-ups of gum disease. I hate you forever.