It’s time to shine those penny loafers and Bryllcreme those hairdos. The Neighborhood is heading for the Fifties!
Nothing explains the intentions, the tensions and the goofiness of the era like the instructional films produced by Coronet. Starting after World War II, Coronet Films, as many other distributors, created a series of films on morals, hygiene and national values to be shown in classrooms on 8-mm projectors–mostly to kill a Friday afternoon. Through school-age actors, the films stressed the need for conformity, grooming, and patriotism, often at the expense of anything remotely considered unique or creative.
Today, these films have a mysterious antique silly quality. Yet one can imagine the gravitas of a school marm in her bat-glasses showing a film on how heavy petting, rock music and consorting with Black people can lead to Communism. Today’s film is the 1949 classic Dating Do’s and Dont’s, as a young boy ponders which perfectly coiffed Caucasian female of upper-middle class status he will take to the “keen wing-ding” of the night, the big carnival. The film deftly guides our hero through the “right” choice of girl, how to set up the date, and the activities to follow…
…of course, not ALL the activities. And our hero would never do that! That’s only for pot-smoking, rock ‘n’ roll listening, Commie-loving, integration-pushing hipsters who beat on bongos and wear black all the time.
Sit back and enjoy the goofiness. Of course, have students question the moral underpinnings of these films–though that may label them Communists! God forbid!