How Not to Be A Loser According to 1950s Films
The 1950’s were a puritanical time on so many levels: morality, sexuality, drugs, virtuous behaviour, pristine television programs, clean commercial advertising. Of course, righteous behaviour doesn’t come naturally. Thankfully we had Coronet and McGraw-Hill films to advise us on how not to be a loser.
Drug Use – Marijuana
Talk about an exaggeration about the use of marijuana. You know, many young people probably believed this stuff at that time. First off, one had to recognize the difference in a cigarette and a joint, lest you be fooled into smoking pot when you merely wished to pollute your lungs with nicotine. In this pitiful video, a schoolteacher debates with a conservative “expert” about the use of pot in school. Naturally, the clincher was that the addiction to pot led directly to the addiction to heroin. “It can happen here” is the ominous moral of this story. Haha.
Morphine and Heroin and Cocaine – oh my!
In this awesomely hilarious video , factual truths are illustrated. Don’t get me wrong. It’s not the wisdom of the narrative that I laugh at…it’s the melodramatic delivery that leaves me wiping tears of laughter from my tear ducts. A prime example: many addicts come from teeming slum areas, where human misery runs high. Oh, ha-ha. Way to stereotype the poor, dude. As if they didn’t already have enough problems. The increase of addiction among teens is another perspective I scratch my head over. I’m not aware of too many suburban clean-cut teens who get immersed in this stuff but to hear the narrator tell it, teenage cocaine and heroin use is approaching epidemic proportions. Get out while there’s still time.
Video Number Two in this series explains how young, decent people get started on the road to drug addiction. Here’s a big surprise: it all started with marijuana. Yes I know many people who smoke a joint now and then and whose lives have become a slippery slope into hard drugs. Tsk tsk. If only they’d seen this video first. They’d be fine citizens today. Thanks to this dreadful development, Marty the Teenage Addict lost his job and became a social isolate. His life becomes a downward spiral into debauchery. Damn that marijuana.
Good Habits vs Bad Habits or The Lady vs The Sloth
Speaking of habits, this is the story of Barbara the Sloth. Poor Barbara. She’s such a pain in the ass. She sleeps in (gasp). This doesn’t leave her time to match up her clothes, which has become difficult. She can’t find her hairbrush. She has morning mouth. Her dress has a tear in the collar. What a skank. “If you had a habit plan for your mornings, you might get off to a decent start some day,” the narrator scolds. Helen on the other hand, is a pearl. She has a habit plan and it works, too. Helen is up early enough to get a ride to school with Daddy. “Who could image a better way to start the day?” the narrator gushes. Really? I’d rather start the day with a joint. Barbara commits another cardinal sin in class: she drums on her desk with her fingers. Eek. Barbara, pack your bags. Ultimately, poor Barbara is so embarrassed by her messy hair and her dirty fingernails she has a mental breakdown and loses all her friends. Okay, so that doesn’t happen. Whatever.
Social Graces – Act Your Age
Today’s victim is Jim, an emotionally immature teen who learns to act his age after his very public humiliation for being a dork. Jim is an awkward 50’s teen who looks a lot like Wally Cleaver from Leave it to Beaver. He should be the Eddie Haskel of the show, but unlike our man Eddie, Jim actually feels remorse. Personally I thought Eddy was cool. He was a 1950s version of Eminem. He lived life his way, spoke his mind and didn’t give a damn. Eddie probably lost his virginity twelve years before Wally and ended up a corporate lawyer on Wall Street. Wally on the other hand was the subject of The 40-year-old Virgin and he too collected action figures whilst in the fourth decade of his life. But back to poor immature Jim. He commits the crime of graffiti on a school desk using his school pencil. The principal, the weird Mr. Edmunds, sarcastically offers him a better alternative: a Boy Scout knife. Seriously. Edmunds has a lot of time to counsel wayward boys. He never does any work. Developing Social Skills is a tricky one. Fortunately we have the idiotic Bill to learn the rules of social courtesy.
You knew I’d get around to this one. I love the aforelinked video: How to Say No, like it’s an art form. Mind you, this also refers to saying no to all kinds of things, like smoking and gossiping. If you want to skip to the sex part (and you do) watch from 7:53. One girl makes the astounding admission that sometimes it’s the girl who makes the first move. Shriek. The narrator advises us that a direct no might make us lose our friends, God forbid. Well you do want to hang onto friends like that. Sex Education for Boys is particularly helpful. The sports coach counsels his boys on sex education. Today, that sort of thing can get you six years in prison. One boy casually advises his young friend “I had a wet dream last night.” He generously explains to the younger boy “you know, sperm comes out of your penis.” And yes, the coach pops up (pun) in this one.
Just in case you didn’t get that part, there’s always As Boys Grow (1957). Hello again, coach. He helpfully discusses the buttocks, being “big all over”, penis and testes, complete with diagrams. I swear this guy should change his name to David Frost. Sex Education for Girls is all about menstruation, naturally. Why, menstruation is as natural as sprouting teeth (but hopefully not as obvious). When our little heroine Molly starts behaving precociously, modelling her sister’s hat in front of a mirror and examining a sanitary napkin, it becomes obvious she is about to start menstruating soon. Seriously. Get those hormones under control, Molly. You’re making a slut of yourself.
Beware those feelings between you and Jeff, Mary. Things [might]start to happen. It’s understandable however. Mary’s mother seems quite laid (pun) back for a 50′s mom. She tells her daughter that at first sex is “quite a lark.” I’m serious. That’s a line in the previous video. Oh and for those of you who weaken and do the deed, don’t be surprised when you turn out like pathetic Eileen, the teenage mother, baby and all. Eileen is certain Mary and Jeff will cross the street so they won’t have to say hello to her but generously they stop and chat. Wisely, they do keep their distance. Oh and here’s a word to the wise, girls. The two previous videos are about sexual lust and professed love. They both star a boy named Jeff. Jeff likes to tell all his girls how much he loves them. What a jerk (off). Oh and Jeff once again demonstrates his immaturity when he acts like a “contagious disease” (not that kind, you) at home. He even beats up his little brother with a coat hanger. What a prize. I can see why so many girls want to jump into bed with Jeff.
Now no one likes this topic but it has to be discussed. Homosexuality is the domain of adult male perverts and has become an epidemic. This aforelinked video was made for young boys in order to protect their (anal) innocence and recognize a perv when they see one. Well, you know what they say in tricky situations: cover your ass. At least we of the 21st century have eliminated homosexual paranoia.
The Little Woman
Easy does it, ladies. A narrator warns women from carrying twelve times their weight in laundry upstairs, a feat that would leave a mountain climber gasping for air. Oh and be careful about pushing an iron around, you need enough muscle as a bricklayer. It’s all too much for the little woman. Time to get modern and buy appliances that only require a push of the button to complete household chores. Love it. A Word to the Wives Jane stopped by for a cup of coffee at her friend’s house and she fell apart with envy at the remodeled modern kitchen. The appliances make life so much easier for a housewife. It’s more freedom to go on a shopping spree and have a house warming party to show off her wares (not that kind of wares, you).
If only we weren’t genetically wired to have babies and cook all the time, then we’d have enough skill and common sense to be able to work in factories. Nope, our participation in the labour industry is just too darned dangerous. It comes back to that whole modern appliances in the kitchen thing.
The 1950s Housewife
Sexism flourished in the 1960s. Housewifery was still a challenge. Your husband’s disapproval about your housekeeping and caregiver skills was a crime. Consider the aforelinked ad where a typical young housewife messes up the coffee. She shrieks at her husband not to toss her un-drinkable coffee into the bushes. “You’ll kill the petunias,” she laments. What a disgrace. She could never secretly poison her spouse for life insurance purposes.
Staying beautiful is an essential to being happily married forever, ladies. Whatever you do, don’t age or put on weight and if you have to age, at least fight it with all your womanly wiles. Here’s a beauty tip: spend lots of time outdoors horseback riding and splashing in streams. And when you conduct those debilitating household chores (see The Little Woman) don’t slouch your way through them, you slob. When seated, don’t be he pigeon-toed thinker in the group. It isn’t charming. Gasp. Wash your hair once every two weeks. Seriously? Finishing up with a curling rod is a good sign, naturally. Your hair won’t get dry and hereby break off. What? And don’t munch the paint off your pencil or bite your painted nails. Your nails will be short and ugly. Like you.
Okay, the aforelinked video is from the 21st century and it’s serious! The 3-finger trick to slipping your table napkin out from under your forks is the darndest thing I ever saw. And how to remove the napkin ring to make it easier. You don’t want to exhaust yourself before you have to pick up a fork. Seriously. And here’s a dilemma: what to do when someone has food in their teeth? Personally I’d pluck it out for them. It gets worse. The narrator in this video saw a man spit an olive pit into his hat. Gak! He was escorted out. Tips for the toast – lucky you. You get to be the teetotaler in the group. When someone toasts in your honour you can’t pick up a glass and slug away like everyone else. Sucks to be you.
Getting Lucky – (the cigarettes, you)
What the hell? While we’re in the business of telling people what losers they are why not promote cigarette smoking? Incredibly, commercials swore up and down that medical doctors promoted this delightful life-shortening habit. And what the heck? Might as well get kids’ cartoons in on it. Even the Flintstones had a Winston break during work. And I Love Lucy loved smoking too. Hey, cigarettes were cool. You were a nerd if you didn’t smoke. Just so long as you know the difference between a Lucky and a joint.
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