[Ephemeral Films : selected layoffs]

Instructional films from the 1940s and 50s. Some are merely humorously outdated, others are downright horrifying -- particularly one that concludes that mechanized laundry machines are the best example of women's liberation in this century. Most deal with dating. Old Chicago footage with streetcars in last segment.

00:34Copy video clip URL “Are You Popular?” 1947. Guys in cafeteria talk about a new girl at school, Carolyn. They say she “looks nice.” Then we see Ginny, but “she dates all the boys.” She thinks it will make her popular, but really, everyone hates her, even the boys she “parks in cars” with. “No, girls who park in cars are not ‘really popular,’ not even with the boys they park with.” The nice looking new girl is invited to join them at a table.

02:29Copy video clip URL Carolyn at home. One of the boys from school, Wally, invites her on a date. He suggests a number of possible activities, which is better for both of them, because Carolyn gets a sense of Wally’s price range and doesn’t have to just come up with something off the top of her head.

03:29Copy video clip URL The date. Wally is introduced to Carolyn’s parents. Carolyn excuses herself to get a scarf, and Wally makes polite conversation with her parents. The parents offer the couple some brownies for after the date, which is good because it saves Wally money and there is a clear way to end the date. They decide the curfew beforehand.

05:54Copy video clip URL “Meet King Joe.” Cartoon. Joe is described as, “The king of the workers of the world.” Man gets out of work at a factory and drives to stores. The voiceover tells us that he buys more with his wages than other workers around the world. The voiceover explains that Joe is not any stronger or smarter than anyone else. It is due to the American way that he is so successful. A time machine appears and we see how hard people worked in the past. We see that Joe’s grandfather had to work 69 hours a week in 1850 because he did not have machines. We learn about the amazing power of machines that enable Joe to earn more than any worker in history and still have leisure time. Joe asks about the rich people. The answer is that the rich people are the ones who have let Joe have such a good life through American freedoms.

09:37Copy video clip URL “Dating Do’s and Don’ts.” 1949. How do you say goodnight “at the end of a perfect evening”? We see a couple enact a few different options and the results. The guy tries to kiss the girl and she gets mad and runs in. The second time he abruptly leaves when they get to the door and she feels offended and sad. The third way is the right way: She suggests that next time they get home in time for them to have a sandwich at her house and then they make plans for next week. The guy leaves whistling.

11:24Copy video clip URL “The Last Date.” 1950. Couples at a dance. A girl and guy leave and start driving somewhere. She begs him to drive more slowly, while he talks about what a skilled driver he is and begins to swerve in front of cars to demonstrate. The girl remembers a speech she heard about automobile danger. It is a definition of “Teen-acide,” which is defined as young people killing themselves and others with an automobile. He continues to drive recklessly. Car crashes head on as they go around a curve. Girl’s face is destroyed. Afterward, girl says she wished she died like Nick and the people in the other car because her face is too disfigured to look at. She says she’s had her last date, and she breaks a mirror.

14:59Copy video clip URL “What To Do On A Date.” 1951. Couple at a picnic. They sit down to drink sodas and eat sandwiches. They talk about how not every girl likes fancy dates at expensive restaurants. They both like outdoor activities like bicycle trips, miniature golf, baseball games, square dances, weenie roasts, band concerts, bowling competitions. The boy asks her to go to a weenie roast next week, and they discuss a double date. The segment ends with an image that says “Vote for Ike Eisenhower.”

16:36Copy video clip URL “Mother Takes a Holiday.” 1952. Girls at table typing at typewriter, and they are discussing an assignment. They talk about women’s liberation. One girl is apparently writing a term paper, while the other two are trying to help her. These girls seem to think that freedom from drudgery of chores is the best thing that has happened to women — now women have refrigerators, washing machines, etc.  She decides to write her paper about the miracle of washing machines and dryers, and “emancipation from old-fashioned chores.”

19:09Copy video clip URL “Sniffles and Sneezes.” 1955. Information on viruses. These can be scattered by sneezing and coughing or through hands that touch other things. Germs are transferred an improbable distance by people who touch things.  They follow germs as they can travel on doorknobs, etc.

20:59Copy video clip URL “The Relaxed Wife.” 1957. The definition of the Greek word “ataraxia” is “peace of mind,” the opposite of “anxiety, fatigue and the blues.” A bubbling chemistry laboratory demonstrates the use of medicine in aiding anxiety. A medicine can help stressed people: the medicine of relaxation. A man reads bad news in the paper but changes the headlines from bad to good with his relaxed attitude.

22:50Copy video clip URL “Let Yourself Go.” 1940. (An excerpt) We see how rooms can double in function. Some rooms are unused, like guest rooms and dining rooms. These can be used as relaxation rooms if a wall is removed to create a large recreation room. A doctor on a projected film gives relaxation tips for muscles.

24:40Copy video clip URL “Magic in the Air.” 1941. Large crowds. Football game. Everyone enjoys them, if they can get a ticket. We see people fighting for tickets. Man goes home depressed since he didn’t get one. But now he can watch the game on TV! We are shown how the cameramen shoot the game and how the game is transmitted to your home. We see a reproduction of early TV broadcasts compared with new ones — the old broadcast is blurry, while the new one is clear. The voiceover talks about the magic of television.

27:05Copy video clip URL “To Market To Market.” 1942. Voiceover explains the merits of billboards. We see that they are everywhere in Chicago. Shots of many brand names on billboards. These locations are scientifically planned to optimize exposure to drivers. Also, the billboards are planned to be seen by people using public transportation. They are also scientifically planned to be seen by people going to and from places like supermarkets, work, movies, etc. Voiceover repeatedly stresses the science involved in billboard placement, claiming they utilize known rules of traffic to create a scientifically established figure of daily passing figures, which is never wrong. Shots of men putting up billboards. The voice over stresses that repetition creates consumer remembrance. Billboards are scientific and strategic. By General Outdoor Advertising Company. Good footage of Chicago with old Lakeshore Drive and streetcars.  Ends with a billboard that says “The End.”

31:19Copy video clip URL End of tape.



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