[Studs Terkel in three industrial films]

Three industrial films from the 1940s and '50s that feature Studs Terkel. In an excerpt from "Beginning to Date" (1953) Terkel plays a high school diving instructor and offers advice to students on proper dating etiquette. The second film on this tape, "No Vacancies" (1946), is about the crisis that plagued many returning WWII soldiers who could not afford housing. Terkel is the narrator in this piece and for the final piece, "The Living City" (1953), which deals with urban issues.

0:00Copy video clip URL “Beginning To Date” (1953). Industrial film teaching kids how to begin dating. Studs Terkel appears briefly as a gym teacher who compares beginning to date with learning to dive.

2:43Copy video clip URL “No Vacancies” (1946). Instructional, almost socialist, film dealing with affordable housing problems in the United States. The film targets the patriotic World War II veteran who has worked hard for his country but comes back and can’t afford a decent home. “He’s a hero alright… but he hasn’t got a place to live. He hasn’t got a decent place to live.” The film plays on the unfairness of the fact that the businessmen became rich off the soldiers’ industry during the war, but the soldiers themselves have no money. The film’s thesis is that bureaucracy is preventing cheap housing and that politicians have the power to change this if there is a national movement to convince them to do so. “Housing is a national problem, Jim. If a national housing policy is established, it will go a long way to change this problem.” The film emphasizes the need to organize to create modernized zoning laws and codes, slum clearance, and a national housing agency that makes a unified national housing policy. “By yourself you’ll never get a place to live… but 50 million of you can.” You (as a part of the U.S. army) built thousands of tanks, you (as a U.S. citizen) can create affordable housing. Studs Terkel narrates. Win Stracke appears briefly as a bank loan officer.

14:37Copy video clip URL “The Living City” (1953). Instructional film dealing with urban problems such as how are existing slums to be eliminated, how to deal with congestion, etc. “How did our cities get this way?” “I was in bombed out cities in Europe in the war. And then I came back to Chicago to this.” We need to tear down the slums, and build up new affordable housing. Studs Terkel narrates.

 

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