Basic Typing, Part 1: Methods (film #189 on Prelinger Archive). [Category: Military & Propaganda]

This is a World War II vintage Navy training film. Nevertheless, we know which naval personnel it is aimed at when it asserts that "typewriters make it possible for women and girls to do work as important as men." Meaning no Navy man had to mess around with this sissy typing stuff. A female typing champion narrates most of the film, primly giving out more rules than a Simmel-Misservy manners film. You know a time-and-motion study specialist was involved in this when she carefully and repeatedly shows us the one and only proper way to insert paper into the typewriter. This is as stark as the typical military training film, with absolutely no music on the soundtrack, just narration and typing sounds. It's not quite as boring as it sounds, though, because it brings back all those memories of typing, such as handling greasy ribbons; struggling with those stupid typing erasers that didn't properly erase until you had worn a hole in the paper, which required you to retype the whole damn page, cursing all the while; malfunctioning machines that placed certain letters above the baseline, or filled in the openings in O's or A's; trying desperately to type out forms and align the linespacing so the letters will go on the blanks, not under or over; and the horrors of carbon paper. Lots of vintage typewriters, including what must have been the first electric typewriter, are also shown. Remember, what you type is not as important as how you type. The purpose of this is improved communication.

Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: ***. Weirdness: ***. Historical Interest: *****. Overall Rating: ****.

Popular posts from this blog