The Days of Our Years (MST3K Episode #623: The Amazing Transparent Man. Also on disc 4 of The Mystery Science Theater Collection, Vol. 3 DVD (Rhino, 2003). Also, film #1 on Our Secret Century, Vol. 4: Menace and Jeopardy CD-ROM (Voyager). Also, film #408 on Prelinger Archive). [Category: Industrial]

One of the most maudlin safety films ever made. A pastor in a railroad town tells us the tragic stories of three of his parishioners, all of whom were victims of the safety film's ubiquitous bugaboo: carelessness. A truck driver speeds on the way to meet his fiancee, gets in an accident, and ends up with a permanent spinal cord injury; an engineer approaching retirement has a heart attack while working and accidentally runs over and kills his best friend and across-the-street neighbor; and a new father is blinded by a welding torch when he startles a welder while handing out cigars. Of course, the railroad (the Union Pacific, who made this film) is in no way responsible for these accidents, the pastor reminds us over and over. And, of course, the victims and their families are doomed to a life of bitterness forever after. Most safety films, in an attempt to produce feelings of pity for accident victims (and scare their audiences), actually promote appalling attitudes towards them. This film is one of the worst of the bunch in that respect. Although the fiancee of the injured truck driver marries him anyway (because she's "that kind of girl"), she wears ordinary street clothes to the very sparsely-attended wedding––I guess that people with spinal cord injuries aren't entitled to fancy weddings. The new father who was blinded sits on the porch bitterly smoking and occasionally playing with the baby (whom he, of course, "has never seen"). The guy who had the heart attack gets the worst of the lot––it's obvious that his neighbors now despise him, and deservedly so. How careless of him to have had a heart attack! In all cases, the victims' lives are shown to be essentially over. Rehabilitation and adaptation to disabilities is not even hinted at. I wonder if some of the prejudice and discrimination towards the disabled is due to films like this. The msting is great fun, though: "I had an accident, too!" "Obey the toaster!" "Don't forget to worship at the railroad of your choice." One of the best shorts of the Mike era.

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

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