ABCs of Walking Wisely (film #282 on Prelinger Archive). [Category: Educational]

This Sid Davis children's pedestrian safety film features an annoyingly cheerful and self-righteous female narrator, a cheerfully upbeat and annoying soundtrack, primitive cartoons of anthropomorphic letters of the alphabet, and lots of scenes of kids almost being hit by cars, enough so that you start to wonder about the safety of the child actors in the film. Its premise, that both good and bad pedestrians can be likened to letters of the alphabet, is absurd, but that's par for the course for this kind of film. For a Sid Davis film, this is remarkably mild, though there is a scary scene of one kid almost getting picked up by a hitchhiker, and in Sid Davis' world we all know what that means (except for the narrator, who stupidly supposes the motorist in question might be a "bad driver"). And you don't want to know what the "X-walker" is (though fortunately he is not graphically portrayed). I want the original drawings of the anthropomorphic letters for the Film Ephemera Museum of Quirky Devices.

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

All-American Soap Box Derby (film #322 on Prelinger Archive). [Category: Educational]

General Motors sponsored this film, as well as the derby, which was supposed to be a tribute to the "All-American Boy." The bombastic narration lends a campy air to the proceedings, which is good, because otherwise they'd be pretty dull, especially the awards banquet at the end. Campy moments include the opening montage of "friendly competition," which goes from friendly games of marbles on to progressively more aggressive sports, such as football, wrestling, and boxing, all while the narrator expounds on how this builds character; the closing montage of faces of boys dissolving into each other, seemingly communicating a message of conformity, and the closing assertion that these boys would go on to fight other battles which is superimposed over an American flag––considering the timing of the film you can't help wondering how many of them would die in World War II. A ripe film for msting.

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

The Arnold Stang Show (track #10 on TV Turkeys (Rhino, 1987)). [Category: Early Film & TV]

This five-minute early 50s "short-short" show featuring comedian Arnold Stang is both lame and weird. The jokes are lame and sexist, but Stang also adds short film clips to try to punch things up, which makes it weirder than it might be otherwise. He gets a lot of mileage from a rather upsetting clip of a man hitting a woman––this was supposed to be funny? Deserves its presence on TV Turkeys.

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

Abolene Creme Commercial (film #284 on Prelinger Archive). [Category: Commercial]

This 60s cold creme commercial features a model whose face has been divided in half by a dotted line so that a comparison can be made between Abolene Creme (they keep calling it a "warm cream"--ugh!) and The Other Leading Brand (remember them?). This is mildly weird and objectifying. There's also some fairly disgusting greasy skin footage. Other than that, this is pretty standard.

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

Afro Mood Burlesque (film #300 on Prelinger Archive). [Category: Sleaze & Outsider]

A Hispanic exotic dancer shakes her booty to some hot Latin rhythms. Then she appears in a different costume to rhumba the night away. During this segment, she does some acrobatic tricks, such as doing a complete backbend and picking up a handkerchief in her mouth, and doing the splits. Mostly, though, she just shakes her booty. All in the name of multiculturalism, of course. What this has to do with Africa, though, is questionable.

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

Agriculture - New Farms from Grand Coulee (film #7 on Prelinger Archive). [Category: Public Service]

This short film announces the opening of the Grand Coulee Dam and explains the benefits of the dam, both in terms of irrigation and electricity generation. That's it, really, though there's some historical value here.

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

Amusement Park (film #332 on Prelinger Archive). [Category: Outtakes & Obscurities]

This is a home movie of a Cub Scout trip to Disneyland during the 60s. The rawness of it gives you a real sense of what a visit to the place must have been like back then. Most of it doesn't look that much fun, but everybody is smiling, so what do I know? I do like the dorky-looking car ride and the spinning teacups, though.

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

Classic Sci-Fi Trailers, Vol. 2 (Sinister Cinema). [Category: Commercial]

More science fiction movie trailers, again mostly from the 50s, and again, lots of fun. This tape gets 5 extra points for throwing in some drive-in snack bar promos and ephemera.


  • Gimmick Alert! Richard Carlson tells us all about 3-D in the trailer for It Came from Outer Space.
  • Certain scenes in Robot Monster "will terrify you with their brutal reality!" See the movie to find out why we're all snickering.
  • You too will be petrified by The Man Who Turned to Stone!
  • The Monster of Piedras Blancas is "a claw-fingered, scaly-skinned, half- human crustacean!" The movie itself is "the screen's Monsterama of incredible sights and frights!" It was named "the most brain-paralyzing shock story of them all!" Just who writes this stuff, anyway?
  • The severed head in The Brain That Wouldn't Die was "a woman defying society's conventions!"
  • Beyond the Time Barrier takes place exactly "64 years into the terrifying future!"
  • Msties, take note: contains the trailers for Robot Monster, Terror from the Year 5000, Night of the Blood Beast, The Brain That Wouldn't Die, and The Leech Woman.

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

Berkeley Fire, 1923 (film #444 on Prelinger Archive). [Category: News]

More newsreel footage from the same fire documented in Berkeley, California Fire. This clip features some hyperbolic title cards ("BERKELEY BURNS!") and footage of people trying to salvage random possessions, including one thoroughly befuddled guy who doesn't know what to do with a mirror. Like the other film, this has mostly historical value.

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

Fan Dance Starring Sally Rand (film #6 on Exploitation Mini-Classics, Vol. 1 (Sinister Cinema)). [Category: Sleaze & Outsider]

Fan dancing was quite the racy thing in the 1930s, though it wouldn't raise an eyebrow today. It basically consists of a woman who just might be naked dancing with a couple of large fans that cover her body most of the time, but sometimes briefly reveal areas of the body that aren't usually revealed. The point was supposed to be the tease that if you watch really closely, maybe you could catch a glimpse of the dancer's naughty bits. Sally Rand was the queen of fan dancers, though it's hard to tell why in this short, since it's obvious she's wearing some sort of body stocking under the fans, which lowers the titillation factor considerably.

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

Beginning Responsibility: Taking Care of Things

Beginning Responsibility: Taking Care of Things . Grade-schooler Andy is a slacker in the taking-care-of-things department, so he suffers t...