Civil Defense Commercials (film #6 on Atomic Scare Films, Vol. 1 (Something Weird, 1996)). [Category: Military & Propaganda]

These are really 5 promos for the National Guard. Two of them feature a singing cowboy who I probably should be able to identify, since he seemed to have his own tv show, but can't. Two of them are animated in the 50s "cute" style, which is highly unusual for armed services promos. A nice, historically interesting extra on the Atomic Scare Films tape.

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

And Then There Were Four.

Jimmy Stewart narrates this real weeper of a driver’s ed film from the 40s. We are introduced to five “ordinary people,” one of which will die in a car accident before the day is over. At one point, Stewart apologizes for the next scene, but there is no gore in it, just footage of a burning car. It wouldn’t be until the 60s that driver’s ed films would bring up your lunch. Instead, this uses soap opera tactics, dragging out the suspense of finding out which character ends up dead, showing all their family members worrying and twisting their hands. Is it the jerky rich white guy who dies? The teen hot-rodder? The poor-but-lovable ethnic gardener? No, it’s the one that jerks the most tears. Stewart’s presence makes this more interesting than it might be, but it’s not nearly as much fun as Tomorrow’s Drivers.

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

Better Reading

Better Reading . Teenager Harold Wilson has a problem—he can’t read for (expletive deleted). So he has to spend all his free time studying ...