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Showing posts from July 2, 2006
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Fire and Police Service (in the Ephemeral section of Open Video Project. Also, film #517 on Prelinger Archive). [Category: Industrial]This vocational guidance film from the 30s goes over careers in firefighting and police work. The first half goes over how firefighters are trained, while the second half talks about the different kinds of police work available, such as walking a beat, traffic control, criminal investigation, and crime prevention (this last being touted as something that requires “policewomen as well as men”). This is all pretty straightforward, but it does give you an interesting snapshot of how police officers and firefighters were trained back in the 30s.
Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: **. Weirdness: **. Historical Interest: ****. Overall Rating: ***.
A Car-Tune Portrait (film #5 on Disc #12 of 100 Cartoon Classics DVD Megapack (Treeline Films, 2004)). Also, film #5 on Disc #3 of 150 Cartoon Classics DVD Megapack (Mill Creek Entertainment, 2005)). [Category: Hollywood]A lion orchestral conductor tries to tell us that his animal orchestra will perform serious classical music, eschewing the silly tomfoolery we’ve come to expect from cartoon characters, but you just know this won’t last. Fortunately, it doesn’t. An amusing Max Fleischer toon.
Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: ***. Weirdness: ****. Historical Interest: ***. Overall Rating: ****.
A Date with Your Family (film #27 on Ephemeral Films CD-ROM (Voyager). Also, MST3K Episode #602: Invasion U.S.A. Also, film #5 on Disc #4 of The Mystery Science Theater 3000 Collection, Vol. 2 DVD (Rhino). Also in the Ephemeral section of Open Video Project. Also, film #4 on Our Secret Century, Vol. 3: The Behavior Offensive CD-ROM (Voyager). Also, film #395 on Prelinger Archive). [Category: Educational]Are you afflicted with 50s nostalgia? If so, this film is a good cure. 50s kids are told in no uncertain terms that family harmony is their responsibility and is dependent upon good manners and "appropriate" behavior at the dinner table. A standard of perfection in family dining is shown that kids are expected to live up to every night! There is no room in the perfect family dinner for emotions, child requests of any kind, or any other kind of talk likely to stir the emotions. This kind of repression was the dark side of the "nice" families portrayed in sitcoms of t…
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Capture of Boer Battery (film #53 on Edison Film Archive). [Category: Early Film & TV]A bunch of soldiers, who look to be the Boers, shoot at an advancing enemy from a hill, until they are eventually overtaken by that enemy. One of the Boers gets shot and falls dramatically while a Scotsman in a kilt runs by. A historically interesting slice of the Boer War. A 1900 Edison film.
Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: *. Weirdness: **. Historical Interest: ****. Overall Rating: ***.
ABC (film #23 in the 1972 section of TVParty). [Category: Commercial]Promo for the 1972 fall season on ABC, featuring kaleidoscope graphics and the “This Is the Place to Be” jingle. No scenes from the shows, though. The jingle is mildly catchy, but mostly this is ordinary.
Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: **. Weirdness: **. Historical Interest: ***. Overall Rating: **.
The Enchanted Well (film #4 on Marvelous Melies (A-1 Video)). [Category: Early Film & TV]A dorky guy spurns a beggar from drinking from his well, so the beggar casts a spell on it. Soon the well is behaving in a most un-well-like way, such as spouting flames, growing to twice its size, and spewing forth pitchfork-weilding demons. Then things get really unbelievable as our hero is attacked by an early version of Cecil the Dragon (as in Beany &...). Melies was at his best with this kind of thing, especially when he focused on unbelievably silly hellspawn. A 1903 Melies film.
Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: ****. Weirdness: *****. Historical Interest: ****. Overall Rating: ****.
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The Bedazzled Video Show #2 (film #21 in the Film section of Bedazzled). [Category: Sleaze & Outsider]Fun collection of youth-oriented ephemera, including several TV commercials featuring the Monkees; an interview with the Sex Pistols on British TV in which they say things that wouldn’t have been allowed on American TV; a thoroughly appalling toy gun commercial which features gunslinging heroes on TV giving kids toy guns through the TV set and cops marveling at how realistic the toy guns are; a dorky Scopitone of Gary Lewis & the Playboys singing “Little Miss Go-Go”; the campy opening sequence from the AIP movie Riot on Sunset Strip, a commercial for the game Slap Trap (I remember that one from when I was a kid); and the Only Ones performing on BBC television. This collection of stuff is great fun for anyone who was a kid or teenager during the 60s or 70s.
Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: ****. Weirdness: ****. Historical Interest: *****. Overall Rating: ****.
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Man of Action (in the Ephemeral section of Open Video Project. Also, film #886 on Prelinger Archive). [Category: Public Service]This animated film features an “average fellow” who meets the Devil (or his envoy, anyway), who has a plan to turn his nice neighborhood into a slum. The devilish character tells the homeowner all about the recent transformation of Paradise Gardens, a housing development that the homeowner’s grandfather used to live in, from a suburb to a slum, and how the homeowner’s neighborhood is right on schedule in his slum transformation book. The homeowner bucks the devil’s urban planner by stealing his book and going to the city council to try to get them to take steps to prevent the creation of further slums. Predictably, the council thinks the guy is a crackpot and throws him out, while the landlords buck for no change at all. However, when the homeowner uses the stolen book to accurately predict the fall of an old decrepit factory chimney, he gets public support, …
American Sportsman (film #25 in the 1972 section of TVParty). [Category: Outtakes & Obscurities]Blooper from the TV fishing show “American Sportsman,” in which our host contentedly eats his catch, talking about how good it is, until he orders the shot to be cut, because he can’t eat any more really bad fish. Mildly amusing, and will probably confirm suspicions about TV food.
Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: ***. Weirdness: ***. Historical Interest: ****. Overall Rating: ***.
Election 2001 – ITV News (film #11 in the News section of TVArk). [Category: News]Long clip from the opening of British election night coverage on ITV news. The anchor, Jonathan Dimbleby (think that name would fly in the US?), tries hard to wow us with all the techno-goodies on the huge election night set, including a pretty cool-looking virtual reality setup where the announcer gets to wander around inside the charts that show the polling results. One of the more interesting recent election-night clips on TVArk.
Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: ***. Weirdness: ***. Historical Interest: ****. Overall Rating: ***.
Fighting Tools (film #7 on The Complete Uncensored Private SNAFU DVD (Image Entertainment, 1999). Also, film #11 on V for Victory WWII Cartoons & Shorts Show (Something Weird, 1996)). [Category: Military & Propaganda]Private SNAFU is no match for a huge Nazi, for although he has superior weapons, none of them work properly because he failed to take care of them. This story is told, amazingly enough, musically, making this one of the wilder and funnier SNAFUs.
Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: ****. Weirdness: ***. Historical Interest: ****. Overall Rating: ****.