What’s more important? Being a good winner or a good loser?
Does being a good winner make it more difficult to be a good loser?
Should an individual loss matter if it contributes to a team victory?
When your child loses, is it a good idea to relentlessly taunt them about it?
These questions and more are explored in the 1953 short film, The Good Loser. This is one of those films that they used to show in schools in order to teach students how to …. well I’m not sure what anyone learns in The Good Loser. It tells the story of Ray, who is the best public speaker in all of Kansas or, at least, he is until he makes the mistake of agreeing to mentor Marilyn. After Marilyn beats him at the speech and debate tournament, Ray throws a little hissy fit. It doesn’t help that everyone — from his classmates to his own father — is making fun of him for losing to his protegee.
“What do you think?” the narrator asks and I’ll tell you. I’ve never been a good loser so I totally think that Ray has every right to drop out of school and spend the rest of his life wandering around the country, drifting from job-to-job and refusing to trust anyone. “Second place just means you’re the best loser.” A teacher said that to me once and the end result was …. well, actually, I think I was kinda like, “Really? The best?” Anyway….
Now, if you’re wondering why I’m sharing this video in October, it’s because this film was directed by Herk Harvey. Harvey made a career out of directing short educational films but, to horror audiences, he’s best known for directing a classic horror film called Carnival of Souls. Carnival of Souls is a film that I’ll be sharing on later in the month. On the surface, The Good Loser may not appear to have much in common with Carnival of Souls. However, I think you can compare Ray’s insensitive classmates to the insensitive ghosts who haunted Candace Hilligoss in Carnival. If nothing, they’re all similarly relentless. They’re also all jerks, if you ask me.
What do you think?