A Blast From The Past: Case Study: LSD

Though it’s been a while since we last did so, we occasionally like to share old educational and promotional films here at the Shattered Lens.  For some reason, we always seem to end up sharing quite a lot of them in October.  Something about the over-the-top educational format just tends to bring out the ghoulish melodrama in some aspiring filmmakers.

Take Case Study: LSD, for instance!  This 3 and a half minute film is from 1969.  It was made to dissuade viewers from experimenting with LSD but I get the feeling that I probably just mostly inspired people to try to recreate the infamous hot dog scene.

It’s a good film for October, though.  Plus, I like looking at all the hippies in their hippie clothes.  GET A HAIRCUT, YOU HIPPIES!

Believe it or not, Case Study: LSD has a page over at the IMDb but no director is listed.  Judging from the film’s use of still frames, I’m going to guess that it was directed by Chris Marker.


A Blast From The Past: Make Mine Freedom

Hi there!

Well, it’s May 1st!  Not only is it International Worker’s Day but, here in the United States, it is also Loyalty Day!

What are you supposed to do on Loyalty Day?  To be honest, I’m not really sure.  I actually didn’t even know there was such a thing as Loyalty Day until about two years ago.  I guess I’ll spend this Loyalty Day as I spent previous Loyalty Days, ironically commenting on the fact that it’s Loyalty Day.

So, with all that in mind, here’s a rather odd blast from the past (1948, to be exact) called Make Mine Freedom.  It’s a cartoon about why America rules and the rest of the world sucks.  Woo hoo!  Praise the Lord and pass the ammunition!  USA!  USA! USA!

As for the cartoon itself, it’s charmingly odd and will be best enjoyed by people who have a sense of humor about their ideology.  (Good luck finding anyone like that in 2017.  Those of us who think that both the left and the right are worthy of ridicule are becoming an endangered species.)  This cartoon was produced by Arkansas’s Harding College and, online, there seems to be some debate over who actually directed it.  Some sources claim that this was one of the first projects on which Joseph Barbera and William Hanna ever worked.  Others insist that this film should be properly credited to either Fritz Freling or Fred Moore.

Well, whoever directed it, did a good job of exposing that mean old Dr. Utopia…

Enjoy Make Mine Freedom and happy May Day!


Twin Blasts From The Past: What To Do On A Date and Dating Do’s and Don’ts (dir by Ted Peshak)

It’s been a while since I’ve shared any old educational films here on the Shattered Lens but I figured now might be the perfect time to share an old movie from 1951, What To Do On A Date.  Produced by the good (or so I assume) people at Coronet Films, What To Do On A Date is … well, the plot is pretty much in the title.

Now, to be honest, this could have just as easily been called What To Do On A Date If You Want To Make Sure That Lisa Never Agrees To A Second Date.  Seriously, this is totally squaresville.  Like real Melvin.  But you know what?  I’m notoriously hard to please and, with Valentine’s Day coming up, this may be helpful to someone.

I don’t know who, exactly.  But hey, it’s on YouTube and that’s the important thing.

(I’m all about helping.  You know that.)

If you still need help after What To Do On A Date, you can watch 1949’s Dating Do’s and Don’ts.  It was directed by the same guy who did What To Do On A Date.  People in the 1940s were notorious for knowing what to do on dates.  The Baby Boom didn’t just happen, y’know.

(Apparently, the version of Dating Do’s and Don’ts uploaded to YouTube is incomplete.  But you’ll get the general point.)


A Blast From The Past: Capitalism

If you’re a long time reader of the site, you may know that I occasionally enjoy tracking down old educational films.  If nothing else, they’re good time capsules and you know how much I love history.  And, since we’re in the middle of an election year and people are tossing around all sorts of labels and claims about history, I figured why not share something from the past?

Capitalism is from 1948 and it features a group of teenagers (who apparently have their own radio talk show) sitting around and debating whether or not capitalism is a good thing or a bad thing.  After spending a long amount of time debating whether or not local storekeeper Mr. Brown is a businessmen or a parasite, the teenagers (who all appear to be in their mid-20s) start their show and immediately start to visualize various adults giving their opinion on capitalism.  The teenagers also remind us that “this is your forum.  What is capitalism?”

Since the film is from 1948, you can probably guess that the message of this film should not be mistaken for the message of Michael Moore’s documentary of the same name.

As I watched Capitalism, I couldn’t help but wonder where those teenagers were now.  I imagine that some of them are probably dead but undoubtedly, there’s a few who are still alive and they’re probably still freaking out over their grandchildren voting for Bernie Sanders.

“Why, I remember when I used to host a radio forum and me and my high school peers very politely discussed this very subject!”

“Whatever, grandpa.  Have you seen my Che Guevara shirt?”

Who knows?

I just hope that Mr. Brown eventually made enough money to retire some place nice.  Yes, he may have charged too much but he had the right to make a living, dammit!

Blast From the Past: A Day In The Death of Donny B (dir by Carl Fick)

Just a few hours earlier, I was going through my DVR and I discovered that I had recorded, off of TCM, a film called A Day In The Death of Donny B.  That title immediately caught my attention (and I imagine that the title is probably what inspired me to record the film in the first place).  A Day In The Death of Donny B sounds like the title of something that would have come out of Andy Warhol’s Factory in the late 60s, maybe starring Joe Dallesandro as Donny B and Edie Sedgwick as herself.

So, of course, I simply had to watch it to discover just who Donny B was and how many days it would take him to die.  Add to that, I also noticed that the film only lasted 15 minutes, making it the perfect viewing experience for someone, like me, who has absolutely no attention span.

Anyway, I watched it and I discovered that it’s not a Warhol film.  However, it was filmed in 1969 and it contains a lot of cinéma vérité-style footage of the slums of New York City, which means that it takrd place in roughly the same world as some of Warhol’s films.  It turns out that The Death of Donny B was produced by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.  It’s an anti-drug film, obviously designed to speak to young and black audiences.

The film follows an African-American addict named Donny B as he wanders through the shadows of New York City and tries to scrounge up enough money to buy heroin.  While we watch him go about his day, we listen to voice overs from former addicts and some of Donny’s family members.  They all agree that Donny is basically a huge loser.  Donny B. is credited as playing himself and he has a definite screen presence, even if he looks a bit too healthy for someone who, we’re told, shoots heroin several times a day.

The film itself is shot in harshly beautiful black-and-white and the soundtrack features a droning song (credited to someone named Harry Holt) that, for the most part, consists lyrically of: “It’s a day in the death of Donny B…” and trust me, that song will get stuck in your head.  Today, of course, the main appeal of The Death of Donny B is that it’s a time capsule of when it was made.  For those of us who might be curious as to what New York was like back in the dangerous 1960s, The Death of Donny B is our time machine.

And you can watch it below!

And if you happen to be Donny B, leave a comment below because we would love to hear from you!

A Blast From The Past: Rural Holidays

Hi there!

So, as you may know, I am on vacation for the next two weeks.  However, even though I’m off and having fun, I didn’t want to forget about our site’s wonderful readers!  So, I thought about it and I decided, why not share a blast from the past called Rural Holidays?

I haven’t been able to find out much background info on this little film.  It was obviously made in the 1960s and it’s meant to encourage city people to go out to the country on vacation.  I have to admit that the main reason that I like this film is because I’ve always been a secret history nerd.  I’m fascinated by how people used to live!

And that’s what Rural Holidays provides.  It’s a time capsule and you know how much I love those!

A Blast From The Past: Red Nightmare (directed by George Waggner)

Hi there!  Happy Labor Day!

Now, I have to be honest.  I’m not really sure what the point of Labor Day is.  I have no idea what we’re supposed to be celebrating today.  I’ve got the day off, which seems kind of unfair when you consider that people who have far worse jobs than me — i.e., the actual laborers — are having to work.

Like many Americans, I spent this weekend hanging out with my extended family.  On Sunday, I did a poll of every cousin, aunt, uncle, sister, niece, and nephew that I could find and almost every single one of them agreed with me that Labor Day sounded like something tedious that Jesse Myerson would come up with and then demand that everyone celebrate.  In short, it sounded communistic.

So, with that in mind, I think the best way to start out Labor Day would be by watching this educational film from 1962.  In Red Nightmare, Jerry Donavon (Jack Kelly) takes his freedom for granted.  So, Jack Webb shows up and casts a magic spell, which causes Jerry to have a dream about what it would be like to live in a communist society.  In fact, you could even say that Jack Webb gives Jerry a red nightmare!

So, there’s two ways to review a film like Red Nightmare.  We can either debate the film’s politics and get into a big discussion about economics and policy and all that crap and OH MY GOD, doesn’t that just sound perfectly tedious?  Or, we can simply enjoy Red Nightmare for what it is, a histrionic but sincere time capsule of what was going on in the psyche of 1962 America.

Red Nightmare!  Watch it before getting brainwashed by Labor Day!