The 1959 short film, The Trouble Maker, tells the story of Mel Stone (played by Bret Waller).
Mel is the least popular student at his high school and it’s not hard to see why. Mel is seriously creepy. He spends all of his time sneaking through the hallways, following around the members of the football team and lying about the girls that they go to school with. When Mel spots a member of the team “breaking training,” he starts spreading rumors and trying to make life difficult for everyone.
The title claims that Mel is a trouble maker but actually, he comes across like a total sociopath. He even stalks the members of the football team outside of school, the better to collect gossip about them. The film’s narrator encourages us to wonder why Mel is the way that he is and if there’s anything that we, as a group, can do to make Mel become a better person. To be honest, it seems like the only solution to a problem like Mel is to frame him for a crime and send him to prison until his 21st birthday. Admittedly, Mel would probably be even more dangerous once he got out but that’s why you move to a different town after graduating from high school.
The Trouble Maker was one of the many educational short films to be directed by Herk Harvey, who made a career out of films like this. Today, of course, Harvey is best known for directing the seminal horror film, Carnival of Souls. We’ll be sharing Carnival of Souls in an hour but, for now, enjoy The Trouble Maker and be sure to ask yourself….
What Would You Do?