EPHEMERA: SEX, THE PREDATOR, AND YOU.
Approx. 80 min. USA.
THURSDAY, JULY 11 – 7:30 PM
THURSDAY, JULY 25 – 10:00 PM
No outlet served post-war American culture’s ebullient pride and prosperity better than that of the now-infamous educational film. Today these didactic artifacts are relegated to sideshow status by the likes of Pee-Wee’s Playhouse, Weird Al, MST3K and Adult Swim, all of whom freely lampoon such easy targets for their comically dated sensibilities.
Our monthly EPHEMERA program aims to present these documents to a contemporary audience in perhaps a more even light, ideally free from the ironic framing that can easily overwhelm some of their more interesting details. Fortunately… the humor is irrepressible.
July’s installment SEX, THE PREDATOR, AND YOU focuses on the common themes of adolescent sexual education and awareness. After a program of didactic shorts that run the gamut from hand-holding to menstruation-training will be the mashup BOYS BE AWARE, a home-made combination of two infamous, classically-homophobic Sid Davis atrocities that use the exact same script: Boys Aware (1973) and Boys Beware (1961). This edit switches between the two liberally, providing an interesting look at how the same piece of undeniably dated writing is manifest in two markedly different eras.
Finishing up the program will be the entirety of the notorious 1964 paranoia-bomb THE CHILD MOLESTER, a PSA so dark and foreboding that it seems equally inappropriate for children, teens, parents and even child molesters.
*WARNING: ‘THE CHILD MOLESTER’ FEATURES EXTREME IMAGERY*
Sources for SEX, THE PREDATOR, AND YOU include: As Boys Grow (1957), Boys Aware (1973), Boys Beware (1961), The Child Molester (1964), Dating Do’s and Don’ts (1949), Going Steady (1951), How Much Affection? (1958), Human Reproduction (1947), Molly Grows Up (1953), Physical Aspects of Puberty (1953), Social-Sex Attitudes In Adolescence (1953), What To Do On A Date (1950).
Special thanks to the Internet Archive, Rick Prelinger and everyone at the Prelinger Archive.
Rick Prelinger began collecting “ephemeral films”—all those educational, industrial, amateur, advertising, or otherwise sponsored—in 1982, amassing over 60,000 (all on physical film) before his Prelinger Archive was acquired by the Library of Congress in 2002. Since then, the collection has grown and diversified: now it exists in library form in San Francisco and is also gradually being ported online to the Internet Archive (http://archive.org), where 4,439 of its films are currently hosted (as of this writing).
Of course, the content of the Prelinger Archive’s films varies in accord with the variety of mankind. Historic newsreels, mid-century automobile infomercials, psychological experiments, medical procedurals, big oil advertisements, military recruitment videos, political propagandas, personal home videos, celebrity exposes, amateur narratives, scientific studies, war bulletins, instructional films, special interest op-eds, safety lessons, hobby guides, travel destination profiles and private industry productions all sit comfortably together in one marginalized category.