Social guidance film

Social guidance film

Social guidance films constitute a genre of films attempting to guide children and adults to behave in certain ways. Typically shown in school classrooms in the USA from the 1950s through the 1970s, the films covered topics including courtesy, responsibility, sexuality, drug use, and driver safety; the genre also includes films for adults, covering topics such as marriage and how to balance budgets.


Social guidance films were generally produced by corporations such as Coronet Films, Centron Corporation, and even Encyclopædia Britannica, but the films were also produced by maverick independent filmmakers such as Sid Davis, dubbed by author Ken Smith as the "King of Calamity" for his often calamitous narratives.

Notorious social guidance films include "Duck and Cover" (instructing children to duck under their desks in case of nuclear war, and including the famous cartoon with the turtle and the stick of dynamite to illustrate the point), and "Boys Beware", a film warning of the dangers of male homosexuals, actually described as pedophiles.

Appearances In Other Media

As films in this genre are usually in public domain, they have been used in more modern productions outside of their intended purpose. A number of short social guidance films, such as "Posture Pals" and "Are You Ready for Marriage?", were featured and lampooned on the television comedy series "Mystery Science Theater 3000" to provide padding for episodes in which the featured movie and host segments could not fill out the program's roughly 90-minute running time. On "The Weird Al Show", clips from still other films were taken and edited together with new voiceovers to make parodies.

Also, some elements of social guidance film were used in "Fallout" computer game series in order to build apropriate "climate" of postnuclear era.

ee also

*Social problem film

Additional resources

*"", Ken Smith, (c) 1999, published by Blast Books, ISBN 0-922233-21-7
*"Our Secret Century", a collection of 12 CD-ROMs compiled by film archivist Rick Prelinger
* [ The Prelinger Archives at the Internet Archive]
* [ AV Geeks at the Internet Archive]

External links

*" [ Duck and Cover] "

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