Wednesday, November 29, 2006
Parts of Nine (1947): "Math for Dessert"
This hard-to-find, early Young America Film explores every possible mathematic summation and subtraction of parts totaling and taking away from the number nine. Several times. This is presumably so that if you don’t catch on with the nine paper party hats, party favors and plates that little Peter sets out and counts and counts with the mechanics of an obsessive compulsive, you’ll definitely have figured out the various mathematical compositions of “nine” by the time you start counting those damn balloons! Midway through the film Mr. Projector had a horrifying thought: Is it remotely possible that YAF (later to become Centron) just may have produced such a film for all the natural numbers?! And why is seven year-old Peter coordinating his own party anyway? You have to admit there is something just an arm's length from tragic about Peter shouldering the burden of making all the arrangements for his own birthday party – but he seems to have that “if-you-want-it-done-right-do-it-yourself” type of happy-go-lucky assertiveness so uncommon in children his age, that we simply can’t feel sorry for him.
If you keep up with this blog regularly, as we here at ThinkStream Films are confident you do, you know that all of our staff is decidedly mathematically challenged. That’s why we like to have so much fun with chopping up the “math films” to help make them just a wee bit more entertaining. Fact is, we didn’t “get it” then, and we sure as heck don’t “get it” now.
In the process of cutting up this particular gem, it occurs to us that there is a startling common denominator (mathematical pun intended) present in most every “math film” we’ve come across from this era: Food! Primarily sweets such as cakes, cookies, and ice cream! Some of us may hearken back to a comparatively recent past, albeit two decades after this film was produced, when a blue, cookie counting monster revived such an association through the magic of children’s television programming. We may not come out of the classroom having learned much about numbers, but golly gee -do we have a sugar craving something fierce! Ironically, it’s perfectly feasible to guess that in a single school day in 1947, children might be exposed to one of these films bribing them to learn mathmatics with the enticement of something horribly sweet and bad for them, then turn right around and view one of the scarier dental hygiene or nutrition films - a basic slap-on-the hand as if to say, “we’ll give you all the tasty treats we know you want if you only learn to associate them with numbers so that you can be good (even if overweight and diabetic) little mathematicians; but you really need to know the repercussions of eating those tasty treats (i.e., becoming overweight and diabetic) before you're able to make that decision wisely...." Sound familiar? It should. This is the way the game of American politics has been played ever since the Whigs and the Jacksonians first made the reluctant decision to shake hands with one another (but only after spitting in them first).
Another thought: This film was released in 1947. So many things happening that year in post-war America: The US Government’s lawsuit against the motion picture giant Paramount was in full swing, ultimately leading to the US Supreme Court’s wholesale slaughter of the vertically integrated structure of the movie industry by enforcing a strict break-up of what had become a monopoly of distribution control and theatre and studio ownership. This was also the year that gave birth to the first successful children’s television program in America, Small Fry Club, as well as a whole host of “firsts” in television; among them, the first ever televised World Series - an event so momentous, many to this day erroneously consider 1947 to be the birth year of television itself. This was also the year that marked the first noticeable signs of urban sprawl, the unparalleled growth of suburbs, and the near immediate economic death of giant urban movie palaces (as well as many of the urban centers they inhabited). 1947 was also a year of overall peace, contentment, and conformity…. Incidentally, my parents were both born that year….
With all this as a backdrop for the unknowing baby-boomers just learning to add and subtract, we can’t help but think while viewing this film, of a more recent amazing year: 1969 – the year yet another milestone in children’s television programming premiered, Sesame Street, ushering in an unprecedented new era of non-commercially supported, education-driven entertainment. 1969 (lest we forget) was also the year of Apollo 11, Woodstock, war, and (this time) resistance to conformity….. Incidentally, that happened to be the year I first poked my head into the world….
In a nutshell, when we see this film from 1947, we feel as though what we are really seeing are the creative seeds of what would eventually grow and evolve to become that which was so eloquently represented in children’s educational television programming throughout the seventies, proudly pushing through the thick soil of history from which it sprouted its first noticeable greenery over half a century ago.
Note: The following clip was taken directly from the original 16mm print and has been edited (with all the numbers mixed up, of course!) to a mere fraction of the film's original length.
Friday, November 24, 2006
Functions of a City (1950s)
This hard-to-find print from Progressive documents the various functions of a city from fire control and policing, to water refinement and zoning challenges. Features drowning victim, old jails, theft, fingerprinting, play grounds and children, parks, swimming pools, traffic flow. Lots of great cityscape and street shots (pedestrians and cars).
We here at ThinkStream Films really like these drowning scenes. They are suspensful and dramatic! It is curious just how many people actually seem to drown in these films.
Note: The following clip was taken directly from the original 16mm print and has been edited to a mere fraction of the film's original length.
Sunday, November 19, 2006
Mr. Projector Goes Radioactive!
View the teaser for Mr. Projector! Episode 2, "It's Atomic!" right here, then download and watch the show! Great cosmic bits of radioactive matter! It's Atomic!
Friday, November 17, 2006
Mr. Projector! Episode #2: "It's Atomic!"
Subscribe to the Mr. Projector! podcast through iTunes by clicking the iTunes button on the side bar (on the left). To download Episode 2, "It's Atomic!" directly from this blog, Right-click Here and select "Save Target As," then choose a location on your hard drive to save the episode.
We here at ThinkStream films sincerely hope that among the many wonderful things you do this weekend, you will build into your schedule time to ensure that your fallout shelter, whether it be built in accord with OCMD guidelines, or simply the basement in your home, is equipped with everything you will need when the enemy strikes! Remember to include lots of games, wine, books to read, your iPod with this show on it, and (did we mention?) wine! Remember, you could be trapped in your fallout shelter for quite some time! Might as well make a vacation of it!
Speaking of vacations, Mr. Projector is going to have to wait for things outside to clear up a bit before he'll be able to leave his fallout shelter. And he was so looking forward to the upcoming holiday! Because of this, Episode 3 will not be released until Friday, December 3rd, when Mr. "P" presents an interview with a special surprise guest!
Enjoy this week's show! And don't forget about the CONTEST! (Tomorrow is your last day to enter!) Keep those reviews coming in!
Until next time!
Wednesday, November 15, 2006
Mechanisms of Breathing (1936)
This very early Erpi film was produced in collaboration with the University of Chicago’s Biological Sciences Series and features animal experiments and a dramatized (or is it?) drowning and victim of carbon monoxide poisoning from a car left running in a garage – both incidents complete with (very outdated) administration of what would later become CPR!
Note: The following clip was taken directly from the original 16mm print and has been edited to a mere fraction of the film's original length.
Saturday, November 11, 2006
LBJ Speaks to Students on US Vietnam Presence (1965)
Due to popular demand (from a frenzy of email received after the podcast of the very first episode of Mr. Projector! : "The Mistakes we Make"), we are proud to present for your viewing pleasure this gem, featured on Friday's show!
Many of you had questions regarding the source of the LBJ portions of the show. Here are some answers:
This clip is from the Hearst-Metronome Publishing Company's amazing Screen News Digest series of films that flooded the American public school system throughout the sixties. The clip has been significantly cut (thanks to our fabulously creative ThinkStream staff) from the original 16mm print entitled "Why Are We in Vietnam?". Oh yeah, and we've added a new soundtrack.
If the subject matter seems uncannily familiar to you, it's none of our doing; it's simply the nature of history.
Enjoy, and keep those comments, questions, and emails coming! Mr. Projector wants to hear from you!
Oh - and did Mr. "P" remind you to ENTER THE CONTEST? Do it. You'll be happy you did!
Friday, November 10, 2006
The Mistakes We Make - Mr. Projector!: Episode 1
Some folks just never seem to learn, do they?
ThinkStream Films is proud to present our premiere episode of Mr. Projector!
Subscribe to it through iTunes (you won't have to go get it every week, it will come get you!) right here, , or by clicking the iTunes button on the side bar!
To download Episode 1 directly from this blog, Right-click Here and select "Save Target As," then choose a location on your hard drive to save the episode.
Don't forget to ENTER THE CONTEST!
Wednesday, November 08, 2006
It's Official! The Mr. Projector Store is Open for Business! Get a FREE Mr. "P." Tee!
And Mr. "P." is so full of projectionist glee, that he is giving away a free (whoever said "nothing in life is free?!") "official" Mr. Projector T-shirt to the fan who writes the most creative "rave" review of our very first episode of "Mr. Projector", premiering this Friday, November 10th, 2006!
T-SHIRT GIVE-AWAY CONTEST RULES:
- Watch the episode! (on this blog, on your nifty iPod, or via subscription through the iTunes Store)
- Post a comment on the blog letting us know how excited you are about having Mr. Projector in your life! Or just to say "hello," for that matter!
- Shoot an email to ThinkStream16mm@aol.com with your official "rave" review! Don't forget to let us know who you are and where you are from, your shirt size preference (small, medium or large) and shipping address!
- Deadline for entry is Saturday, November 18, so don't dilly-dally!
It's that simple! Entries will be judged by a panel of ThinkStream Films experts and the winning contestant will receive an email notice that they have won!
The winner receives:
- The "official" Mr. Projector Tee!
- Their "rave" review posted here on the blog and featured in an upcoming episode of "Mr. Projector!"
Good luck! VISIT THE STORE, and stay tuned for Friday's premiere episode of "Mr. Projector!"
To receive future exciting news from ThinkStream Films, be sure to subscribe to Mr. Projector Fans!
Monday, November 06, 2006
Bookmark This Blog! A Store and a Show! How Grand is That!
- The Mr. Projector Store! We will be launching our retail store with some mighty fine Mr. Projector items for the office, home, and your body! Show off your pride in vintage 16mm educational films wherever you are! Golly gee, isn't that swell!
- The Mr. Projector Show! Yup, that's right! We're taking our show off the screen and right onto your iPod! Be among the first to see our premiere episode of Mr. Projector - coming at you later this week, and only available on this blog and through the iTunes Store!
We here at ThinkStream films are so excited, we don't remember which side of the reel to thread!!
Saturday, November 04, 2006
The Golden Rule: A Lesson for Beginners (1953)
This amazingly campy Cornet send-up on early social behavior is nothing less than the ultimate case study in hypocrisy! We are introduced to “The Golden Rule” it is taught in the classroom (!!) and at home from the Holy Bible (!!!!) and its application to “everyone,” (“everyone” apparently being only comprised of Christians and Caucasians!)We see the basic teachings of various incarnations of The Golden Rule from Confucious to Jesus, then follow three scenarios where children at first want to do the wrong thing, but then are transported to this magical, albeit Orwellian realm that Coronet calls “Thought-land” (where we can see what people are thinking!), and ultimately change their minds to do what they in turn would like to have done to them. Sheer hilarity, this one!
Note: the following clip was taken directly from the original 16mm print and has been edited (severely and to reverse the intent of the children’s’ actions) to a fraction of the film's original length.
Friday, November 03, 2006
Simple Changes in Matter (1953)
This wonderful little Coronet film begins looking an awful lot like an early sex education flick with its bucolic, spring-time nature photography and lush, over-the-top romantic scoring that underlines our lead (who we here at ThinkStream Films will simply refer to as “Nature Boy.”) “Changes,” the narrator blissfully pipes, “are everywhere around you….” Just at the moment when we really want to dust off the old vinyl and scratch out some David Bowie, we realize that we are not watching a film about pubescent change, but rather one about physical, chemical, and other types of changes in matter! What the…? Film contains some funky text animation, lots of cool laboratory experiments with test tubes, etc., and what has to be the cutest boy ever captured on educational film stock!
Of special note is the forgoing of the traditional Coronet title card for a super-cool superimposed job. The contradictory feeling we get from this film is akin to reading a maudlin greeting card inked with the sappiest of contrivances while standing in a sex shop in West Village. We think you’ll like this one.
Note: The following clip was taken directly from the original 16mm print and has been edited (with blissful glee - is that a redundancy? - and a remixed soundtrack) to a fraction of the film's original length.
Thursday, November 02, 2006
Teeth: Their Structure and Care (1956)
This film is simply the ultimate in hygiene films from the 50’s! See what happens when seventeen-year-old Dave neglects his teeth for two years! His dentist discovers bits of chocolate and breakfast in his rotting teeth! At least David goes to the dentist in time to not end up like his toothless friend, Jimmy! Yikes! What a grin! This film was produced in conjunction with the American Dental Association, and is one of several dental hygiene films we have seen from Coronet that makes no mention whatsoever of dental floss! We end up with the dentist instructing Dave to not “crack nuts” with his teeth, then afterwards see Dave mowing the yard half naked! Very, very interesting!We here at ThinkStream Films are very curious to know what has happened to Dave since starring in this film. We highly suspect he moved quickly into the porn industry circa 1976, retiring to the American Midwest some ten years later. Mr. Projector thinks he may have even caught a glimpse of him around ten years ago pumping iron at the gym – still looking right swell too, if Mr. Projector has anything to say about it (as he so often does)!
Note: The following clip has been edited to under half the film's original length.
Expanding World Relations (1956)
This film was produced by the United States Government to promote Foreign Policy, boost post Korean War morale, and to highlight the dangers of a potential impending atomic attack! Truly a piece of American political propaganda in subtle form. Film is mostly animated (in top Disney fashion) with very nice use of color! Reference the frequent use of the color red for bombs, etc. This print appears to be an IB Technicolor print (if it isn’t, it has been incredibly well preserved)! Some nice live action photography of war's aftermath (devastation in London, Berlin, etc.) and industrial advances such as wheat farming machines and trains. Great graphic art!
Note: The following clip was taken directly from the original 16mm print and has been edited to a fraction of the film's original length.
The Water We Drink (1952)
This little Coronet gem teaches the rules of what water is good water to drink. Check out the bucolic, overly romantic nature music! We, as well as little Jimmy, through the help of his big brother, learn the following.
- Why it’s important not to drink out of lakes like an animal!
- Why we should never share a drinking glass!
- That our body looses water when we “go to the toilet!”
- How waste water gets refined – so that we can then drink it!
- Why we should never push someone in line at a drinking fountain!
- Why we should never put our hands in a drinking fountain!
Note: The following clip was edited to under half the film's original running time.