Technicolor ad from 1967 Business Screen Magazine courtesy of the Media History Digital Library
We are currently working on a collection which includes many educational and classroom shorts. These films came from a collector, who is said to have watched one film, on film, every day (a collector after our own hearts.) Although often treated as humorous in today’s social context, short educational films from the mid-century and beyond hold great cultural value in what they reveal about shifting American social values and cultural norms.
Major distributors for educational films recently found in this collection include Coronet Films, known for their personal guidance shorts, which instructed youth on social practices. Coronet shorts from the Beginning Responsibility series encountered in this collection reveal the push for balance through behavior modification in post WWII America.
Titles from Encyclopædia Britannica Educational Corporation and Journal Films in the late 1950’s and early 1960’s reveal the growing values of science, technology and innovation in the classroom environment: Osmosis and Diffusion, Cavitation and Orbital Shapes and Paths.
The late 1960’s and 1970’s introduce a more relaxed viewpoint on behavior and social roles with films such as Naturally…a Girl (Association-Sterling Films) and Every Family is Special (Encyclopædia Britannica Educational Corporation.)
Some of the most interesting (read: quirky) educational films in this collection come from the Moody Institute of Science. Part of the Moody Bible Institute, the Moody Institute of Science was founded in San Francisco by Irwin A. Moon (Dr. Moon) in 1938 to forward the Moody Institute’s evangelical message. The films, introduced as “A Sermon from Science,” present scientific concepts with a didactic Creationist spin. The films, which often starred Moon as a narrator or participant in experiments, range in titles from subtle (Blind as a Bat) to over the top (God of the Atom.)