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How they did church youth-group films in 1960!

How they did church youth-group films in 1960! December 16, 2006

The wife and I have been converting our VHS tapes to DVD, and as soon as I can find my old student films, I’ll post a few of them here.

In the meantime, here’s an item in the public domain that I’ve had fun showing to my friends and visitors every now and then — it’s a 13-minute trailer that was created to promote a series of short films for church youth groups back in 1960. A bunch of them were released on VHS a decade ago under the title Christian Youth Scare Films (see also this list), and I reviewed them here, singling out the first few minutes of this trailer for special mention:

But despite their good points, there is something fake and preachy about these films, and Rev. [Donald] R. Lantz, producer of the Baptist series, lets the cat out of the bag in a trailer that kicks off the first volume.

These films, he claims, were based on interviews with real-life teens. He plays a sample of one such interview, in which a kid with a Jimmy Stewart stammer jokes about disagreeing with his mother, while other teens laugh spontaneously in the background. Lantz then introduces a clip from one of his films, in which a group of furrow-browed teens take turns reciting their lines and wondering, ever so seriously, if perhaps they expect too much of their parents.

This clip, says Lantz, was based on the interview, but it’s hard to see how. An earnest attempt to reach out to kids has become, instead, an unintentionally hilarious example of how adults tend to ignore the very voices they claim to hear.

As you can see from the video file above, the tracking was rather off on this particular tape, but alas, my current VCR doesn’t allow me to control that — so I may need to get a new player. Apart from that, click here if the video file above doesn’t play properly.


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