Here’s how old I am.
Back when I was in high school, instructional content was shown on 16mm film. Not exclusively, because our school had 3/4″ tape too. But that was rare and a lot of the content that was out there was either on 16mm film or even worse, filmstrips with accompanying records.
Maybe you’re hearing that sound right now…
There’s nothing like that soft purr of a 16mm projector as it feeds a film, followed by that rush of hot air coming off its fan. It signaled the time when most of us stopped paying attention and started dozing off. Probably not what our teachers intended, but truth nonetheless.
The great Bruce Vincent
Bruce Vincent, known to all the geeks as “Mr. V,” was the keeper of all the audiovisual gear at my school and he was darn good at it.
A man well ahead of his time, he developed a complex video distribution system based on technology that we today would find no more advanced than stone knives and bearskins. And, he was the keeper of even older tech.
When a film projector was set up, a test film was used to make sure the projector worked and that it was set at the proper volume. One of Mr. V’s favorites was Duck and Cover, a film made by the US Government to help children deal with the possibility of nuclear attacks. Yes, in the 1950s people believed a desk would stop radiation. But that’s another story.
Another favorite was the 1949 classic, Dating Do’s and Don’ts. In it, a teenager named Woody learns the best way to behave on a date. It’s pure comedy gold now, and it was back then too. Trust me kids, this film was as far out of date forty years ago as it is today.
Just the thought of this film makes me smile, especially the part at the end where the hapless Woody and his date Ann act out different end-of-date scenarios. After getting it wrong, Woody and Ann eventually figure out how to end the date with a smile.
Dating Do’s and Don’ts is available on YouTube, but the generally more watchable color version is cut off at the beginning. I’ve spliced together the black-and-white opening with the full color version of the film to give you some idea how it did originally look.
I claim no copyright over this film at all. Sadly even though it is seventy years old (and its actors are probably all dead) it is still protected under copyright from whatever person or entity still holds the assets of Coronet Films. It’s been freely distributed over the internet for years so I have to guess that it’s ok to post here.
It’s my understanding that Mr. V retired from his profession many years ago. The internet offers little insight into his later life, and so this may be the only article that mentions him at all. It would be nice to think that a whole generation of geeks could find it and remember those days when Dating Do’s and Don’ts gave them a momentary chuckle.