Small House of Everything

Small House of Everything

Tuesday, March 26, 2013


Coronet Films, an off-shoot of Coronet magazine, was a producer of short instructional social guidance films from 1946 to the early 1970s.  Social guidance meant social conformity and many of Coronets films were directed toward that goal, whether is be keeping quiet in school, respecting your parents, maintaining proper hygiene, or being trustworthy.  With such gems as Let's Play Fair, School Rules:  How They Help Us, The Fun of Making Friends, and Everyday Courtesy, The nation's youth were bombarded (in theory, anyway) into conformity.  I have to assume that the teenagers of sixty years ago and so reacted to this as teenagers of today would -- with snickers and (perhaps) outright derision.  At least, I hope so.

Picture yourself as a teenager in the late 1940s and early 1950s.  An awkward age in an awkward time.  To the rescue comes Coronet Films to guide you through all those squishy thoughts those nasty hormones are giving you.  Imagine:  a whole set of films that lay out what should and should not be done about sex in all its forms.  Thank you, Coronet Films, for doing you such a great favor.

So let's follow a teenager through the twisty dark alleys and by-paths of interacting with the opposite sex:

So you're thinking about the opposite sex.  A lot.  Hold on there, Tiger -- there's a time and place for everything.  First you have to make a plan.  Wouldn't everything go easier if you were popular?  It would if it's 1947.

And before a young teen goes courtin' and sparkin', there's a lot of stuff that has to be learned.  Luckily, teens in 1949 are able to learn the dos and don'ts [sic].  The title mught better be Dating Dos and Dorks.

From 1950, we learn what to do on a date.  Luckily, we have Joel and the bots to help us through those murky waters. 

What makes a great date?  Why, a party where everybody sings The Blue-Tailed Fly, of course.  Evidently, this is as wild as kids got in 1950.

From 1958, we learn how far to go with petting.  (Hint:  not far.)  Teen pregnancy means you can't become a lawyer.  For many people nowadays, that might be a plus.

As far as petting goes -- and smoking, and drinking, and drag racing, and not wearing penny loafers -- you just have to learn to say, "No."  I mean, "Just say no" worked for Nancy Reagan in the 1980s, so it should work in 1951.

Forget about petting.  The cool thing in 1951 is going steady, isn't it.  Aha!  Gotcha!  Think twice, young teenager!

What is love anyway?  How do we know when we are truly in love?  Luckily, the teens of 1950 had this blueprint they could rely on -- saving all that icky, messy finding it out for yourself thing.

Of course, there comes a time (in this case, the time is 1950) when the overly-hormoned teenagers begin to think of marriage.  My personal opinion is that Larry and Sue deserve each other.

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