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Monday, June 6, 2011

1949 instructional Do's and don'ts of dating...


'Dating dos and don'ts': See the campy and creepy instructional film for teens from 1949

Last updated at 1:38 AM on 6th June 2011

Judging by the Baby Boom, it seems unlikely that young people had difficulty pairing up in the years after World War II, but just in case, there were video instructions.
One such example is the 1949 short 'Dating: Dos and Don'ts'. The piece by Coronet Films recently entered the public domain and is available for viewing at archive.org and on Youtube.
The earnest, 12-minute film features a young chap named Alan Woodruff, who goes by Woody, who wants to go on a first date with a girl, but is uncertain about what to do. 
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Educational: A 1949 instructional film called 'Dating: Dos and Don'ts' was recently rediscovered and released online
Educational: A 1949 instructional film called 'Dating: Dos and Don'ts' was recently rediscovered and released online. It features a young man named Woody who wants to go on his first date
Beware pretty girls: 'It's too bad Janice always acts so superior and bored, she'd make a fellow feel awkward and inferior', the narrator says
Beware pretty girls: 'It's too bad Janice always acts so superior and bored, she'd make a fellow feel awkward and inferior', the narrator says
He gets advice from his parents and older brother, and acts out different scenarios to see what works best.
The short opens with Woody receiving a letter from a friend, who recently broke his leg and is told by a doctor to stay off his foot. 
In the stoicism of the era, he tells Woody not to worry about him, but that he should use his ticket for the dance.
    Woody examines the ticket to the 'Hi-Teen Carnival' at Central High, and innocently notices that it says 'admit one couple'.
    In the slow-burning narrative, he thinks to himself: 'One couple, that means a date, and not just going around with the crowd.
    'Just me and a girl. That's all right. Only what girl?'
    Ticket to adventure: Young Woody got lucky with a golden ticket to the 'Hi-Teen Carnival'; only trouble, he needs a date!
    Ticket to adventure: Young Woody got lucky with a golden ticket to the 'Hi-Teen Carnival'; now he needs a date!
    Helping hands: Woody gets some sound advice from his cool older brother Ed, and some support from his mom, though she's a bit odd
    Helping hands: Woody gets some sound advice from his cool older brother Ed, and some support from his mom, though she's a bit odd
    So starts Woody's quest.
    For decades, Coronet Films, among many others, produced a raft of such educational videos, covering such topics as dating, hygiene, patriotism, getting a job and other public service issues.
    In the days before television, these films were shown between features in theatres.
    In the case of 'Dating: Dos and Don'ts', Woody asks, 'How do you choose a date?'
    'Well, one thing you can consider is looks,' the narrator suggests.
    But that doesn't turn out so well, as alluring as Janice appears.
    'It's too bad Janice always acts so superior and bored, she'd make a fellow feel awkward and inferior', the narrator says.
    Lesson 1: Before Woody can have his first date, he must ask a girl. His first few attempts don't go smoothly, but he eventually learns the ropes
    Lesson 1: Before Woody can have his first date, he must ask a girl. His first few attempts don't go smoothly, but he eventually learns the ropes
    Classic family: Woody's parents mean well, though they put the pressure on by regaling him of their epic first dates as youth
    Classic family: Woody's parents mean well, though they put the pressure on by regaling him of their epic first dates as youth
    That line might not play so well in today's self-esteem sensitive world. 
    The narrator dismisses Betty as well, because she 'just doesn't seem like she'd be much fun'. There's something oddly creepy about that brief explanation.
    But Ann, 'she knows how to have a good time...'
    So Ann it is. But Woody then has to secure permission from the two-parent household.
    Says mother: 'A date, you're rather young'. 
    After older brother Ed enthusiastically lends his support, she agrees, saying, 'If you don't overdo on dating, Ed knows what I mean. Weekends only and not too late'.
    Next, Woody tries phoning up Ann. His direct approach, 'How about a date?' ends in rejection.
    Sweet Ann: Ann tells her sceptical younger sister that a good date doesn't require an expensive dinner, it's all about 'having a good time'
    Sweet Ann: Ann tells her sceptical younger sister that a good date doesn't require an expensive dinner, it's all about 'having a good time'
    Yum: Before long, Woody and Ann have a wonderful date at the carnival. They share hot dogs, play some games and enjoy each other's company. That wasn't so hard, was it?
    Yum: Before long, Woody and Ann have a wonderful date at the carnival. They share hot dogs, play some games and enjoy each other's company. That wasn't so hard, was it?

    THINGS WE 'LEARNED' FROM THE VIDEO

    Pretty girls are haughty self-esteem killers

    Forget girls who 'don't know how to have fun'

    Don't be pushy or a pushover

    Older brothers are awesome

    Dad is creepy

    Mom is creepier

    Hot dogs are the best date food

    If at first you don't succeed...
    Asking what she is up to Saturday night also bombs, especially when he responds to her answer of 'I guess I'm busy' with: 'Oh yeah, any chance of giving him the push off for me?'
    'Well of all the nerve!' she shouts.
    Even though it's more than 50 years before Neil Strauss' book 'The Game' is published, Woody learns that the specific often works: 'I have a ticket to the carnival, would you like to go?'
    When she is getting ready for their big evening out on the town, Ann tells her sceptical younger sister that one doesn't need money or fancy dinner reservations for a successful date. 
    Ann says: 'I think the important thing on a date is to have a good time'. Practically, she suggests that it's a good idea to leave your 'boyfriend' with money for the next time.
    Thanks Ann!
    In perhaps the film's creepiest moment, Woody's dad - who looks like a cross between a chubby Hitler and Walt Disney - says, 'That's it son, look your best. Your first date is mighty important'.
    Talk about pressure! 
    When Woody asks if his old man was excited the night of his first date, his father answers in an uber-creepy voice: 'I sure was'.
    Mom, also creepy, says, 'So was I'.
    Big finish: Woody has to try several takes before he can get 'saying goodnight' down pat. Now he's an ace dater!
    Big finish: Woody has to try several takes before he can get 'saying goodnight' down pat
    Mom, who seems like she's been inhaling ether, says, 'Any girl who can't be ready on time for a date isn't good enough for my boy'.
    Luckily, Woody and Ann's date goes swimmingly (she must have been ready on time). 
    The adorable pair enjoys hot dogs, throwing darts at balloons (Ann is an ace shot!) and strolling past other happy couples, also dressed in their Sunday finest.
    When it comes to the coda, like many guys, Woody gets anxious. 
    His first attempt at 'how do you say goodnight?' ends with her shrieking away in horror. 
    His second attempt leaves much to be desired. 
    On the third try, he gets it right.
    Watch video here


    Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1394613/Dating-dos-donts-See-creepy-instructional-film-teens-1949.html#ixzz1OYJ1paMW

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