Great Job, Internet!: A surreal video remix makes an old educational film even creepier

Vintage educational movies scarcely need much help to seem creepy, dated, foolish, and ill-conceived. They do just fine all on their own. What adults understand or think they understand about children evolves so rapidly, with one set of findings nullifying the previous one, that today’s breakthrough can’t help becoming tomorrow’s folly and/or atrocity.

Educational movies of the mid-20th century, for instance, stressed “fitting in” (a pleasant euphemism for conforming) as a cure-all for all sorts of childhood problems. Students were told to observe and imitate their classmates so as to better integrate into society. Then, educators apparently realized that such conforming could lead to juvenile delinquency and drug abuse. Whoops. That’s when “peer pressure” became the bogeyman and kids were told to “just say no.” Released by Portafilms in 1956, Helping Johnny Remember is a definite remnant of the “fitting in” era of classroom films …

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