TCM (Turner Classic Movies) has been showing old educational propaganda films late Friday nights/early Saturday morning between 5 and 6 a.m. as part of their Underground show. Unfortunately since its Oscar season TCM is exclusively showing Academy recognized films the whole month – nary an institutional short film to be found. I am never up at 5:30 in the morning anymore. However, given the technological advancements of the last few years I have a digital recorder and end up with a variety of these films. Occasionally I watch them, usually having many on standby for when I’m in the mood for this kind of nonsense.
One I watched tonight with my girlfriend is from the ‘60s and is called Keep off the Grass: a film made in cooperation with the San Diego Police Department-a surefire way to obtain objective information and sentiments. The story is about Tom, a preppy, white suburban kid whose parents find his dope stash. The film begins with a close-up on a copy of Cream’s Disraeli Gears and pulls back to Tom’s mother vacuuming. She knocks over something on his bookshelf and finds pot – the devil’s drug. After a discussion with his father, who is actually quite calm about the issue, Tom explores the pros and cons about marijuana. Ending up with his pothead friend Tom ends up at a college pot party, a head shop, an artist named Waco’s house (where the artist’s brother-in-law is arrested for grass), at another pot party, and finally he’s mugged by drunks at the end (evident by the rolling beer car the goons throw before taking Tom’s wallet). Tom is also almost in a car accident and witnesses his friend selling a joint to a 12 year old. Eventually Tom ends up deciding pot is not for him, telling his father about his decision. Continue reading