The sexual education debate has been a chronic one. No one can seem to agree on what age to teach children about sex, what details should be disclosed to different grades, if condoms should be supplied in schools, or if abstinence can be used as an effective approach to sex-ed.
While it seems as though this same song has been sung for decades, it has, indeed, evolved with the times. Educational videos shown in grade schools and high schools today struggle with drug abuse, rape, and coming into your own sexuality. A look at Coronet Films, which were shown in great regularity in American schools in the 1940s and ’50s, shows a completely different world of instructional videos for teens. Teens in the ’50s were taught how to say no to a goodnight kiss, not how to say no to a hit off a bong.
Several are available to view in the Prelinger Archives. While for many this will be a walk down memory lane, the younger generation can now see just how different things were a short 50 years ago.
Some suggestions are highlighted below:
While today these films are primarily screened as novelty pieces to mock, they are no doubt a precious capsule of the 1950s zeitgeist.