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7 Movies Join the Online Field Guide to Sponsored Films

Bowl in style after enjoying The Golden Years (1960).

The NFPF has added another seven films to its Online Field Guide to Sponsored Films, a free digital screening room that presents entries from The Field Guide to Sponsored Films, written by Rick Prelinger and published by the NFPF in 2006.

The screening room hosts a total of 177 sponsored films, commissioned during the 20th century by a variety of American organizations: businesses promoting commercial products, charities highlighting their good works, advocacy groups bringing attention to social causes, and state and local governments explaining their programs. Though several of the new films are already online in low-resolution copies made from analog transfers, our videos are derived from HD scans created by the National Audio-Visual Conservation Center of the Library of Congress.

Time Out for Trouble (1961) was produced by the University of Oklahoma for the Oklahoma State Dept. of Health’s Mental Hygiene Division. Its thesis, that emotional stress can lead to unsafe behavior if one’s feelings aren’t properly managed, is dramatized by the story of a housewife who believes an evil grandfather clock is out to get her by causing accidents. 

Tomorrow’s Drivers (1954), made by the Jam Handy Organization for Chevrolet and narrated by Jimmy Stewart, humorously documents a Phoenix, Arizona, elementary school’s driver education program, in which children learn to drive pedal cars in a realistic scale-model city. Transportation is also the subject of Going Places (1952), sponsored and produced by General Electric to demonstrate the benefits of buses, trolleys, and streetcars over private automobiles, and to argue for community involvement in public transit planning.

Watch Time Out for Trouble (1961) to avoid injuries caused by evil talking clocks.

Also from Jam Handy is The Golden Years (1960), which promotes Brunswick, the bowling equipment manufacturer, by portraying bowling as a suburban family activity, best enjoyed at spotlessly new, automated Brunswick Bowling Centers. Jam Handy strikes yet again with Bridging San Francisco Bay (1937), a look at the construction of the San Francisco–Oakland Bay Bridge, sponsored by American Bridge Division of US Steel.

Tornado (1956), produced for the United Gas and Texas Eastern Transmission Corporations, shows how farm families can protect their communities by reporting approaching storms to the local warning network, part of the front line of defense of the United States Weather Bureau’s Tornado Forecast and Warning Service. Seen by an estimated 42 million viewers in the first year of release, the film is said to have spurred 240 communities to establish local tornado warning networks.

Last but certainly not least is A Time for Burning (1966), sponsored by Lutheran Film Associates and made by Quest Productions, with music by Tom Paxton. This cinema verité documentary on race relations in the religious community of Omaha, Nebraska, received an Academy Award nomination for Best Feature Documentary and was selected for the National Film Registry in 2005.

Tags: sponsored, film,, streaming, video

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