The Educational Archives, Vol. 1: Sex and Drugs

Compiled by Skip Elsheimer A companion piece to the A/V Geeks' "Social Engineering 101" DVD, this is a nicely packaged disc that contains some pricelessly dated and ridiculously inaccurate information on, of course, sex and drugs. "LSD: Case Study" kicks things off. Filmed as a series of still photos with narration, it's the tale of a talking wiener that pleads for its life, morphs into a troll doll in a hot dog bun, and scares the bejesus out of its would-be eater. "It's Wonderful Being a Girl" should be familiar to thirtysomething women; it's a commercial for Modess sanitary napkins that masquerades as an educational film. "Marijuana" is an even-handed look at the reefer problem, narrated by über-hipster Sonny Bono, dressed in a gold lamé Nehru jacket! Bono's bored (or stoned) demeanor suggests this may have been a court-ordered public-service appearance. Other highlights include "Barbiturates: Case Study" ("I was smoking 30-40 numbers a day and needed something stronger") and "LSD: Insight or Insanity?" but the real jaw-dropper is "The ABCs of Sex Ed for Trainables." Trainables? Yes, that was once a term for the mildly developmentally disabled. With its oily Seventies narrator, this is pretty unnerving stuff, as instructors try to get across to their clients how their bodies work and how to conduct themselves. There is more than one intentional laugh that seems pretty inappropriate, and the narrator even refers to the clients as "retardates" at one point, a term that by the Seventies was nearly as outdated as "feeble-minded." Without going into too much detail, let's just say this isn't for the faint of heart. Drug films that probably backfired and made many kids go out and try drugs; sex-ed films that just made their young audiences uncomfortable. All that's missing is the sewing-machine clatter of the 16mm Bell and Howell projector and the warbly sound coming out of one puny speaker.

Visit for info on how to purchase The Educational Archives, Vol. 1: Sex and Drugs and other educational-film compilations curated by Skip Elsheimer.

  • More of the Story

  • An Unsentimental Education

    A/V Geek Skip Elsheimer is a curator of a certain brand of pop-culture ephemera: the forgotten "educational" film.

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