4 June 21 – Public Information Films
Hope you’re having another great week
This week I accidentally made a discovery. I was talking about the Smash advert with a few friends at the weekend. Yes, that’s the level of our conversations and I randomly or subconsciously clicked on a Youtube link that said 1970s Public Information Films.
It was then that I made the discovery.
If you grew up in the 70s, you’re lucky to be alive. And judging by the number of public information films on the subject, ice-cream vans were especially terrifying. Almost every time, before you’d even licked your 99, a speeding drunk driver, not wearing his seat belt, who looked like Jimmy Saville, had knocked you 6 feet over the bonnet. The films never showed exactly what happened to you, they relied on visual metaphor.
And, if the speeding drunk driver had mixed his cross-ply and radial tyres, which everyone seemed to do back then, the best you could expect from a trip to the shops was this.
In conjunction with this
In the unlikely event you survived the ice cream, you’d probably then go into the park and throw a frisbee into a 33000v electrical substation while flying a kite. Luckily, vandals had usually broken the fence of the substation, so you could easily get in, climb up and retrieve the frisbee stuck between some crackling electrical thingies.
After the firemen had put you out, you’d make your way to the local pond, avoiding all the weird-looking blokes, whose arms didn’t move, hanging around the park.
Scattered around the local pond there’d be rusty old cars, abandoned bedstead, and assorted sharp, spiky things. There’d always be a wrecked fridge for you to play in, with a sturdy airtight door that you couldn’t open from the inside.
Not sure about you, but I would then go and hang on a rotten branch, by a slippy bank, over the deepest loneliest bit of the pond, poking the water for no apparent reason. This was doubly treacherous since no one has swimming lessons back then because Rolf Harris was always in the pool.
Creepy voiceover: ‘The show-offs are easy, but the unwary ones are easier still’
On your way back, you’d get chased by stray dogs with rabies. These had been smuggled into the country in the handbags of respectable-looking housewives coming back from Spain.
After a quick shortcut to run along the railway line singing ‘Casey Jones, steamin’ and a rollin’, you’d nip to the supermarket to watch guys with moustaches stealing old women’s purses when they were nattering at the checkout. That was fun.
If you made it back home, and to be honest your parents never expected you back, you could then burn the house down in various ways with all the matches that were lying around.
And these Public Information Films are the family-friendly ones, don’t even think about the fireworks ones or the ones with creepy music in burnt houses or the boy running on a beach.
But, let’s end on a positive, if you’re older than 50 and you’re reading this, you made it. Congratulations.
That’s it once again.
I’ll leave you with a cheery tune from the 70s. It’s about when the door bells rings and you’re wondering who it is. If you don’t know the song, just imagine a very happy upbeat tune. Here’s how it goes.
Who can it be?
Is it your rich Aunt Annie that you’d love to see, outside your front door
Or your loving husband who as lost his key, outside your front door’
Stop the music, no, it’s neither of them, it turns out it’s a mad axe man running around outside trying to hack your husband and Auntie to bits.
That’s the 70s for you.
Enjoy your weekend.
Take care and all the best,