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The years just after the Second World War saw the advent of a new genre of classroom films: "social guidance" or "attitude enhancement" films -- we'll call them "mental hygiene" films. Young people in schools across America saw films with titles like "Dating Dos and Don'ts," "Mind Your Manners," "Are You Popular?" and, "Narcotics: Pit of Despair." Topics included table manners, etiquette, fitting in, posture, dating, highway safety, substance abuse, and juvenile delinquency. They were tools of social engineering, made to shape the values and attitudes of an entire generation of American kids. More than three-thousand of these films were made over nearly three decades. Now, fewer than half of them survive. Ken Smith has written a new book called "Mental Hygiene: Classroom Films, 1945-1970". He'll be our tour guide through this Lost and Found Sound report on this funny, fascinating, and largely forgotten genre of American filmmaking.
The year long series, Lost and Found Sound, presents the story of Sam Phillips, the man who founded and ran the Memphis Recording Service. Phillips was a rural boy with the dream of capturing songs of poor Southern people on records. He started in radio. Then, in the late 1940's, he opened a studio in Memphis. The sound he captured has helped shape rock and roll and American music ever since. We hear from Phillips, his family, friends, music experts and some of his recording talent, as they recall the years when Phillips came to realize his dream.