Summary

Footage Information

Archive Films by Getty Images
Shy Guy
PA-1094 1 inch; PA-0696 Digibeta
B W
Educational
1947
MAKING FRIENDS SHYNESS PSYCHOLOGY GUIDANCE SOCIAL INTERACTION TEENAGERS STUDENTS RADIOS WORKSHOPS HOBBIES POPULARITY DICK YORK TRAY OF COKES
Shy Guy Director: Ted Peshak. Cinematography: Bill Rockar. Writers: Patricia Kealy, Dick Creyke. Editor: George Wilbern. Narrator: Myron L. Wallachinsky (a.k.a. Mike Wallace). Educational advisor: Dr. Alice Sowers, Director, Family Life Institute of the University of Oklahoma. With Dick York (Phil Norton) Franklyn Ferguson (Mr. Norton) Arthur Young (Chick Gallagher) Mickey Hugh (Bob) Bill Fein (Beezy Barnes) and Howard Phillips (Jack Gilbert). Phil HAS JUST ENTERED NEW HIGH SCHOOL & HAS DIFFICULTY MAKING FRIENDS. HE SEES THAT MOST POPULAR STUDENTS ARE INTERESTED IN OTHERS, HELPFUL & SHARE EXPERIENCES. HE TELLS ANOTHER BOY HOW TO FIX RADIO & SOON OTHERS FREQUENT HIS BASEMENT WORKSHOP. Ken Smith sez: Dick York at his dorkiest. Dick's father is especially strange in this classic. The film that established Coronet as THE social guidance filmmaker. Required viewing. the first film about "fitting in" (as opposed to following regmented rules of etiquette). Fitting in implies "going along with the crowd" not the crowd going along with adults. "he applies the lessons he has learned through observation and becomes very popular" (very scientific) "he comes to realize that helpfulness, interest in others, and a willingness to share experiences are important" "Again as on a previous night, Bill's father descends the stairs...this time with a tray of Coca-Cola as treats for the group." "the motion picture does permit students to identify themselves with charcaters in the picture and then begin their discussion...." "The film does an excellent job of 'holding the mirror up to youth ' it avoids, in a highly commendable fashion, the effect of being staged." If the "shy guy" were living in the Nineties, he'd be a hero. But hackers, geeks and bad grrls weren't too popular in 1947, and this movie's all about "fitting in." Phil, played by Dick York, later to become famous as Darrin in the television program Bewitched, is the son of an apparently single father who seems recently to have undergone corporate relocation, and things are very different for Phil than they were back in Morristown. Phil has a problem fitting in, and it affects everything from the nature of the kids in the new town ( different ) to what they wear ( not jackets like me, but a regular sweater ). Armed only with confusing advice from his father, Phil has to reorganize his behavior and make a new home for himself. Moving is tough on kids, especially teenagers this is the same kind of story that kicked off the TV show 90210 and many others. Since social guidance films (especially if produced by Coronet) generally have to resolve problems before the end credits, Phil becomes the toast of the classroom within fifteen minutes, after finding that the gang is eager to use his combination record player and radio transmitter at the next dance. And Dad looks pretty pleased. Educational film authority Ken Smith points out that Shy Guy marks a kind of turning point in postwar history. When Mr. Norton advises Phil to "look around him" and see what the other kids are wearing and how they behave, he's conceding parental authority to the "gang" and, ultimately, helping to legitimize the formation of a distinct youth culture that rests on group identity and validation rather than the authority of elders. Such a youth culture probably has its roots in the wartime autonomy that teens experienced, but here the adults are okaying it. This change, of course, is one of the key social currents in postwar America, and can be traced to the social movements of the Sixties and 1970s. The film does an excellent job of holding the mirror up to youth it avoids, in a highly commendable fashion, the effect of being staged. (Educational Screen, October 1947). Coronet Instructional Films (founded 1939, now part of Paramount Communications' Simon & Schuster subsidiary) was one of the leading producers and distributors of educational films, selling one million prints of their productions by 1973. Many of the most interesting social guidance films were made at their Glenview, Illinois studios, frequently with nonprofessional actors chosen to provide realistic role models for American children. Dick York was, however, a professional, and appeared in over 150 educational, industrial, military and advertising films, including Combat Fatigue: Insomnia, A Brighter Day in Your Kitchen, How To Read a Book, and The Last Date. Besides Bewitched, he acted in movies and Broadway shows. Until his death in 1992, he resided in Rockford, Michigan.
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