The Occult: An Echo from Darkness (1972)

Distribution: A/V Geeks
Featured on: O is for Occult

Running time: 48m 00s
Source film:  16mm; color; sound
Year: 1972
Director: Tom Doades
Production: Pyramid Films, ECRF Production, Mal Couch
Writer: Tom Doades, Marshall Riggan
Photography/Camera: Jerry Callaway
Narration: Martin Brooks
Editor: Jim Ferguson

Cast: Hal Lindsey


Years before it was a hotbed of technological innovation and unaffordable housing, the San Francisco Bay Area was the “headquarters of occult and metaphysical activity in the United States.” This was a startling history lesson to me, but just one of many assertions by the creators of the 1972 religious short film, The Occult: An Echo from Darkness. If you like your anonymous talking head documentaries with ominous music and a hearty side of hard-line Satanic panic propaganda, this is the film of your factually dubious dreams.

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Football: A Woman’s Guide (1999)

Distribution: Borndreamer
Collection: Private

Running time: 35m 00s
Source: VHS; color; sound
Year: 1999
Production: Borndreamer, Rebecca Ayers
Director: Rebecca Ayers
Writer: Rebecca Ayers
Camera: Bob Ayers
Lighting: Bob Ayers
Sound: Bob Ayers
Graphics & Editing: Motion City Films, Santa Monica, CA
Audio Editing: Marty Blasick

Cast: Nancy Barnes, Bob Ayers, Gene Moore, Nick Ayers, Brian O’Brien, Jewell Holmes & Raymond


When the American news cycle starts to contain stories of catastrophic injuries and failed adherence to concussion protocols, it means the NFL season has arrived. Often lost in the deluge of bloviating talking heads and game highlights are the rule changes approved by team owners during the league’s offseason (there were seven this year alone). Such changes — which occur nearly every offseason — can affect everything from player safety to the pace of the game itself. With so much turnover in how the game is played from year to year, how does a football fan keep track of it all? And more important, how can someone married to a football fan keep track of it when they are: a) not a fan of football; and b) a woman? Filmmaker Rebecca Ayers sought to assuage all gender-specific, football-illiterate fears with her 1999 educational film, Football: A Woman’s Guide.

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Booze and Yous (1977)

Watch on IU Media Collections Online

Institution: Indiana University
Collection: IUL Moving Image Archive

Running time: 14m 06s
Source film:  16mm; color; sound
Year: 1977
Film by: Ruth C. Engs, George W. Hales, Rowell Gorman, David J. Derkacy
Production: School of Health, Physical Education, and Recreation, Indiana University
Educational Consultants: Ruth C. Engs, Ralph V. Larsson, David A. DeCoster, Phiip McPheron
Special Acknowledgements: Slaigers Pretense Theatre, Inc.
Film supported in part by a grant from: Beer Distributors of Indiana, Inc.


If there’s a maximum age at which we cease to learn concepts communicated by animated characters with funny voices, I haven’t seen it published anywhere. The 1977 educational film Booze and Yous, produced by Indiana University as part of an alcohol education program, sought to impart research-based facts about alcohol and its consumption upon its student body through a mixture of animation and live-action scenarios. The first step in doing this successfully may have been to use a caricature that resonated with the common 1970s college student — Ozzy Osbourne, anyone? — but the filmmakers decided on a rough facsimile of W.C. Fields, complete with red nose and an impression of his exaggerated drawl. Somehow, it works.

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Face Value (1981)

Distribution: A/V Geeks
Featured on: Temptations of a Christian Teenager

Running time: 09m 32s
Source film:  16mm; color; sound
Year: 1981
Director: Fred Carpenter
Production: Mars Hill Productions; Campus Life; Sterling Educational Films
Writer: Fred Carpenter
Photography/Camera: John Snavely
Location Sound: Lloyd Poe
Post Production Mix: Tim Himes
Editor: Fred Carpenter

Cast: Greg Guy, Steve Herrington, Nancy Houston, Brent Johnson, et al.


A cursory reading of the 1979 song, “Head Games,” by the rock band Foreigner, reveals vague relationship troubles between its narrator and a lover, expressed through the sort of tedious lyrics favored by the commercial rock radio of the era. The “answer” to these problems, the song states, is “nowhere in sight,” and the narrator’s daydreams are “haunting” and possibly “warning” him. Perhaps these specific allusions convinced director Fred Carpenter to use the song as a musical refrain in his 1981 moral behavior short, Face Value, but it’s an odd fit for a film that attempts to lecture teenagers about the futility of unscrupulous social behaviors. Did Carpenter have any idea about how many teenagers in the 1970s and 80s made out (and more) while ballads by Foreigner played in the background?

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Dr. Fox Animal Series: Cat Care (1987)

Distribution: Maier Group Communication
Collection: Private

Other titles: CAT; Dr. Fox Series: Cat Care; Cat care: a video guide to successful cat care;
Running time: 43m 00s
Source: VHS; color; sound
Year: 1987
Production: United Media Production; Selluloid Video
In Cooperation with: Actors and Others For Animals

Cast: Dr. Michael Fox


Before there were YouTube tutorials and Pets WebMD (yes, it’s a real thing) people had video guides (often produced on VHS) and could learn just about any skill in the comfort of their own living room in front of their trusty VCR. From swing dancing to gardening, odds are your local library was (and still is!) a treasure trove of analog-based know-how.

Continue reading Dr. Fox Animal Series: Cat Care (1987)

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