Sunday, March 08, 2009


About three months ago I acquired a trio of fifty year old movie posters via eBay. Back in 1960 and 1961 they briefly advertised three forgettable exploitation films in American cinema foyers, then spent the next half century folded up in storage. Now they've been very carefully unfolded and flattened, given high quality professional frames, and hung along my bedroom wall.

They all fall into the "untamed youth" category, with shady boys and bad girls drinking and fighting and getting their hormones on. It's the equivalent of those TV current affairs programs that advertise stories "that no parent should miss". However in these movies the frantic warnings are delivered with a knowing wink, as opposed to the modern conceit that they've offering some sort of public service.

Co-eds: This is about what you won't tell - that you mangle grammar! That puts the booze and the making out into perspective. I find myself wondering if anyone was ever really titilated by all of these faux-naughty shennanigans. Then again, when the alternatives were '101 Dalmatians' and 'The Parent Trap', I suppose one took what titilation one could get.

Platinum High School, 1960. The high school where money can buy you anything... even the storekeeper's daughter! This would all sound very scandalous and risque but for the presence of Mickey "The Harmless Gnome" Rooney. It'd be like watching a new Die Hard movie in which Woody Allen takes over from Bruce Willis.

College Confidential, 1960. This film has Mamie van Doren in it - how confidential could it possibly be? Steve Allen plays a sleazy college professor who dares young co-eds to touch his theme, as it were. I don't know about the movie, but this is the best of the three posters; a snappy stylised exclamation mark design printed in vivid colours.

The Explosive Generation, 1961. "Never has youth gone on such a rampage... never has a motion picture gone so far in telling their raging story". With a title and a tagline like that, it's either an amusing exploitation movie featuring a young, pre-Star Trek William Shatner from 1961, or a painfully earnest SBS documentary on suicide bombers from 2009.

Given that the poster features a blonde in a bathing suit being mauled by a couple of boys, it's probably the former.

It's amazing how cheaply one can pick up these vintage posters on eBay. How cheaply, you ask? Let's put it this way: framing them cost twenty times more than buying them. Suffice to say if I buy any more of them I won't be framing them.


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