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Thread: Public information Films

  1. #1

    Default Public information Films

    Here's one of the classic public information films (PIF). Children and Ponds from 1979. Blatant attempt to pull the heart strings with the girl with long flowing blonde hair. As for the bit where they switch her out for a very unconvincing dummy..



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    Default Re: Public information Films

    Reginald Molehusband - nuff said!
    Time flies like the wind, fruit flies like bananas - go figure!

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    Default Re: Public information Films

    Lonely Water

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    Default Re: Public information Films

    Managed to get the Charley Says and Charley Live videos from a Peterborough based company 20 years ago which had a lot of the PIFs on them, although the ponds one seen above was not one of them. I read about them in the defunct Cult TV magazine, and in 1998-1999 when looking back on the 20th century was such a poignant thing, it was an ideal way to look back on these, and perhaps come to turns with what frightened us 25 years before. Jeremy Clarkson did an "ironic" programme about PIFs from around 2000 on BBC 1, and ITV did one which was shown on a Bank Holiday around five or six years ago. There was also the Ads Infinitum episode on PIFs that VLS did.

    A lot of the 1970s one still turned up on Saturday mornings as late as 1988 - Central used to show one or two of them just after No 73 or Get Fresh - the "it may be only a bike to you, but any good driver knows that he needs plenty of room" director and cameraman one used to turn up a bit, and as the participants were wearing flared trousers, I would guess it was at least 10 years old back then. The "he's gone to Birmingham" driving in fog / walking down the hill blindfolded one was from that era as well and was seen in the 1980s, and unbelievably seen as late as 1997 when Central shown it on a Sunday evening in around what used to be the Bullseye slot, and BBC 1 had shown it before handing to News 24. Andrew Wiseman's website mentioned it.

    I had never seen the "polish the floor and put a rug on it" one on TV myself in its original form - they probably stopped showing it before I could remember it, but it was featured on Charley Live - cue a Beckinsale / O'Sullivan 1970s long-haired actor slipping on the aforementioned rug to the voiceover saying "and to think he had only come from the hospital". It was seen on an episode of It's Only TV But I Like It which prompted Jonathan Ross to make jokes about bald headed people - and the late Bruce Forsyth.

    I thought the ponds one was from the mid 1980s rather than 1979 - in fact, I thought that the child would have been the same age as myself at the time.
    I am now in my 40s (just in case anyone asks).

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    Default Re: Public information Films

    I remember a bike one not featured on the Charley series where a boy gets his bike run over by a Mk1 Vauxhall Cavalier.

    Another is a man who looks like a young Stephen Hawking who falls asleep at the wheel of his car & ends up with a horse's hoof coming through the windscreen, which wouldn't be out of place in a horror film.
    The Trickster On The Roof

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    Default Re: Public information Films

    You could tell that a PIF was in an ad break - in the middle of up to date adverts, the screen goes to black and one sees filmy scratches before it starts - and I knew what that meant. I bet that in an 1970s ad break this would be incognito to a degree, and a PIF probably wouldn't have stood out in that sort of way. When I see a 1970s ad break on YouTube I always associated it as how PIFs were made at the time. I think that it was around 1984-1985ish that adverts started to be on VT a lot more.

    It's interesting how we think of Public Information Films as being very dated 1970s (even from a 1980s perspective) films on TV that frightened the lives out of us - the Charley Live compilation was updated for DVD and had included more modern ones (the original video went up to 1983), and there were some comments about some of them looking out of place, such as a Millennium Bug one from 1999 - fair enough, it was a once in a lifetime thing it was promoting, but even nearly two decades later, it doesn't have the same nostalgic excitement than a 1970s PIF did in the 1990s, despite it being the same length of time, probably because: A) Things had changed a lot more originally, and: B) The first 20 years can be "out of bounds" in some people's memories. The Cycle Forever one (cue teenage boy on a treadmill-alike bicycle) was made in 1989 and shown throughout the 1990s but it stills feel modern and timeless unlike a lot of 1970s PIFs - I didn't know that it was made in the late 1980s to be honest.

    Some are indeed of their time, such as the decimalisation one from 1971, the Census from the same year (unlike most PIFs it couldn't be repeated in 1981!), although the "voting in a general election" one could be reused in twice in 1974, 1979 and so on. No wonder the Health and Safety Executive was founded in 1974 when most of these were made!
    I am now in my 40s (just in case anyone asks).

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    Default Re: Public information Films

    There was an attempt to update some PIFs, with the Diamonds For Danger being redubbed with new narration & music, but the visuals still very 1970s.

    I'll have to replace my Charlie videos with the DVD, especially as it's got more up to date films on. One I remember from the early 1990s was a boy skateboarding across a road without looking, ending with his skateboard flying through the air after an off-screen collision.
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    Default Re: Public information Films

    Quote Originally Posted by Richard1978 View Post
    There was an attempt to update some PIFs, with the Diamonds For Danger being redubbed with new narration & music, but the visuals still very 1970s.

    I'll have to replace my Charlie videos with the DVD, especially as it's got more up to date films on. One I remember from the early 1990s was a boy skateboarding across a road without looking, ending with his skateboard flying through the air after an off-screen collision.
    It's like those Jo and Petunia ones which were ironically updated with one of them wearing a Burberry "chav of course" baseball cap which I used to see on Channel 5 while waiting for PCBH to come on when I recorded it in the early hours of Saturday or Sunday morning.

    The skateboard one was shown at my Junior school when we had someone from Road Safety visit us to do a talk - we were in the hall, I think, and we saw it on a large screen. We saw our young protagonist playing on his skateboard - there was a Co-op milk float that was seen driving along (haven't seen them in years!) - we saw the youngster one moment, and then we just saw the skateboard flying through the air as you have just said. Not to be confused with the bicycle one where you just see the young lad turning right where a car was coming, and then no young lad, but his bike being crushed by a car - I think it was Bob Carolgees of all people who did the voiceover. Made a nice change to Gary Watson doing it anyway.
    I am now in my 40s (just in case anyone asks).

  9. #9

    Default Re: Public information Films

    Some PIFS get misinterpreted. Children and Ponds, for example. The doll isn't meant to be the child, it's just her doll that washed up on the centre reservation when she fell in I think a PIF would put in more effort than an actual child's toy if it was meant to be a dead body.

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    Default Re: Public information Films

    To be honest, I actually thought that the doll was supposed to be the child, hence the shock of what we saw.

    One PIF seen on Charley Live (and was also seen by Central on Saturday mornings in the same place) was the two and a half minute one about crossing the road safely - the "that's my sister, that's my mum" one from 1972 which sounds as if it has the "CCS - Tap Turns on the Water" music illustrating it. Sister was in a baby bouncer, while Mum was at the top of the stairs looking very 1960s indeed - cue our hero trying to slide up the stairs when she was trying to go down them. Also, our hero nearly being run over by his father's car. One of the most nostalgic PIFs around as we get to see a bit of what things were like back then.

    I won't mention the "Clunk Click" ones for all of the obvious reasons, although the practice of wearing a seatbelt is a good one of course - hard to believe however that the law on wearing a seatbelt was made compulsory in 1983 and not closer to 1973 when the PIFs were made.
    .
    I am now in my 40s (just in case anyone asks).

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