Thursday, August 7, 2014

Creepy Short - Time Out for Trouble (1961)

Shorts are one of my favorite types of film.  They can provide a great musical or dance number, be funny like a Joe McDoakes short, or teach us things.  But in the guise of teaching us, sometimes films can be just darn creepy.  This is a perfect example of an informative film gone horribly creepy.  The premise of the film is to teach us how to be calm and not hurt ourselves through the carelessness that comes from anger or distraction.  While actually having a good lesson and good tips to alleviate these problems, all I could think about was that our clocks are possessed and secretly are plotting our death.

The film was created by the Oklahoma State Department of Health, lead by Kirk T. Mosely, MD.  Mosely was born in 1906 in Mayflower, Arkansas and died in Baltimore in 1996 [1].  After receiving his degree at the University of Oklahoma in the 1940's, he became professor and chairman of the Department of Preventative Medicine and Public Health, a position he held until becoming the Oklahoma Commissioner of Health.  He served as commissioner from September 1960 through September 1965 {2}.

But why was this film created?  According to the slide,
"Time Out for Trouble is one of a series of films on emotional problems in business, industry . . . and life itself.  Produced under the direction of the Mental Hygiene Division of the Oklahoma State Department of Health."
I haven't seen any other films produced, but I find films from the past are so much better at explaining the problem and coming up with the solution.  I can't decide if it's because people then were more practical and had more common sense, film was more simplistic and the expense forced people to be direct, or they were less concerned with political correctness and being sued.  I learn so much from these films, I hate to delete them from my DVR - even when they are creepy.  I haven't seen any other films from this series, and I'm not even sure if any other films were even created.  Now I'm on a mission for more.  If they were only a portion as creepy or informative, they must be awesome.

So, the lessons learned were:

  1. Face your feelings
  2. Beware of boredom
  3. Watch for danger

But the main lesson I learned is that our clocks are secretly plotting our demise.  This of course, brings up a larger question.  Is it only traditional clocks, or does this cabal include all devices that keep time?  Should we be smashing our clocks, phones, computers, watches, televisions, stoves, microwaves and more so they don't kill us?  Or is this just a rogue clock gone wrong?  All joking aside, the message is good - slow down, think, and take care of yourself.  I'm sure there is a better way to do this without insinuating that everyone's clock is possessed by a creepy ghost trying to kill you.  So the real question is, why did Oklahoma make this film?  Whatever the reason - the film is awesome.

1.  "Ex-Commissioner Mosely Dies", NewsOK, 1996
2.  "Oklahoma Commissioners of Health", Oklahoma Government,

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