There's something almost magical about filmstrips, even today. When I began teaching, it was in the mid-1980's and the school had a VCR. All the best educational materials were on video, but every time I found a filmstrip that might be useful and showed it to the class, it captured the students' imaginations the way that nothing else did. Sure they were old fashioned, and sometimes out of date, but the kids loved them. They would be fascinated with the old machines which were used to show these little stories that taught some sort of lesson or told a story. Some of the filmstrips were "high tech" which had a cassette or LP which accompanied it. The story would be told by a narrator and a beep would be provided to move the strip along. Of course the kids thought they were stepping into a time machine. When I was in school, filmstrips were a part of everyday schooling.
Anyone who attended school in the 1950's-70's will enjoy this book, and may even find a filmstrip that will recall a memory or two. The book is divided into sections and actual filmstrips used in classrooms are provided as graphics. While the author has some fun with the strips themselves, he also provides lessons about why the filmstrips were used and the role filmstrips played in education. Filmstrips kept students informed, taught lessons on citizenship, and what was appropriate behavior. The America of the filmstrips was white, middle class, and patriotic. While readers cannot help but be amused at this nostalgic trip back in time, it is also a bit jarring to see how a large segment of society was excluded from filmstrips.
I got a laugh out of what is called "the propaganda" section of the book. It had a filmstrip on bread and the importance of bread in the diet and showed bread in production. While it was probably produced by the bakers of Wonder Bread, the actual plant where the bread is baked has the generic name "Your Local Baker" so it would not be too commercial. I remembered seeing this actual filmstrip and I'm sure believed every word. It recalled rainy days in elementary school when we missed recess and as a "treat" got to see filmstrips.