In the third grade our class had a movie projector with reels. One kid had a movie projector just like it at home and he always got to load the movie projector for the teacher. I was always really, really jealous even though I didn’t know how to load the projector myself.
This was before the age of videos and the Internet so these “movies” were considered real treats.
But the school didn’t have too many of them and most were real snoozers.
It was also a time when the almost always female teacher would tap only boys in the class to perform the technical feat beyond her of helping the rich kid with the movie theater at home load the projector. Shades of irony hit me here remembering back since the film “Free to Be You and Me” was in large part about breaking down gender stereotypes.
Our teacher who I remember as being very engaging, very educational and fair seemed to think that this one film could drive home messages in a way stronger than any of her 3rd grade lectures. In fact, whenever we took the time to get the “treat” of a film it was likely to be “Free to Be You and Me” again, I guess in case we didn’t get the point the 100 showings before.
This was 1980, the year of the Reagan candidacy when he was trying to unseat Carter and the class took sides with half endlessly repeating the “Jimmy Carter has a way of messing up the USA” slogan. Jimmy Carter didn’t have any snappy chants for 3rd graders, maybe this is why he lost.
Today, technology has advanced. The “boys” in classrooms don’t need to assist teachers with streaming videos or hitting play on the DVD players. But I don’t know if “Free to Be You and Me” or for that matter a film like it would be shown.
In many ways even allowing for the idea that we are all “free to be you and me” seems more radical now than then.