In my travels through the tubes of you, I discovered this film, which deserves to be shared. it was shot by Tim Smith, a 15 year old budding filmmaker outside and around his high school in Portland, OR. in 1970. The whole first section shows car and motorcycles in action, and gives a pretty good idea of what kids were driving at the time. And how.
Matt Groening, of Simpson’s fame, was a schoolmate and makes a short appearance. He also made a couple of movies with Tim after this one. Tim Smith’s comments:
It was my first 16mm film with an optical track. I won’t bother explaining it but in some respects it was an early Jesse Files an attempt to show the disparity between the geeks and jocks. Starring: Scott Snedecor, Dan Heims, Tom Raimondi, Richard Gehr. My brother Duncan Smith makes a cameo at the end also Matt Groening of Simpson’s fame makes a cameo as well. Have fun.
I’m also including this one, made in 1971, and a spoof on a somewhat obscure tv travelogue that the filmmaker used to watch on tv as a kid. I really got a kick out of it as I could so doing something like this at time with some of my friends. Tim’s comments:
When growing up, I had a notorious reputation of watching too much television. However, I told my siblings that much of my viewing was part of my research as a young ‘want to be’ comedy filmmaker. This is Portland was my first somewhat successful attempt at satire and spoofs. It’s a direct spoof of a little known couple named Don and Bettina who were known for a series of travelogs. The two of them (I vaguely remember) produced fairly amateur films about travel — with crude sound and kitchy music. This short is in part dedicated to their memory. Note: this is Portland in 1971, when Portland was a dumpy little town with nothing in particular except offering a safe place to raise a family. My brother Duncan (now deceased) is featured as the character in the tuxedo along with his date in evening dress, Elinor Markgraf. Enjoy
Did anyone else see the name Matt Groening
From the simpsons fame in the credits ?
Well, I haven’t watched the film yet, so I haven’t seen the credits.
But I did get a glimpse of the name Matt Groening in the one-two-three-fourth line of the Curbside Classic post here. 😉
This shows what HS kids were really driving during the “muscle car era”. A Mustang coupe, not a Boss 429 fastback. A Dodge Dart, not a Charger Daytona.
Popular belief is “all teens” during 1964-71 got brand new, high HP, supercars, and then when “net HP appeared, they all stopped.”
New “muscle cars” were sold mostly to young men with full time jobs. The fastest car in my high school, same era, was an ex-CHP ’67 Polara.
Beautiful! The passing of time makes me sad.
Cute. It is great to see big American cars filling the streets.
That sculpture in front of the Georgia Pacific (now Standard Insurance) building is locally known as “Three Groins in a Fountain”.
This is a delight, Paul—thanks for sharing.
We’re the same age, so this is tail-end of high school years for both of us. I didn’t own a car until 22, so wasn’t in “car culture” in this way, but the look of the streets, the dress and hair and so on might well be my suburban Cleveland years. And, yes, these were the kinds of cars HS students were driving (and street racing).
Thanks for clueing us in to the Groening connection, worth a grin all by itself.
For younger CC-ers: yes, pretty much everyone had those proportions then. Whether we should “blame” HFC or cheap food or huge portions or societal indifference or curtailed smoking for Americans being notably larger today, it really is striking comparing 1970 with 2018.
Thanks again for this “find,” Paul…….not so common to see 16mm in amateur hands like this, and so notably crisper than what typical home-movie 8mm looked like.
I had a feeling you’d like it. Undoubtedly it helps to be the same vintage to appreciate it properly.
Wow, a lot of cigarette smoking in that short. Way more than I remember in high school from 67-71.
That’s because it’s intentional, at least in the scenes that were staged. These kids were acting, and being directed.
There’s a lot more cigarette smoking in modern tv and movies than I see in real life too.
Cigarette smoking peaked in the USA about 1968, but I dont remember any kids smoking tobacco back then, a little weed maybe. Back in the 1940’s, when my mom went to the same HS as I, there was a smoking patio for students.
Paul, this is a great find. The Smith family is quite interesting. The father, Lendon Smith, was a prominent and controversial pediatrician and an early advocate of vitamins and nutrition – he appeared on local and national television.
Tim’s brother Duncan, featured in these films, was a writer who later pursued a Ph.D. in Classics at Cornell until he became ill and died of AIDS in 1991. This piece on some of his writing is interesting because of the clear connection in it to the car culture portrayed in Tim’s early films. The film Tim posted on his site of his father discussing Duncan’s life and death is very poignant.
“Portland, arrr-uh-gaahnn“…? I’ll admit it’s been a lot of years since I lived in OR, but I recall that pronunciation being a marker of people from away. Maybe the filmmaker was using it deliberately to mock?
Maybe the filmmaker was using it deliberately to mock?
It was a spoof, right? Right down to the very stilted pronunciation. No one who grew up in Oregon would pronounce it that way.
Especially not people from the WILL-uh-METT Valley. 😉