Monday, April 09, 2007

Red Light Green Light

Well, I didn't mean to give up posting on The Hanged Man for Lent. It just sort of turned out that way, a unconscious contrast to last year's daily Lenten musings. Oops.

Last week I re-encountered one of those mysterious artifacts from my childhood. When I was in first grade, our entire class, and if I remember correctly, the entire school, had to go to the gymnasium to watch a movie. The movie was meant to teach kids "don't talk to strangers," and to make the point as obvious as possible, a red traffic light would be superimposed over each creepy adult's face.

Seeing the movie again last week (it's called "Red Light Green Light" and is available on the dvd The Educational Archives: More Sex and Drugs) I was amazed by how much I misremembered. I recalled a stern narrator's voice accompanying each red traffic light with the warning "this is a red light person." Nope. The movie was also a lot looser than I thought: lots of scenes of the kids just playing, hanging out, having fun. The "beware of strangers" scenes actually make up very little of the movie's running time. It's actually kinda slow - I'm amazed I sat through it.

I do recall, however, when we were discussing the movie afterwards in Miss Lord's class (yes, my first grade teacher was named Grace Lord), Miss Lord saying "I don't know why they had the red light over the man who was trying to give the little boy an ice cream cone. He seemed nice - I think that was a mistake."