Friday, October 21, 2011

1969 Time Warp


1969 Making a film for fun...

In 1969, when I was in my last year of high school in Christchurch, New Zealand, a girlfriend and I, along with two film maker friends, made a short three minute movie to the song Society's Child.
The film was released on the sole television channel at the time and aired as an 'interlude' - a filler when the programming, for some reason, didn't run to schedule.

The song Society's Child, was first released in 1965 by Janis Ian, a sixteen year old. She had written the song when only thirteen. The song concerned the taboo subject of inter racial romance and caused quite a stir at the time.

The song tells of a girl's inter racial romance that was forbidden by her mother and frowned upon by her peers and teachers. The girl eventually decides to end the relationship claiming that societal norms and pressure left her with no other choice.

Many radio stations refused to play the song and one in Atlanta that did was burned to the ground.
Ian received hate mail and death threats.
Ian said later that she lived in a near all black community and was one of only five white children in her school so that she saw the issue from both sides. She also regrets the hurt the song caused her family and the fact that her father was branded a racist when this wasn't the case.
She said she wrote the song to reflect the way things were in the community at that time.

The song became a hit after it was featured on Leonard Bernstein's TV special -
Inside Pop: The Rock Revolution.

Our little film looked at the issue of class differences and the difficulty of breaching class barriers and forming cross class friendships.

The tall fellow in the top shot has become a respected New Zealand filmmaker, well known for his Antarctic filming. Working for NHNZ, a film production company, Max Quinn has made over twenty films in the antarctic regions.

To slip back to the late sixties click here:

Pity about the false eyelashes...


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  5. I was in my last year of high school in 1969, too. We must be the same age, Delwyn. The year 1969 is a memorable year for me. Student movement against the closed system of the university mixed with anti-war movement was radical. I took entrance examination to the universities in the abnormal situation surrounded by the riot squads of the prefectural police.

    The late sixties was a revolutionary, turbulent time of great social and technological changes, and you and your friends seem to have contributed to that trend a bit. Didn’t you move into filmmaking field later?

    I’m a fan of Janis Ian: her singing voice is haunting. I got to know her music by her “Will You Dance?”, my all-time favorite. Another my favorite, “At Seventeen”, shows how she felt inferior in her appearance. Yes, in her younger ages, her make-up is pitiful somewhat. I didn’t know how people reacted to “Society’s Child”. Thank you for this informative post.


  6. Hi Yoko

    I have just been listening to 'Will you dance' I was unfamiliar with that song but know 'At Seventeen' well.

    Thanks for your 1969 story. I marched against the war... perhaps that was in 1970 when I was a first year student.

    With the closed university system who was eligible to enter?

  7. “Will You Dance” made a mega hit in Japan, not in other countries, as the song was used a theme music for a popular TV drama back then. The lyrics fit the drama.

    I think all the students were given equal opportunity to enter universities if only successful to the entrance examination even in the sixties. What I mean “closed system of university” is many things were decided behind the closed doors, not open to the students.

  8. Hi Marry,i like the photos very much,hope you will visit my blog too


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