Thursday, July 18, 2013

The trippiest anti-drugs film you have ever seen

Thanks to the Open Culture Twitter feed (well worth following) for pointing me to this. Curious Alice was released in 1971 and intended for eight- to ten-year-olds.

If it seems remarkably trippy to us today, then it did to some at the time. The US National Archives page for the film says:
In the 1972 publication, Drug Abuse Films, the National Coordinating Council on Drug Education (NCCDE) criticized Curious Alice for being confusing and potentially counterproductive to drug abuse education. In the report, the NCCDE, an independent organization that received funding from NIMH, evaluated scores of films for scientific accuracy and effectiveness. 
The review panel classified Curious Alice as “restricted”, writing that young viewers “may be intrigued by the fantasy world of drugs” and that it should only be presented with a “very skilled facilitator” in order to “probe for the drug attitudes” of an elementary school class. (In other words, teachers, don’t bother trying to use this film to get kids to stay away from drugs because it’ll require way too much extra work on your part.)
And an article on Slate reminds us of the importance of Lewis Carroll to the drug culture of the 1960s - think White Rabbit by Jefferson Airplane.

But then other key concepts of the decade, like 'getting it together in the country', also had roots in earlier children's literature.

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