Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?


Grade School Flashback: Remember these classic short movies?

If you were in grade school in the ’60s or ’70s, you’ll probably remember these classroom staples that were shown in millions of classrooms on film day.

A lot of the educational movies were, I’m sure, as hokey as the ones that are lampooned on The Simpsons.” (“Come back, Zinc!”)

I know I sat through my share of forgettable movies but here are three that made a big impression.

So much so that I’m surprised how well I remembered them all these years later when I found them again on YouTube.

Beach: A River of Sand

This 1965 educational film about how beaches are formed no doubt helped shape future generations of scientists and whet our appetite for shows like “How It’s Made” and “Mythbusters” and spending countless hours watching the Discovery channel. At 5:57 in the film, they break out the miniature lab models. Even before my rewatch for this article, I remembered these models showing how the winter waves gouge away the sand while the summer waves leave more sand than they take. Bonus: The folksy narration and the vintage bathing suits on view from people enjoying the beach.

Paddle to the Sea

This classic film about a little wooden carving of an Indian in a canoe that travels thousands of miles was first an award-winning children’s book, written and illustrated by Holling C. Holling in 1941. It was made into a film in 1966 by the National Board of Canada and received an Oscar nomination. “Paddle to the Sea,” not only taught us geography, but a sense of adventure and, you could argue, craftsmanship, perseverance and a sense of something beyond themselves. Those who found the carving read and followed the message to put it back in the water. This wasn’t a prize to keep, but an object with a destiny.

As a fan on YouTube wrote, “Very few things stick in my mind from my schooling, and yet for many decades I’ve said, ‘I am Paddle to the Sea. Please put me back in the water.'”

The Red Balloon

A beautiful, nearly wordless 1956 French film about a red balloon that almost seems alive. It appears to a young boy (Pascal Lamorisse, the filmmaker’s son) and begins to follow him, even waiting for him until he gets out of school. It won an Oscar for Best Original Screenplay and numerous other awards.

Pascal, who’s now in his ’60s and did a short NPR interview in 2007 when the film was released on DVD and rereleased in theaters. 

He told NPR, “My father was a dreamer. He thought of a better world. He would tell us a story a day, so we’re spoiled.” He concludes, “The red balloon was my friend. He was a real character with a spirit of his own.”

During the interview, he said he’d been working on a sequel to The Red Balloon, but he apparently hasn’t filmed it yet.

Click to comment

You must be logged in to post a comment Login

Leave a Reply


Forces of Geek is protected from liability under the DMCA (Digital Millenium Copyright Act) and “Safe Harbor” provisions.

All posts are submitted by volunteer contributors who have agreed to our Code of Conduct.

FOG! will disable users who knowingly commit plagiarism, piracy, trademark or copyright infringement.

Please contact us for expeditious removal of copyrighted/trademarked content.


In many cases free copies of media and merchandise were provided in exchange for an unbiased and honest review. The opinions shared on Forces of Geek are those of the individual author.

You May Also Like


As we close out the 60s, there seems to be no end to the Cold War. The current stakes are literally to the moon...


Shout! Select proudly presents the Jody Hill comedy Observe and Report on Blu-Ray this August 18. The comedy arrives at the scene with a...


It’s graduation day at Huntington Hills High– a time for Pomp and Circumstance, tassels and mortarboards, and serious introspection about the future. But tonight,...


A thrilling post-MTV roller-coaster ride, RUN LOLA RUN is the internationally acclaimed sensation about two star-crossed lovers who have only minutes to change the...