Back in 1969, I foolishly agreed to teach the 7th grade religious education class at the Princeton Unitarian Church. No one told me the class had been a failure for several years running. It’s that age where the boys and girls don’t want anything to do with each other. And they are too sophisticated to be interested in mundane issues of religion.
As I recall, I was supposed to teach about the life of the late JC of biblical fame as an ordinary person. We started out by reading some text – the next week only about half came, and they clearly weren’t interested. So I met with Rev. Fred Ward (he later presided over Sharon’s and my wedding), who was the new RE minister for the church. He went through a list of ideas, one of which was making a movie. I had an 8 mm movie camera (video tape hadn’t been invented yet, not to mention video cameras).
The next week I announced that we’d make a movie about the life of Jesus. The girls decided to write a script – it seemed to call for lots of moaning as the baby was being born. The boys were to build a set. The next week I brought in a giant sheet of cardboard I got from a furniture store. The guys found some paint, then every other liquid in the building (cleaning fluids, etc), and “decorated” it. After a couple of weeks of not much happening with the script, I said let’s just start shooting.
In a few minutes, some kid took the camera from me, and became the cameraman from then on. I really no longer remember much about what happened over the next couple of months. Each week I took the film to be developed. The next week I would show it to them, and they’d go on. We all had a ball.
Sadly, I didn’t remember the names of any of the kids except Margy Levine. I’ve since seen Lauren Sarno on the internet – both members of the R.E.S.I.S.T.O.R.S in the “Late Barn Period” and Heather Hazard, all with successful careers.
Anyway, the results are this movie. It shows a lot of concern about adult smoking (including me). It’s about 20 minutes long, and a obviously old technology, altho I have since re-edited it. The original sound was a tape played at the same time, it now has somewhat synchronized sound.