Sunday, January 24, 2016


I post many videos on this blog that I hope will evoke some memories of the past for readers. This one is a little more personal. This video, that I found on YouTube, is a personal trip back in time for me. This is The Body Human: Facts for Girls. Why would a TV special explaining puberty to girls be like a time machine to me? The reason is it was filmed in my hometown of Lebanon, Missouri.

In the late 70s and early 80s, CBS would run a health/science documentaries called The Body Human. Most of these were very technical and deep programs narrated by a Shakespearean actor named Alexander Scourby.

In 1980, CBS decided to make some episodes devoted to puberty. I'm not sure how our town or how the girls featured in the show were chosen, but it was a big deal.  Originally, it was announced that Ken Howard, star of The White Shadow, would be filming a "Facts for Boys" episode in Lebanon at the same time as Marlo Thomas was filming the "Facts for Girls." Turns out the "Facts for Boys" episode was filmed in Oregon and only the "Facts for Girls" was filmed in Lebanon.

Watching this video, for me, was a time machine back to my youth. I see what the Sonic, McDonalds and Wendys used to looked like in 1980. I see businesses that are no longer around like that convenience store on next to Sonic with the large neon sing that said "GAS,"  IGA and the old Star Theater (which was always behind on showing movies - Electric Horseman was already a year old). Also houses and buildings that are long gone, like that abandoned Candy Store across from the junior high.

I recognize many people I attended school with and many of them I still see when I'm in Lebanon, so I won't make jokes about anything they do in this video. Although I will say if those girls at the slumber party were so excited about boys, why didn't any of them look me up (I'm still available). It is jarring to think that we were so young.

This doesn't not have as much awkward stuff in it as the "Facts for Boys," which included a boy having way too much fun with his dog and a wiener roast (in a sex ed documentary for boys - think about it).

I question why the producers used two songs from the 50s in this, although the rest of it has Bee Gees and Donna Summer, which was contemporary at the time. Also the graphic used to explain menstruation is accompanied by some cool, electronic prog rock. I didn't know menstruation sounded like a Yes song (or King Crimson?)

Something I will say about this, while looking back: PHIL DONAHUE IS ONE OF THE LUCKIEST MEN ALIVE. This was filmed shortly after his marriage to Marlo Thomas. She is gorgeous in this, even while talking about puberty to girls. The one moment that has been burned in my memory, from the first time I saw this , was Marlo Thomas sitting in the grassy center of the track at Lebanon High School (which was fairly new at the time), wearing a nice, white athletic suit and telling the three girls, "I started my period today." Now that is what I call a great moment in television.

I should mention this aired locally on KOLR and was highly promoted. Unfortunatly, I didn't see it when it first aired. It aired at 3:30 p.m. and I didn't get home from school until 4 p.m. This was during the Dark Ages before VCRs or TiVo, so I didn't get to see it until it was shown to our P.E. class in 7th grade. Handy to show something made local for sex education.

Even if you all ready know the "Facts for Girls" enjoy looking at small town kids in 1980. The music, clothes and life.



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