'Alcohol Is Poison!' A 1950s PSA for Teens

A group of friends candidly discuss the risks associated with underage drinking.

What About Drinking, brought to us by the Prelinger Archive, is an educational film created at the Center of Alcohol Studies at Yale University in 1954. It centers on a group of teenagers, whose party is interrupted with news of a car accident: Bob and Ted hit a pedestrian while driving, and police found a bottle of alcohol in the car. What follows is an honest discussion among friends about underage drinking, with the girls professing more conservative (and religious) views than the boys. Three of the boys discuss the issue with their fathers as well. One father notes, “A drink before bed in the evening is just about the best thing I know of.”

Despite the teenagers’ overacting, the film is actually quite good. It renders the debate over underage drinking (and alcohol consumption in general) as difficult and highly personal. It concludes with an open-ended question to the audience: “What do you think?”

For more from the Prelinger Archive, visit their site

Alessandra Ram is a former writer and producer for The Atlantic Video Channel. Her work has also appeared in Foreign Policy.

How to Cook Spaghetti Squash (and Why)

Cooking for yourself is one of the surest ways to eat well. Bestselling author Mark Bittman teaches James Hamblin the recipe that everyone is Googling.

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register.

blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

How to Cook Spaghetti Squash (and Why)

Cooking for yourself is one of the surest ways to eat well.

Video

Before Tinder, a Tree

Looking for your soulmate? Write a letter to the "Bridegroom's Oak" in Germany.

Video

The Health Benefits of Going Outside

People spend too much time indoors. One solution: ecotherapy.

Video

Where High Tech Meets the 1950s

Why did Green Bank, West Virginia, ban wireless signals? For science.

Video

Yes, Quidditch Is Real

How J.K. Rowling's magical sport spread from Hogwarts to college campuses

Video

Would You Live in a Treehouse?

A treehouse can be an ideal office space, vacation rental, and way of reconnecting with your youth.

More in Video

Just In