Cliche Family in Televisionland, 1950s

A gem of a film that shows the lengths advertising companies went to to market products in the 1950s.

Over the top characters are depicted in the race to sell, sell, sell.

A discussion on modern-day cliches would be an excellent follow-up lesson, with students making their own “Cliche Family”. What might that look like today? Would it be as easy to make this film today? What are the major cliches seen in most commercials today?

For more resources check out our 1950s PowerPoint.

What is money?

Money is explained by this 1947 Coronet film.

It explains the progression of our economic system, beginning with bartering by early humans. Because of specialization, bartering is no longer appropriate and money has emerged. First there were spearheads and other unreliable forms of wealth, which eventually led to the use of silver and gold coins. The mint system is shown as it is explained that the government is the backbone to the value of our money.

Although it shows its age, as a 1940s film, it would spark some interesting discussions on money in any Social Studies class.

Trading Centers of the Pacific Coast, 1947

This partial clip offers a simplified breakdown of trade from the ports of the western U.S.

As a bonus, it contains some useful information about the growth of cities, explaining their proximity to natural resources and the growth of technology. Also has great footage of the port cities in the 1940s.

This would be useful in any social studies class.


This classic Coronet film features a group of high school students doing a radio broadcast on capitalism. Although it would certainly be considered cheesey by contemporary students, it is still a great way of discussing the major benefits of a capitalist system.

Banks and Credit, 1948

This short video shows how banks operate and how credit works. Although it is a bit dry, it is actually quite informative and would help students understand the system.

Given the current economic climate this seemed timely.

Published in: on May 13, 2009 at 5:34 pm  Leave a Comment  
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It’s All About the Money

This ten minute video demonstrates the use of “It’s All About the $” Federal Reserve program in an actual New York classroom.

“It’s All About Your $” teaches students about the history of money, the role of money in the economy, and interesting features of U.S. and foreign currencies.

Here is a companion lesson guide.

Trade in a Cold War World, 1951

This Cold War era film explains global trade. It breaks down the purposes of foreign trade and the arguments made in favor and against free trade. It also shows why trade is important is for the world.