Harman & Ising VD film

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As long as we are exploring The Smoking Gun – check out this mainly live action, somewhat campy, obscure educational film by Hugh Harman Productions: A Message To Women (1945). The film, produced for the United States Public Health Service, is a frank discussion on the perils of veneral disease. It’s about eighteen minutes long and contains some simple human body diagram animation by Robert Allen. A far cry from the Happy Harmonies of just a few years earlier – but an interesting footnote nonetheless.

(Thanks, Tom Maynard)


  • http://itsthecat.com Mark Kausler

    It’s an interesting experience to come across this obscure Harman picture on the internet. I’ve heard of it many times, it’s in Hugh’s records, but never seen it. I can’t imagine that Hugh liked it, he probably took the job for the few dollars he could make from it. I can’t say I recommend viewing it on the Smoking Gun’s site. The image (originally made in color) is black and white, washed out, and has many hesitations and missing frames. The film seized up three times during it’s run on my computer. It’s hard to imagine the internet will ever replace the experience of viewing these films on a projector, there’s no comparison. The staging of the live action looks very similar to Winky the Watchman, may have been the same DP. The charts of the female body look very well rendered, probably looked fine in color, no doubt Kodachrome in 16mm. Some of the scenes of the germs moving through the bloodstream look like live action microphotography. Thanks for linking to this obscure bit of Harman history, Jerry.

  • Bugsmer

    An interesting look at the closed-mouth society of yesteryear. Not a bad little film.

  • http://www.nbcchimes.info Michael Shoshani

    Mark: Technicolor did make imbibition prints in 16MM, so it is possible that the color prints were in Technicolor rather than Kodachrome. (The Natalie Kalmus credit seems to be the only clue that Technicolor was involved – I did not notice a Technicolor credit in the titles.)

  • Jeff

    Does anyone know if Happy Harmonies can be found on DVD. I have the 4 disc laserdisc version – but, alas, no player!

  • Kevin Wollenweber

    Jeff said: >

    The answer is an unfortunate “no”, but I would hope that such an idea is being worked out as I think that a HAPPY HARMONIES set would sell more than one might think, especially if all nine of the MGM BOSKO cartoons are included so that we get to see a fully restored print of “BOSKO’S PARLOR PRANKS” in which full color is given to reused footage from some of Bosko’s days as part of LOONEY TUNES.

    And, I don’t mean to appear crass, but wouldn’t it be amazing if films like the VD instructional film *AND* “WINKY THE WATCHMAN” could be included as special features to show what Harmon was doing once he and Ising left MGM. I would imagine that a HAPPY HARMONIES set would also include the Harmon/Ising films that were done when the duo returned to MGM in 1939 and continued creating cartoons up through 1942, when Tex Avery tornadoed his way in and changed the way anything was looked at through the lense at MGM.