Made in 1942 during WWII by Universal for the U.S. Government and the War Production Board, KEEPING FIT features actors Robert Stack, Broderick Crawford, Andy Devine, Anne Gwynne, Irene Hervey, Lon Chaney Jr. and Dick Foran in a propaganda movie directed by Directed by Arthur Lubin, written by Paul Huston and produeced by Will Cowan. The film was intended to be shown to war workers and, apparently, the wives of war workers who would be tasked with keeping them well fed and "in shape". The plot of the movie centers around an aircraft factory worker, who passes out at his job due to lack of sleep and poor nutrition (he had a donut and coffee for breakfast). Stack goes to see a doctor who scolds him for his poor habits, and this message is repeated at the 2:30 mark in a speech given by the factory foreman. (All the while, another employee is busy eating a gigantic lollipop! Yes, this ain't too subtle a movie.)
At 4:26, the job of the working mother and housewife is seen, with a wife scampering to feed her husband. At 4:45, she is in tears because her husband refused to eat the food she prepared -- too many starches. This food is not a balanced diet (explains an older woman) because it lacks vegetables --
A guest speaker talks about nutrition and talks about how to make a well balanced, nutritious meal in minutes that leaves a hungry man satisfied. This includes milk, tomatoes, vegetables, salads -- fresh fruits.
At 7:50, exercise is emphasized including baseball, table tennis, bowling, swimming, and more. At 8:00, archery is shown with people shooting targets consisting of cartoons of Tojo, Mussolini and Hitler.
At 8:30, the lazy SOB who was eating a lollipop earlier is shown finally getting some exercise pitching horse shoes. He finally reforms himself and vows to get physically fit.
Get proper rest, get up on time, go to your doctor once a year, keep clean, get good nutrition, drink lots of water, and play a bit each day -- that's the advice of this film which is still relevant today.
At 10:00, a group of aircraft fly overhead forming the letters USA.
Arthur Lubin (July 25, 1898 – May 12, 1995) was an American film director and producer who directed several Abbott & Costello films and created the TV series Mister Ed. A prominent director for Universal Pictures in the 1950s, he is perhaps best known today as the man who gave Clint Eastwood his first contract in film.
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November 22, 2020 Subject:
Western in the Public Mind
These guys had starred together in a Western called "Badlands of Dakota", released the previous year about three months before Pearl Harbor. Chaney's "The Wolfman" had been released a couple of days after. A western being quintessentially American was a good fit for some good propaganda.
You still can't get Americans to eat right and exercise no matter how much browbeating the First Lady and the media and other authorities inflict upon us. Eating junk is as American as a Western.