If you grew up in the 1970’s and 80’s…you must be feeling pretty old by now… sorry, what I meant to say was you must be feeling pretty nostalgic whenever anybody reminds you of, or more likely posts you a link, of one of the Public Information Films of your youth, as a friend of mine did today.
Public Information Films are informational, short films commissioned by the Government and shown in cinemas and during television advertising breaks.
The films generally focus on public safety but are pretty broad in their scope, by also covering situations such as environmental matters, how to vote in a general election and animal cruelty.
The earliest Public Information Films were made during the Second World War and were screened in regional cinemas following commissions from the Ministry of Information.
After the War and from the late 1940’s the Films continued to be produced by small film companies for the Central Office of Information.
Their ubiquity and popularity coincided with the explosion of the television industry because they were supplied to the broadcasters free of charge for use whenever they wanted to use them.
Early television had many gaps in its advertising scheduling of course so the Public Information Film was a Godsend to program controllers who were able to use them to fill these continuity gaps. Hence the commonality and indeed popularity of these films during the 1960’s, 70’s and 80’s.
Public Information Films are still produced and broadcast today but on a vastly reduced scale, often screened late at night and more likely to be highlighting benefit fraud than crossing the road!
Take a look at some classic examples of these films, feel the nostalgia wash over you and do not adjust your set… sorry, I mean do not adjust your laptop, tablet or Smartphone!