The Explosive Generation (1961)

The Explosive Generation
Directed by Buzz Kulik
Written by Joseph Landon
Vega Productions
First viewing/Amazon Prime


Mrs. Katie Sommers: What do you mean “prove” your love?

Janet Sommers: Well if you don’t know, maybe you’d better ask DAD!


I was pleasantly surprised in the variety of ideas explored in what looks suspiciously like a straight exploitation flick from the poster.

English teacher Peter Giffort (William Shatner) “gets” teenagers and has been selected to teach the “Senior Problems” course designed to prepare graduating teens for “real life”. The discussion turns to problems seniors are experiencing in their current lives and Janet (Patty MacCormack) suggests that the number one problem is “sex”.  There is kind of a mixed reaction to discussing this but Giffort invites anyone interested to write a paper explaining their problem.

Janet’s own problem stems from an unauthorized and unchaperoned over-nighter spent by her and a girlfriend with their boyfriends at a beach cottage owned by one of the guy’s fathers.

The boys are none to happy that Janet may have spilled their secrets.  But in the meantime, the parents get wind of Giffort’s intentions, misconstrue and magnify the intent, and end up protesting to the principal.  All the principal wants is peace and he even gets Giffort to apologize.  Then the students take matters into their own hands and a youth movement is born.

I expected nothing from this sex ed movie and it actually kept my interest the whole way through.  This little movie sort of shows the birth of the youth culture that would contribute to the burgeoning civil-rights movement and lead to the anti-war movement and hippie culture by the end of the decade.

Montage of clips (spot an early performance from Beau Bridges!)

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