To today’s viewer, the short film made in 1973 for an American Heritage Dictionary marketing campaign looks silly and dated (typewriters? secretaries?). But that’s what makes it so much fun to watch. A takeoff on popular TV shows and movies, it was produced by Bill Miller Film and features dictionary staff and other Houghton Mifflin employees performing skits about pronunciation, usage, and meaning. Watch a well-dressed, middle-aged woman get doused with water (“I said vichyssoise, not Vichy water! Ho ho!! All the way down!”). Watch a person in a bear suit run around a secretary’s desk hoisting a chair (“Take a seat, Mr. Bear”). Watch a man on the street being asked what he thinks about the sentence “The boy was bit by the dog” (“That’s too bad!!”). Watch—well, just watch the whole thing. It’s good for a few laughs and as a reminder of the excitement surrounding the publication of a fledgling American dictionary (first published in 1969).
Direct from the dusty archives, we are pleased to present “Everything You Always Wanted to Know About: Sects, Sets, Sex, prefix, frankforts, Waldorf, idle, American, peanuts, gin, Heritage, cabbage, Dictionary, Rasputin, bassoon, cohort, rum, putty, rotor, usage, coquette, alfalfa, zipper, Mississippi, … etc.: But Were Afraid to Axe!!”
Direct link: http://youtu.be/QMN9zaeUtK8
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