Sunday, January 24, 2010

Lee's Creek: Home of "Mom and Dad"

Being a B-Movie, cult film and exploitation flick fan, I've spent years immersed in reference materials educating myself on the genre. Over that time I've grown especially fascinated with the old school exploitation practice of road-showing and four-walling. And,....a name that tends to be spoken of alot in conjunction with this business is Kroger Babb....

Babb (info here), it seems, was a bit of a pioneer in the road show business, and one of the more successful men to do it. As a matter of fact, he's probably the most successful...and all because of a little film called Mom and Dad....

From Wikipedia:

Mom and Dad (known as The Family Story in the United Kingdom) is a feature-length 1945 film directed by William Beaudine, and largely produced by the exploitation filmmaker and presenter Kroger Babb. Mom and Dad is considered the most successful film within its genre of "sex hygiene" films. Although it faced numerous legal challenges, and was condemned by the National Legion of Decency, it went on to become one of the highest-grossing films of the 1940s.

Mom and Dad starred Hardie Albright. It is regarded as an exploitation film, a term used to describe repackaged films with a controversial content, sometimes including medical footage, designed to establish an educational value that might circumvent U.S. censorship laws.

Babb's marketing of his film incorporated old-style medicine show techniques, and used unique promotions to build an audience. These formed a template for his later works, which were imitated by his contemporary filmmakers. In 2005, the film was added to the United States National Film Registry, in recognition of its numerous achievements.

Not a bad mark to have on one's resume, eh?

Now, a few years back, I found it incredibly surprising that Babb's hometown was literally a hop, skip, and a jump away from my own home, so I decided to investigate.

Now, if you click on the above map (courtesy of Google Maps) and enlarge it, you'll find that I wasn't exaggerating. Lee's Creek is literally within walking distance of my home, roughly about 6 miles. But, seeing as I live in the farmland boonies outside of town and it was getting late, I decided to make it a nice scenic little drive... may be asking yourself, "What's the town like?"'s basically a four-way intersection....and a school. Nowhere near as full of sin and indecency as one would expect a grubby sexploitation mogul to have been reared in...though, having come from a teaching background myself (a course of study in education, along with art is what I ended up weaseling 60 thousand dollars worth of grant money outta various places for four years of college), public schools these days seem to be fairly scary places. I wonder what students reaction these days would be at East Clinton High School if one were to show them "Mom and Dad" in sex ed. class? Probably pretty priceless...