The title of 'Soapbox Derby' comes from America, the famous Soapbox Derby with boys and now girls building their own vehicles. The children now use kits. Which they then race without any drive mechanism down a steep hill. The depiction here is in England.
The Go-Karts had a mechanical driving system. The contestants worked the peddles as fast as they could with their feet. As you can see in the picture on the previous opage, the course is is flat so that the peddles had to be pushed as fast as could be. The wheels are important and usually taken from old prams. In the film the boys had to build their own. The wheels could be purchased from the organisers as was indeed what happened for the victors. The rival Go-kart had expensive wheels but turned out not as good as the 'official' wheels.
A British reader tells us, "The Go- Karts I had were the sort with no peddles. You rode down a hill. You steered it with a rope. It did not always take the corners and would topple over onto a grassy bank!"
A teacher tells us how he used the film in teaching English. He writes, "Must tell you what happened when I showed this 1958 black and white film to my class. Watching films is a fun way for children learning English as a seciond language can use abnd practice their developing skills. I chose an English Children's Film Foundation (CFF) film as they are perfectly suited to the tasre of my 4th graders. I had saved it for the end of term. The film is about two rival groups of boys who are taking part in a Go Kart race. The class was very quite through out the film as it had grabbed their interest. Both boys and girls were clearly enjoying the film. Eyes were focused oN the screen and each child was with the actors as the story unfolded. In the film there is a fight which is very realistic and good ballet, but the boys didn't know that. They lived the fight and afterwards roled played in. There was a humourous scene when one father got his come uphance for his cheating activities. The children recognised actors which they had seen in an Ealing film called 'Hue and Cry'. The climax of the film is the Go Kart Race. When the hero rode over the finish line to victory the entire class cheered with delight. During the film biscuits [cookies] and ice cream (which had been made in a science lesson) were eaten. We had a good cinema experience."
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