Television Depictions of Boys Clothes: Television Themes--Schools

Figure 1.--The German documentary TV documentary film, "Die Harte Schule", depict the experiences of modern German boys and girls recreate the experiences and dress of a 1950s boarding school. Here the boys are trying on their new unifirms.

We have not yet made pages with many subject listings as we have done with movies. This is in part because television programs with children are often family shows rather than written with more thematic approaches. Thus while subjects like bullies, choirs, danceing, holidats, schools, youth groups, and other topics addressed by movies are more likely to be just one or two episodes in a TV series. We have archived made for TV movies in the movie section.

(Die) Harte Schule (Germany)

The German documentary TV documentary film, "Die Harte Schule", depict the experiences of modern German boys and girls recreate the experiences and dress of a 1950s boarding school. "Die harte Schule" was identical to the British channel 4 documentary entitled "That'll Teach Them". A reader writes, "'Die Harte Schule' was made in 2006 and was similar but better as the the boys wear grey shorts and knee socks throughout and look very smart even though alot of them are at least 6 foot tall. The best way to view it is with and see the episodes in order. The uniforms look more English than German except for the stockings.

Leave It to Beaver (United States)

Quite a few episodes of this classic American program "Leave It to Beaver" have school scenes, mostly classroom scenes or in the hall right before the classes. The class room scenes are rather formal and unrealistic. Beaver in one of these scenes causes a pandimonium when he comes to school in gis short pants suit.

Little House on the Prarie (United States)

A one-room Prarie school is depicted in this long-running Amerucan TV series. It gets a lott of attention because not only do the main characters go to school, but two of the girls vecome teachers.

Neighbours (Australia)

Neighbours is the most important Aussie soap opera. It has also become one of the most widely followed daily soaps in Britain and indeed has proven popular around the world with new countries signing on every year. It never, however, proved popular in America, even on PBS which did carry "East Enders". Many children have been featured over the years and they often wore their school uniforms. This provided a view of changing boyswear and school uniform fashions. The series launched the careers of Jason Donovan and Kylie Minogue.

Phil of the Future (United States)

"Phil of the Future" is a comedy about a family from the year 2121 sent back in time to the year 2005 due to a faulty time machine. Phil, the main character, his parents, and sister try to fit in until Dad can repair their time machine. The seies is carried on the Disney Channel. The seies is sent in contemporary terms. I presume there is some imaginative 2121, but for the most part the costuming is comtemporary. One exception is a brief scene in one of the first episodes in which Phil, the main character, appears in what was meant to be a 1950s school uniform.

Saved By the Bell (United States)

Teen-age high school sitcom. The show is a gold-mind of information about contemporary teenage styles. The main character is a bubble headed boy, Zak (Mark Paul Gouselaar) who wears preppy styled clothes. I can remember a Wonder Works show with him as a 14-year-old. He played his part beautifully.

Seven Up (England)

The BBC television documentary "7 Up" had a lot os scenes shot at school in both the age 7 and age 14 segments. We worked up a paragraph on "Seven Up", but somehow managed to delete it. I'll try to recreate what I had as it is a very important British televion program. Granada Television in 1964 broadcast "Seven Up". The premise of the program was that a person's character was set at age 7. The producers interviewed 14 London 7-years olds at age 7. The children included both boys and girls from a range of social backgrounds. The interviews in themselves were fascinating. The children were ernest and honest. There was none of the humor associated with Art Linkletter or Bill Cosby's interviews of children. These interviews were very serious. All the boys wore short pants and kneesocks, including three very proper boys in a prep or pre-prep school. It was only later that Granada conceived of following up on the children every 7 years to test the premise. A reader writes, "The saddest kid was the Liverpool boy. He was such a delight at 7 but mental heath problems came upon him in his teenage years and I think he did not have a very successful life. The pre prep boys made me laugh. Some did go on into occupations that allowed them to follow a social calling. Saw all the programmes. Then they did not make anymore follow-ups. Now we are 50, Now we are 65. These would be interesting to see the contrast to the planning and what happened."

That'll Teach Them (England)

This British channel 4 documentary took about 30 boys and girls 16/17 years old and subject them to 1950's school life. A reader writes, "The British show was broken into 3 groups. th 1) 1950,s private/minor public school. 2) Same period grammar school. 3) Same period secondary modern school. This was shown with about 6 episodes for each group shown over 3 seperate years. The boys had their hair cut short and wore school uniform. The first two wore long trousers blazers etc. The last one sec modern some of the lads wore shorts, and they all attended a scout troup with traditional scout uniform long socks shorts. They attended classes with a 1950 curriculum and were required to sit GCE O levels which they failed miserably even though they had A+ grades with the new dumbed down version of he exam."

Welcome Home Kotter (United Sates)

This was a depiction of an inner city American school.

(AJ) Wentworth (England)

AJ WEntworth" was an amusing British sitcom set in a British prep school. The boys are quite charming. They all wear traditional uniforms, including short trousers and kneesocks. I don't remember any episodes that actually dealt with clothing. There were only six episodes made. The series was based on stories written by H.F. Ellis, which first appeared in the satirical English magazine Punch. The tories were then compiled into two books, The Papers of A J Wentworth, BA (1949) and The Papers of A J Wentworth, BA (Ret'd) (1962). The series were the misadventures of math master (teacher) of dodling A.J. Wentworth BA. He taught at a boys' preparatorty school--Burgrove. A British prep school is school for children 8-13 years of age. The stories are set in the 1940s at which time these schools were mostly single gender schools, usually boarding schools in rural settings. Wentworth was liked by the boys, but often had trouble maintaing discipline. He had an obsession with the up-keep of the school's honour and amusingly the high cost of pen nibs. He was forever matching wits with boys. His real nemesis, however, was the humorless Matron who ws less popular with the boys. The series rather reminded one of Jennings, although not set around one of th oys as the main character. The Wentworth series had a sad footnote. The series was the final one for the masterful, Arthur Lowe who was best known for his part of Captain Mainwaring in Dads Army and previously Mr Swindley in Coronation Street during the 1960s. The Wentworth series was recorded just a few weks before Lowe's untimely death.

You Can't Do That on Television (Canada)

A number of the skits on this Canafaian series were set in school.


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Created: 9:04 AM 1/30/2008
Last updated: 11:36 AM 1/31/2008