Empire Strikes Back director's wild 1955 anti-comics documentary

Contributed by
Dec 14, 2012

Decades before Irvin Kershner directed The Empire Strikes Back (which we're all agreed is the best of the six Star Wars flicks, right?), he directed a documentary for an L.A. TV station that blames comic books for crime and juvenile delinquency ... and claims it all started with science fiction.

Back when Kershner was a staff TV director at KTTV, he was teamed up with L.A. Times reporter Paul Coates for a 1955 expose of crime and horror comics, both of which were, according to the research of Sen. Estes Kefauver, "very upsetting, it has a bad moral effect and that it is directly responsible for a substantial amount of juvenile delinquency and child crime."

In the documentary, comic-book artist Ellis Eringer makes the claim that the trend toward darker comics "first started as a science fiction kind of a weird thriller," but since there's also a sequence that shows kids reading comics and then rising up to torture one of their friends, we don't feel much like trusting what anyone has to say here. But we think you'll still find it entertaining in a weird, retro "what were they thinking?" kind of way.

Check out the full documentary below.

And BTW—the gory comic book described by one kid starting at the 17:13 mark has got to be the infamous "Foul Play!" by artist Jack Davis and writer Al Feldstein (below), which was originally published in 1953 in The Haunt of Fear #19. Track down the complete story if you can—it's a classic!

(via News From Me)

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