COLLECTIONS

Uncle Sam University has assembled unique collections of films, with appropriate curricula, to achieve educational goals, inspire interest in American history, and develop critical thinking about media messages.

Currently we offer sixteen collections, each typically consisting of 10 or more short subjects and documentaries that share a common theme and educational goal. Supplemental films are also offered. The collections range from 90 minutes to more than two hours. More topical collections are in development. Our curriculum kits include guides, with assignments, activities and online resources.

Many of our shorts and features are award winners and have special historical significance. All are selected to help bring history to life while meeting contemporary educational objectives.

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Extreme Propaganda
This eclectic collection brings together for the first time ten of the most egregious examples of filmic propaganda ever produced. From an early short stressing that candy is an essential part of a healthy diet to a Nazi-produced film pointing out hypocrisies in pre-WWII American social policy, the blatant, dated, and varied messages will help even the least sophisticated student understand that every film has a point of view.

The Cold War I & II
Two 90-minute overviews of the Cold War of the 1950s and 1960s as seen from a Cold War perspective, from sober discussions of the economic and ideological differences between the adversaries to a contemporary fear-mongering Red Menace dramatization. Hollywood stars, cartoons, and a half-hour drama help leaven this often-dull subject.

The Atomic Age I & II
Focusing on the promise and peril of nuclear weapons and technology, the Atomic Age collections go hand-in-hand with the Cold War collections. From peaceful uses of the atom to sobering depictions of WWII atomic destruction to advice for surviving a nuclear attack, these collections cover what could be considered the "home front" of the Cold War.

Marketing America
Ever optimistic, these are the films that America made to sell the American Dream to itself in the 1940s and 1950s - a country of dream houses with dream kitchens and dream cars parked in front. The filmmakers imagine a world where consumption can spiral infinitely upward without ever a hint of any eventual environmental consequences.

Environment and Industry I & II
A sister collection to our Marketing America collection, the films in this collection manifest an optimistic country confident in its ability to manipulate nature, yet usually oblivious to its consequences. These collections focus on government successes "taming" rivers and glorify industry's limitlessly extracting mineral and timber wealth.

Minorities & Ethnicity
This collection bears watching and re-watching, so far are we removed now from the WWII mindset that required filmmakers to defend the idea of a Jewish bombardier or an African-American pilot or a woman's ability to do "man's work." And while some films in this collection defend minorities, others support the government's orders to keep Japanese citizens behind barbed wire.

Military & Industry
An overview of the industrial might that helped win WWII and then made America a superpower for the remainder of the century. Beginning with a postwar tour of West Coast industries, the collection then focuses on armaments produced by the "military/industrial complex" in films made long before President Eisenhower coined the phrase and famously warned of its dangers.

World War II and the Home Front
During WWII people at home in America were doing their part too, as a soldier learns in a cartoon produced for soldiers overseas. They worked in war industries, planted gardens, gathered scrap, sold war bonds to each other, and prepared for their own defense in case of anticipated bombing or invasion. They also worried, and they also found time for fun.

Early Motion Pictures I & II
Two collections of films from the early part of the sound era go behind the scenes to show the people and technology that made the movies. They lend insight into the self-marketing of the film industry that fed America's increasing infatuation with the dream factory that was Hollywood, and predict today's pervasive cult of celebrity.

Early Television
Television technology and production, as depicted by industry public relations films, from before World War II, when TV was only a promise, to the 1950s, when it was a ubiquitous reality. Documentaries carefully explain how pictures can be sent through the air, then go behind the scenes to depict television set manufacture and TV show production.

Rare and Presumed Lost Treasures I & II
Presenting the best of the lost, unknown and little-known films for collectors and students. Take the time to read the individual descriptions of this eclectic assortment, and please let us know if you can help us find more films that should be rescued from oblivion.