other deaths of note


November 09, 2006

SID DAVIS, 90 Produced education films

Sid Davis, who produced more than 180 educational films warning youngsters of such perils as drugs, drinking and running with scissors, died of lung cancer Oct. 16 in Palm Desert, Calif., daughter Jill Davis said.

From the 1950s into the early 1970s, Mr. Davis created cautionary short films that were screened in classrooms. With titles such as The Bottle and the Throttle and Seduction of the Innocent, they warned children away from underage drinking, drug abuse, vandalism and dropping out of school.

Mr. Davis was inspired to produce movies when his 5-year-old daughter failed to understand his lecture on avoiding strangers, the daughter said. His first effort, in 1950, was The Dangerous Stranger.

Many of his movies were made for $1,000 each, using friends and family as actors, said Ken Smith, author of Mental Hygiene: Better Living Through Classroom Films 1945-1970. "He grew up as a tough kid," Mr. Smith said. "He didn't want kids to follow the same path he did or suffer the same harsh lesson."

Mr. Davis was a movie set stand-in for John Wayne. The actor lent him the money to start a production company, later refusing his $5,000 repayment.

"Wayne tore up the check and said, `Put it back in the business,'" Jill Davis said.

Baltimore Sun Articles
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.