God works His mysterious and magical ways in the lives of various troubled teens in this sophomore collection of scrubbed-behind-the-ears shorts from the atomic age.
Kicking off the quartet of tales is A Teenager’s Choice (1959), in which the soon-to-be-18-year-old heroine has decided to run away and elope with her well-meaning boyfriend, who schleps for pennies at the local service station... until her dad gives her the ol’ guilt trip about how important a real Christian wedding in a church is to a successful marriage: "Marriage is a sacred relationship. And you'll be starting right with Christ at the center of your life!" Then she tells her would-be hubby that she’d rather just stay home and play Scrabble with the fam for now instead of putting dents into the headboard: "Marriage is...for real!" All is happy.
Teenage Christmas (1960) follows, as a youth group is too absorbed assembling a nativity scene to answer the soul-searching questions of two mischievous kids. When the brats later throw snowballs at the display in an act of sugar-coated rebellion, the group at first cries for blood: "It's...it's sacrilegious!" It’s not until one of the more dull boys warns that they’re reps of the church, so they should just chill out and tell the kids Bible stories instead. All is happy.
In Teenage Loyalty (1960), perky Jean has her extracurricular eggs in one too many baskets. With the school play and other activities, she neglects her responsibilities as head of her youth group, particularly in trying to find a filmstrip on Africa. When she asks for help too late, her friends turn her down. One guy uses the excuse that he has to help the old farts at the retirement home. Even hunky foreign exchange student Carlos can’t pitch in: "Sounds like you are -- how you say? -- off the beam." In fact, Jean is so busy she's even missed family devotions --several times! At her breaking point, Jean reads the Bible and suddenly figures it all out: "I spread myself so thin, I forgot my chief loyalty...My loyalty to Christ!" Once again, all is happy.
Finally, a bunch of very recognizable character actors (whose names probably won't ring any bells) appear in The Right Start (1955) Pint-sized punk (PETER VOTRIAN) uses the old five-finger discount to swipe an alarm clock from storekeeper WALTER COY (the mad scientist of I Eat Your Skin) who then tells Christian cop STUART RANDALL. After the cop confers with the boy's grim-faced pa, PAUL BRYAR, the little delinquent is enrolled in Sunday school! And-- surprise, surprise -- once the kid is given a lil' new Testament all his own ("Isn't it slick! Can I write my name in it, Pa?") he decides stealing alarm clocks just isn't his style anymore. And Yes, all is happy. Those Lutherans really do have all the answers!
From 16mm holier-than-thou-prints -- Rod Lott, Hitch Magazine
Year: 1950s 1960s
Starring: Peter Votrian
Co-starring: Walter Coy
Other cast: Stuart Randall, Paul Bryar