The Children's Story -- a film by James Clavell


Produced for television by

Mobil Showcase Network
in 1982
 

Author/Writer/Producer/Director: James Clavell
 
 

I recorded this After School Special off the TV in 1982 and used
it for several years in my 7th grade classroom at Morrill Middle School
in San Jose.

And then -- I lost it!

It took me years and years before I was able to obtain another
copy.

Nobody seems to own the rights.

Fortunately, I found somebody else who recorded it when it was broadcast
and she sent me a copy.

That somebody was the mother of one of the child actors.

During my quest to get a copy, I was able to communicate
with two of the child actors and Michaela.

They were all very gracious.

Because I've seen this video numerous times, I found some
of the behind-the-scenes stories they related very interesting.

I used to lend out a DVD of the video but I have since put it on http://archive.org/details/TheChildrensStory

The copy on archive.org is the same quality of the video I have.

Please note: The copy on archive.org is higher quality than what you'd find on YouTube.

Here are 40 questions I wrote up for my students:

The Children's Story -- By James Clavell -- 40 Questions
  1. What would it be like if another country conquered the U.S.?
  2. What would they do with our country?
  3. How would they control everybody?
  4. How would they get people to cooperate?
  5. Why do people pledge allegiance to the flag?
  6. Why do we say the pledge every day instead of just once like marriage vows?
  7. The new teacher said, "The principal just wants to talk to you." Who did she say that to? Was it true?
  8. Why does the old teacher call the enemy monsters?
  9. Describe their regular teacher.
  10. Why did they put young, pretty teachers in the new classes?
  11. Why did the first teacher call Johnny "Tommy?"
  12. Why wouldn't the second teacher mistake one of the children's names?
  13. What do the children think about the teacher knowing all their names?
  14. Why did the new teacher memorize all the students' names?
  15. The new teacher says it's not right for students to have memorize long words they don't understand. Do you agree? Why or why not? What are a couple of those long words?
  16. One of the boys refers to "our real teacher." (Our real teacher Mrs. Warden didn't say anything about it.) The new teacher rephrases his question by using the words, "your old teacher." Why doesn't she just say, "I'm your real teacher?"
  17. The new teacher asks, "How can a flag be more important than a real live person?" How would you answer that question?
  18. And she says, "But we don't need a sign to remember we love our country." How would you respond to that statement?
  19. She says, "Yes, it's a very pretty flag. I wish I could have a piece of it. If it's so important, I think we should all have a piece of it." Explain why she says this and how it isn't logical.
  20. One of the students objects and says, "I don't think we should cut up the flag." What is the very next thing the new teacher says?
  21. Who is selected to be the first person to cut the flag? How and why was that selection made?
  22. How does the new teacher make destroying the flag a fun activity?
  23. The new teacher said, "You can ask me anything you like" but she won't say what her name is. Why?
  24. The new teacher said, "She was crying because she needed a rest. She's going to have a long rest....We think teachers should be young." What's going to happen to the old teacher?
  25. When a student asks who won the war, what is her answer?
  26. She says, "Your dad is at school for having wrong thoughts. He'll have a vacation soon. Everyone who goes to school has a vacation. That's fair?" What do you think is truth about his dad?
  27. What do you think those wrong thoughts could have been?
  28. She says, "I have a lovely surprise. You're all going to stay overnight with us. You'll be in  lovely room and we'll tell stories." Why are they keeping them overnight?
  29. How does she get the children to like Our Leader more than God?
  30. How does she explain why she put the candy on the desks instead of Our Leader?
  31. If she put the candy on the desks instead of Our Leader, then why does one of the girls still call it "Our Leader's candy?"
  32. How does she get Johnny on her side?
  33. How does she get Fitz on her side?
  34. How does she get Leslie on her side?
  35. How does she get the students to start distrusting things their parents tell them?
  36. Do you think she intended to get caught putting the candy on the table? Do you think she was trained to say what she said if she got caught?
  37. Why does she tell the children they can still pray if their parents want them to? Why doesn't she say, "Don't pray. It's stupid. There is no God?"
  38. In your opinion, what is realistic about this story? And, what is not realistic?
  39. In your opinion, what is the author trying to tell us by writing this story?
  40. Why do we say the Pledge in school? What's the purpose?
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Film Credits:
 Cast

Starring:
Mildred Dunnock as The Old Teacher

Michaela Ross as The New Teacher  (Michaela Clavell)

Students:
James Mcall -- Johnny
Fitz Gitler
Michelle Francoeur
Vanessa Biery
Chris Moy
Kiernan Tate
Max Barabas
Danielle Duclos
Christin Fenton
Leslie Weiner
Michael Bellaran
Jimmy Stokes
Nicole Smith
Romy Takagi
Sal Sanchez
Toni Ann Gisondi

Production Company:
Produced by October Productions

Co-Producer: John R. Sloan
Production Supervisor: John Starke
Director of photography: Michael Davis
Editor: Susan Steinberg

Other Credits:
Costume Design: Ana Colon
Casting: Amanda Mackey
Co-ordinater: April Stride
Sound Recording: Franklin D. Stetiner
Location Manager: David Starke
Production Secretary: Doty Moorehead
Script Supervisor: Carolyn Zatz
First Assistant Camera: Madelyn Most
Second Assistant Director: Stephen Wertimer
Production Assistant: Michael Boonstra
Assistant Editor: Robin Katz
Property Master: Edwin Atkins
Make-up: Linda Grimes
Wardrobe: Barbara Palmer
Gaffer: Jonathan Lumley
Boy Grip: Dustin Smith
Set Director: Loretta Beasley
Sound Editor: Bernie Hadenberg
Music Editor: Todd Kasow
Re-recording Editor: Peter Page
Apprentice Editor: Juliet Weber
Auditor: John L. Moorehead
Publicity: The Betsy Nolan Group
Drama Consultant: Brenda Forbes
Percussion Music: James Ogden

Title Song:
"Children of the World" by The Bee Gees