Educational Shorts are short stand-alone programs designed to convey a moral about something within the space of a standard commercial break. Often shown at the tail-end of American Saturday morning cartoon shows, or during the commercial breaks in-between shows. Parodied often elsewhere (who can forget those "Knowledge Is Power" G.I. Joe
shorts, or their various spoofs?). The television versions were first created as a form of commercial during the early days of TV, where commercials actually tried to inform the viewing audience of the uses of a product, instead of simply making the product attractive through glitz and glamour.
Another form of educational short is the short film produced for classroom instruction, typically on some topic related to science or health, or possibly drivers' ed. Another ripe subject for parody, or used to characterize teachers as disengaged.
Compare And Knowing Is Half the Battle
- In the 1970s, CBS had "In the News", narrated by Christopher Glen.
- Inspector Rex has some:
- One is "Rispettando le regole si vive meglio", in which Monterosso is with his niece and Rex. Monte is teaching his niece that the rules are to be respected. A man doing grafitti in a wall and a bicycle rider who does not respect the semaphor are seen. Monte himself throws the cover of a candy in the floor, to which Rex and Monte's niece call Monte to pick it up.
- "Fai goal al bullismo" has a boy playing soccer with Rex. When Rex goes to retrieve the ball, a teenager takes the boy's hat and grabs him by his shirt.
- The Ur-Example of this concept is the Schoolhouse Rock series, featured on ABC (later ABC Family) television in the early-to-mid 1970s. Popular enough that the entire series is available in a 2-DVD boxed set.
- The aforementioned G.I. Joe "Knowledge is Power" blurbs, which aired at the end of each episode, after the teaser but before the credits. In each one, two kids are going to do something, but a member of the GI Joe team stops them and moralizes about why what they're doing is wrong, ending with the phrase "And Knowing Is Half the Battle". Cheesy doesn't describe them...enough. These blurbs were sometimes shown as stand-alone shorts, hence their inclusion in this part of the Wiki.
- When Disney bought ABC and reformatted its Saturday morning lineup, it included a whole slew of Educational Shorts, including How Things Work starring The Lion King's Timon and Pumbaa, and Great Minds Think For Themselves, with Genie from Aladdin. Unfortunately, most of the shorts were gone after two seasons.
- Disney short "The Story of Menstruation", which explained how the menstrual cycle works and how a maturing young woman can deal with it, was shown to schoolgirls in American classrooms for decades.
- Memorably parodied in The Simpsons episode "Bart the Lover", in which Mrs. Krabappel shows the class a film about "A World Without Zinc". It is of course a terrifying dystopia.