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Film / Goodbye, Miss Turlock

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Goodbye, Miss Turlock is a 1947 short film (ten minutes) directed by Edward Cahn.

It was written, produced, and narrated by John Nesbitt as part of his Passing Parade series of film shorts for MGM. This one deals with what was even then a vanishing institution: the rural one-room schoolhouse. As Nesbitt explains in his narration, the building of a highway system has made the one-room schoolhouse obsolete, as it is now more efficient to bus the kids in tiny rural communities to larger schools in towns. The film regards this with melancholic nostalgia, focusing on one particular one-room schoolhouse, and on Miss Turlock, an Old Maid schoolteacher who spent decades helping to raise the children of one little town.

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Tropes:

  • Brats with Slingshots: The boy called "Irish" doesn't even have a slingshot, but he improvises with a rubber band and his two fingers, successfully landing a spitball on Miss Turlock's blackboard. He gets detention.
  • Narrator: No dialogue, but instead John Nesbitt narrating, as he always did in the Passing Parade shorts. Here he is a student in one of Miss Turlock's classes.
  • Old Maid: Miss Turlock, spending her life doing one of the few jobs available to women, raising a whole community of children. (Naturally the film does not stop to consider the sexism in this trope.)
    "Maybe spinster Turlock wasn't so alone and so childless after all."
  • Old School Building: The short begins and ends with shots of the crumbling, abandoned schoolhouse. At the end Nesbitt muses about how eventually it will be forgotten entirely.
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  • Schoolmarm: Miss Turlock, the Old Maid variant of the country schoolteacher, beloved by generations of students.
  • Time-Shifted Actor: Miss Turlock's last day teaching school sees a bunch of grown-up former students come to her class, including the mother of four who was the pretty girl everyone fought over, or the grown man who was "Irish", the boy shooting the spitball.
  • Title Drop: The last line of narration.
    "Goodbye, Miss Turlock. School's out at last."
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