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The Days of Our Years was an educational short produced for Union Pacific Railroad in 1955. It's best known for its appearance on Mystery Science Theater 3000. The three depressing stories in the film are warnings about taking life for granted, following safety measures, and that there are 70 days in each year.

The short starts with a pastor watching an ambulance go by, and musing about how many people around him fail to enjoy their full lifetimes because of carelessness. Thus he focuses on three members of his church, all railroad employees, who have had a tragedy occur to them. The first deals with a pair of young lovers who are eager to get marriednote . The second is about two co-workers planning their retirement and looking forward to spending their last few years happy and with their familiesnote . The final tale is about a young welder and father-to-be who is very happy and excited to see his new baby boynote .

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Each story ends in tragedy. And tragedy that Union Pacific Railroad bears absolutely no responsibility for, nope.

For the Mystery Science Theater 3000 version, please go to the episode recap page.


Tropes:

  • Bait-and-Switch: We're introduced to George, apparently confined to his front porch, and mention is made of some bitterness between him and the young man living across the street. At first it's made to seem that the neighbor is responsible for the accident that befell George; but it turns out that George himself is responsible for the accident... which killed the young man's father.
  • Broken Aesop: Apparently, joy, sex, and old age are the leading causes of death.note 
  • Cruel Twist Ending/Downer Ending: EACH STORY.
  • Don't Sneak Up On Me Like That: Failing to use "gentle pressure" to get a co-worker's attention while using a blowtorch leads to...
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  • Eye Scream: Charlie O'Neil, the welder who gets his eyes burned.
  • Imagine Spot: In the first parable, the bride-to-be imagines life with her new hubby Joe — buying a tract house, making out in front of a fireplace, babies...
  • Never Live It Down: In-Universe example. It's implied that Fred's family blames George for accidentally causing Fred's death and bears a grudge against the poor guy, even though George couldn't have guessed that his discomfort before the accident was because he was about to have a heart attack at the controls.
  • Never My Fault: Notice that all of the accidents are purely the fault of the workers, never the management or equipment.note 
  • Scare 'em Straight: Kind of effective actually.
  • Stop Trick: The "fastest sale on record".

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