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The Child Molester (1964) - A Controversial Public Service Announcement


A Controversial Film for Yesterday and Today

The Child Molester (1964) was more like a public service announcement rather than a full-fledged film or documentary on the taboo subject.

The Highway Safety Foundation (HSF) produced the film short, and it was received as a highly controversial piece, particularly the ending where actual crime scene footage is shown.

Normally, the Highway Safety foundation produced videos that addressed driver education, but the issue of child molestation was becoming more prevalent, and so the foundation produced this film in order to heighten public awareness.

We all know that there are cases where no amount of warnings about strangers can keep our kids safe, such as the cases of Jaycee Dugard or Adam Walsh - these children were forcefully abducted, but the film still did a thorough job of warning parents about the need to talk to their kids about voluntarily going off with a stranger.

***Even though the film was produced in the 1960s, the actual crime scene footage is truly disturbing. Normally, I would post the entire film at the bottom of this hub, but you will have to view it on YouTube, because I will not post it here. The link is at the bottom of this hub***


Basic Outline of the Controversial Film Short

The film offers talking points for parents to have with kids about staying away from strangers.

The controversy over the film is first sparked by the underlying story that features a stranger luring two little girls away from their friends.

The eventual ending of the featured story is devastating, because it does not end well for the little girls, and the actual crime scene footage is shown in order to drive home the point of the public service announcement.

The film makes it clear that the little girls have not been given the proper talk about strangers, and so, it is rather easy for the child molester to lure them away. Another little girl has been properly warned about “stranger danger,” and her fate is in line with her teachings.

In one scene, a woman sits back and casually watches as a man, who is obviously a stranger to the little girls, lures them away from the playground. She gives the situation about 5 seconds of a passing thought before she goes back to minding her own business - she does not want to be seen as being a busybody.

The film does a good job of relaying the messages that parents need to talk to their children about strangers, and responsible adults need to think twice if ever they believe a child might be in danger - even if the adult is wrong and labeled a busybody, the alternative is too horrific to risk.


Do You Remember Your “Chester the Molester” Warnings?

When I was a child growing up during the mid 70s and 80s (yes, I am a card carrying member of Generation X), we were taught to stay away from strangers at all costs.

“Chester the Molester” is how we used to refer to the ominous “stranger” we were supposed to stay away from.

Back then, no one actually sat down and talked to us about exactly why were supposed to stay away from strangers, we just knew that something very bad might happen to us if we engaged in the following activities:

  • Taking Candy from Strangers
  • Approaching a Car with a Stranger In It
  • Getting Into the Car with a Stranger
  • Helping a Stranger Find a Lost Dog
  • Believing a Stranger Who Tells Us He Was Sent By Our Parents
  • Or, Engage in Any of a Hundred Different Similar Activities with a Stranger

Because sick, deranged and crazy people really do exist, the advice we were given as children was sage advice, and we usually stayed out of trouble with strangers when we followed that advice.

However, there is one important issue that is never addressed in the film… most incidents of child molestation do not occur at the hands of a stranger.

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Ted Danson and Roxanna Zahl in "Something About Amelia"

Ted Danson and Roxanna Zahl in "Something About Amelia"

The Famous Child Molester Episode of "Diff'rent Strokes"

The Famous Child Molester Episode of "Diff'rent Strokes"

What No One Really Talked About

Growing up in the 70s and 80s, I believe we were well warned about the dangers of following a stranger anywhere.

However, no one ever seem to talk about the fact that “Chester the Molester” could be a neighbor, a close friend of the family, an uncle, an aunt, a brother or sister, or even our fathers or mothers.

In fact, if I remember correctly, television did not broach the subject until 1984, when the controversial film "Something About Amelia" premiered. In the controversial movie, Ted Danson plays a father who rapes his daughter. The movie is a bit ridiculous, because it suggests that a man who rapes his child should be put into therapy instead of jail, but it was all we had at the time. Plus, Danson, Glenn Close (the wife), and Roxanna Zahl (the child) all give exceptional performances.

And, who could ever forget that "Very Special Episode" of Diff''rent Strokes? You can watch a clip of that episode at the bottom of this hub.

Today, there are hundreds of movies about the overall subject, just flip on the Lifetime Movie Network (LMN) on any given day and you will most likely find some little obscure movie dealing with child molestation, incest, child abduction, etc.

Even though the film short, The Child Molester (1964) is old, and dated, the information contained in the film is still relevant, but it was far too controversial back in 1964. The film was eventually pulled because of its content.

Unfortunately, it is still true that there are sick people in the world who actually prey on children, and it is our job as parents to protect our kids, or any kid, from this very realistic danger.

However, when we educate our children about child molesters, we need to be sure that they fully understand that no one has the right to touch them or make them feel bad, not a stranger, and especially not someone they know.

I hope if you are a parent, you have already had this type of talk with your child. Yes, I know that it is 2011 (just barely, 2012 is nipping at our heels), and kids probably know all about this stuff…but why not have the talk so they can hear it from you? It will probably mean more coming from you.

You can click the link to watch the 20-minute film short, The Child Molester (1964) if you so desire.

**Remember, the ending is rather creepy (it even creeped me out a little), watch it at your own risk**


Have Your Say


marriedwithdebt from Illinois on December 28, 2011:

Someone is stealing your work (i think)

somethgblue from Shelbyville, Tennessee on December 27, 2011:

Because molestation creates such a damaging emotional state, it can and is used as a form of conditioning by TPTB.

Like addiction there is no cure however there is treatment.

Jeannie Marie from Baltimore, MD on December 27, 2011:

I remember "Something About Amelia." I forgot Ted Danson played the father though. I also vaguely remember the episode on Different Strokes, too. As you can tell, I am also part of Gen X. I remember being taught "stranger danger" so much it was ridiculous. I think that has contributed to an entire generation of people that trust no one. Sigh.

Interesting hub and voted up!

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