Power my search? You betcha

Still in Starbucks in Borders in the Curve.

Flipping the pages of Clay Shirky’s Here Comes Everybody, and feeling rather let down by the book. It came so highly recommended. I wanted to understand communities that share similar anchors, and how personal motivation can meet collective productivity. He promised insights to ‘the power of organizing without organizations’, but the more I read the book, the more I feel that I could glean more from Gladwell’s Tipping Point. The songs playing in the background remind me of Karen Carpenter’s voice, and I suddenly remembered a movie that I watched when I was 7 or 8 years old – the title song from that movie sounded like Karen Carpenter singing something like ‘bless the beast and the children’ – that tune, just that one line, has played in my head for almost 30 years now. The movie also moved me a lot, I recall. It was something about boys, summer or army camp or something, and lots of running. There were animals too, but to me, the movie was about friends. (Yeh – I was 7, but by that time, thanks to my mum and dad and the sisters in St Theresa’s Kindergarten, I was already bored from reading the Straits Times and Mad Magazine. Heh.

Back to the future, or present, depending on your perspective.

I turned to my good friend Google and looked for the song or movie with the words. Then I found it – it WAS a song by the Carpenters, and the movie was also of the same title! I looked it up in imdb.com and found it – the 1971 production of Bless the Beasts & Children. Plot summary is as follows, thanks to Patrick King.

“A group of adolescent boys, placed in a summer camp by their otherwise too busy parents, find themselves unable to fit in and are soon branded as bedwetters by their fellow campers and unsympathetic counselor. After their counselor exposes them to what they perceive as a cruel slaughter of corralled bison, these misfits are soon drawn to a common purpose to break free of their camp and free the bison. On their way to free the bison, individual flashbacks reveal the relationships each has with his own family and give insight to their reasons behind wanting to set the bison free. Karen and Richard Carpenter’s singing of the title song occurs now and again throughout the movie to underscore the the drama.”

The movie was directed by Stanley Kramer, who also directed Judgement: the Court Martial of the Tiger of Malaya – General Yamashita. He had also directed Sydney Poitier, Katharine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy in the 1967’s Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner. Wow.

More importantly for me, my almost 30-year-old mystery is now solved.

What would I do without Google & imdb?


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