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Back in the 1970s, when I was forced as a grown man in his forties to attend grammar school with tender age children, we had a teacher named Miss Nussmeyer. She was very nice and very warm. At times she would say kind things to me like, "It doesn't bother me that you are German and from 'that time.' It would be a different story if you were a Jap. My father has an unregistered firearm at his home in Aberdeen." There were times when she kept children straight by breaking a four inch thick mahogany ruler over their outstretched knuckles, but there were also times when she would take a child into the closet and the child would come back with lipstick all over his or her face and clothing. She was something else. Ended up getting hit by a car driven by, oddly enough, the father of one of the children she'd taught while he was driving home drunk from the bar.

Miss Nussmeyer made a lot of films with her movie camera. I'm not sure where she got it, but she used to date James Michener and a Hollywood director at the time of the Sharon Tate murders (for which the culprits were never caught), so at some point during all that she probably came into possession of the movie camera. Probably stole it from what is ostensibly known as a "set."

Most of her film projects were "top secret," but some of them were educational in nature. She showed them to the whole class instead of just one particular student. My favorite of these was a Claymation type video starring little clay purple people with three legs called Compunction Junction. In this film, the little clay people walk around a small Claymation town with stop gap animation and the whole works. Impressive work for a spinster who lived in a creepy house in the hills. Things move along. The camera moves past little patriotic flag-waving displays, people praying at the grave of The Unknown Soldier, young kids fishing and reading Archie comics, farmers bringing in the harvest, and so forth. The scenes with all the combines were truly impressive. And then a moral conundrum arises.

In one vignette, Charlie, a little child purple clay person, is talking with his teacher about something he promised to keep a secret. The teacher knows what the secret is, and they have both promised never to tell a living soul, but the little boy has started to feel "funny" about the secret. The teacher tells him he must keep the promise and never tell anyone this terrible secret. The kids in my class were watching anxiously. The principal, standing in the doorway, looked white as a ghost. And then the little clay boy told the teacher, "But I am worried if I don't tell my mom that Bruno buried his bone in the yard, she'll waste hours looking for it around the house when she gets ready for Aunt May and Uncle Clucky to come over."

One of the reasons I'm bringing this up now is that while preparing for my festive nuptials with my bride-to-be Trixie Horn, I've learned she has no idea how to handle moral dilemnas, so I wanted to explain to you what Compunction Junction was as practice for explaining it to her. Is that fair? I think so.

Now, I have this friend named Norey Hussmartin and he does a lot of video work with local businesses back in Baltimore. I invited him up to be part of the wedding celebration and he accepted and then showed up at my house in Utica the other day. I invited him to the wedding, not to that day. He needed to wait, not cut the line. I have to complain about this right now while you are listening. It just isn't right that this happened. It just isn't right.

Thing was, Norey Hussmartin had brought some video work with him that he wanted to show me. So, I waved my recriminations and hugged him tightly. It had been many years since we'd had a chance to really get together and chew the fat. I'll let you make of that what you will, since both of us have gained considerable "boy blubber" since we came into our well-deserved billions that we spend lavishly on things like rare worm rugs.

The film Norey had made and brought with him was made in the spirit of the old Compunction Junction videos Miss Nussmeyer showed us, but Norey had used lived actors, or "strippers" in his video. I was pleased and pulled up a chair.

In the first vignette, two strippers are facing a problem. The guy in the 1970s style suit with wide polyester tie (played by Norey Hussmartin in his feature film debut) who is a regular and tips well always wants a lap dance, but they have both called it at the same time. What should they do? They are presented with a moral dilemna, and they end up sorting it out by both giving the customer (Norey) a lap dance, then doing "lesbian stuff" in front of him before letting him join in. Norey really enjoyed showing me this movie.

I would say, in my highly educated opinion, that the original Compunction Junction catered to children and their need to resolve moral dilemnas while the newer version caters to adults that learned how to resolve moral dilemnas from Miss Nussmeyer.

You can contact Norey Hussmartin at General Delivery, Baltimore Main Post Office, Baltimore, Maryland, if you want to invest in his work. As far as the original Compunction Junction is concerned, there are no longer any known copies in existence. 

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