willie mays was not messing around

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As part of Zembla's continuing efforts to educate the world about the dangers of blasting caps, we present Blasting Cap Danger, a cautionary tale about the perils of blasting caps, presented by the Institute of Makers of Explosives.

Only the second half of this film is actually about blasting caps. The first half is a story about gender roles and the airline industry. Young Cathy wants to be a pilot, just like her dad, but her aspirations are mocked by two neighbor boys. "What do girls know about planes?" asks the bullying older boy, before he himself confuses a fighter plane for an attack plane. I have to admit, Cathy knows a lot more about planes than I do.

The two boys ride off to fix their bicycles, while Cathy and her mom go to meet her father. Even though it's his birthday, not hers, Captain Dad brings Cathy a cowboy outfit, the better to further her defiance of gender roles. Inexplicably, Cathy guesses that her gift is indeed a cowboy outfit. If the pilot thing doesn't work out, maybe Cathy could become a psychic. Of course, those neighbors would probably say, "What do girls know about telling the future?"


Meanwhile, the boys arrive at a hardware store or repair shop or something, staffed by a creepy man who invites boys to "fix themselves" an apple from the tree outside. There, they find a blasting cap, just lying on the ground. While the younger boy has reservations, the older boy hatches a plan to throw the blasting cap into Cathy's grill (the cooking device, not her face) and "scare the daylights out of her". Cathy is, at most, seven years old, BTW.

After a lightning-fast bicycle repair, the mean boy goes to do his mischief, while the younger boy stays behind to receive an expository lesson about blasting caps, after he finds yet another one on the ground. Maybe blasting caps really were everywhere in the 1960's. That, or Creepy Guy is running a terrorist bomb factory.


It's no coincidence that Willie Mays later made a blasting caps PSA. Creepy Guy describes the dangers of blasting caps through baseball references. Babe Ruth never did as much damage as a blasting cap, while a kid who hit a blasting cap with hammer injured his hand, and "will never play baseball again". The exploded shoe pictured above is only a hypothetical.

The sensitive younger neighbor rides home with Creepy Guy's words echoing in his head. "They're as dangerous as a hand grenade". "Might put your eye out." "Mind if I take off my shirt?" He races to Cathy's house only to find her lying on the ground, seemingly dead. Luckily, she's only pretending to be dead as part of a cowboy-related pantomine. What do girls know about playing dead? Captain Dad gets rid of the blasting cap, and the boys enjoy ice cream, and everything is fine. Our final words come from the narrator: Don't touch them!

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This page contains a single entry by Sean Keane published on June 12, 2006 11:33 AM.

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