Can You Beat It

Registered: 16th January1956
Duration: 18 minutes
Feet:​ 1607 feet
Board of Trade Certificate number: AFF006364 
Production Company: ​​Harold Baim Film Productions

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Strange challenges 1956.

Title and Credits:

Commentary Spoken by: Franklin Engelmann
Photography: Eric Owen, Alfred Burger
Written and Produced: Harold Baim

A Western Electric Recording


Meet five years old. Nicky Jobe, future world golf champion. Son of Len Jobe, a golf professional, Nicky knows all the answers when it comes to a round of golf, be it tournament or practice.     

Even with his tender years, he's more than a match for partners ten times his age. If you watch his style, you'll see why.    

His ten year old brother is his caddy and hands him the specially made clubs at Nicky's request. As a toddler ginger haired Nicky used to applaud as he watched his old man on the course. And for those who know the game, I can tell you that the only bogey this youngster has heard of is that of the Rootham Heath Golf Course, which happens to be at 35 for the nine holes.     

Nicky gets round in 50. His record drive to date is 153 yards and on the long ninth hole he's on the green in two, and sinks the ball in two putts.     

He's a wonder boy, all right, and back in the clubhouse, it's invariably lemonade all round for the boys.     

Another interesting youngster. In this house it's father's razor blades, which are always missing. Seven years older than Nicky Jobe is Robina Hood, who is training to become a magician like her dad. She swallows keen edged razor blades as quickly as any other child eats chocolate.     

After washing them down with a glass of milk, she takes a reel of cotton, puts one end in her mouth, then decides to swallow the reel.     

If she'd not swallowed the thread, she couldn't have pulled out the blades in this fashion. So, it's really as well she did. Not bad going for a 12 year old. 

As they get older the youth of today acquires a different idea of fun. I was invited to join a pram race on roller skates a short while ago, but I hurriedly withdrew when I witnessed one of the heats.     

There are many ways to break an arm or leg, but it's all a question of preference, and these boys enjoy doing it by pram racing. Most of them can show scars honourably won in the Battle of the Perambulators. It's the first home after four laps if, of course, there are any contestants left.     

The rink manager calls for the next heat. I really thought my eyes were deceiving me. They weren't, though. Girls, not to be outdone by the so-called stronger sex, also take part in the thrills and spills of the game, and they put up quite as good a show as their male partners.     

My early days, prams were used for pushing babies in. Today it's the babies who push the prams.     

I travelled north to a shipyard, but it was a shipyard with a difference. All the ships were models made by boys whose ages ranged from 12 to 14 years. On the stocks were a number of vessels in various stages of construction, correct In every detail and so solid is their construction that they can withstand the toughest treatment.     

Building, designing and launching are carried out in the same way as the famous yards operate. Bench workers, foreman and charge hands take their duties seriously and only one adult is on tap for guidance when needed. All tools used are hand operated. No power machines of any kind are available. The results they achieve are outstanding.     

Only the engine's propeller shafts and such work that calls for lathe precision are purchased. Otherwise, all component parts and ship fittings are made by hand and means are found to make realism the keynote of their work.     

The three methods of propulsion used are electricity, steam and diesel. The speed of each model is also to scale. These are some of the exquisitely made parts which are purchased. They are exact replicas of the real thing.     

There is one lady in the group who's a specialist in the construction of model galleons. She doesn't miss a trick.     

The shipyard workers are shown here with their trophies gained in national competitions. The only rewards they seek is the builder's pride in building.    

Sitting like this calms the mind. So say those who take part in yoga exercise. The way I feel these days decided me to look in and see for myself what goes on with this science of self-mastery.    

Edward Hain demonstrates the headstand which, after determined effort, he now performs perfectly. To remain in this posture for a time tones up the whole of the nervous system and is said to preserve one's youth. Oddly enough, I'm too far gone myself.     

This is the locked lotus, a traditional form of meditation. It's not easy to do, but when performed perfectly, gives steadiness and balance.     

For weight reducing, this exercise is recommended. It also helps you to learn to stand properly.     

Edward Hain recently returned from a three month stay in India, perfecting his knowledge of yoga. He watches an attempt at a yoga noose by one of the students. He tells me this is good for almost anything that ails you. So it should be.     

To increase resistance to illness, this is the exercise to do. Talk about tying oneself in knots, but yoga exercises are scientifically thought out. The basis is complete relaxation and calmness of mind.     

The goal of yoga is self mastery leading to a healthier life and to try to achieve a happiness which remains constant, not affected by worldly possessions.

In perfect harmony, Mr. Nandi completes the picture in the posture of the Eastern wise men. And now, as in the first edition of Oddly Enough, I want to show you one of my pictures from the past.     

This film, Bombay, was made 50 years ago. The teeming millions of India have not really changed. Their cities have become much more modern with the passing of time. These pictures are really incredible, and I doubt whether anything has been seen of this kind on the screen for many years. This film is typical of the travelogue picturegoers used to watch about the year 1900.     

Habits dies hard and once used to a bed of nails, a restless night would be passed on a well-sprung mattress. There's no accounting for taste. And you must admit he looks very, very comfortable.     

A display of trained animals is always to be seen in the marketplace.     

Even so, years ago, they had to earn money to live. In that respect, things certainly haven't changed, except that now we need more of it.     

The beggar children scrambling for coins could live on a farthing a day.     

Those were the days of huge processions and state occasions.     

The enormous sacred elephants were very much in evidence. No religious ceremony was complete without them.     

Snake charmers hold sway, even today. With reed pipe they hypnotize the poison fanged cobras. So many types of snakes exist in India, and so many of them can give a deadly bite, but it's a bit of a relief to know we don't encounter them in this country.     

Oddly enough, how wrong you can be. For in the heart of London, I found Samara, who introduced me to her pet python, Sammy.    

She asked me if I would like to stroke him.  I still don't know what a python feels like. Almost 30ft in length, that's quite enough python for me!     

She told me that though Sammy was unable to give a poisonous bite, he was quite capable of strangling if allowed to coil too tight around the neck. That's why Samara kept turning round so that the snake would loosen its grip from time to time. I must say, though, that my remark that its skin would make a nice handbag was not taken at all kindly. Oh, well.     

These men are filling a hopper with sand.     

This one is filling a container with broken glass called cullet.     

When mixed with other chemicals such as lime and soda, and subjected then to great heat, the wonderful result is glass. A substance at which I never cease to marvel.    

I was present when this picture was taken. It was warm work.     

The temperature in the furnace was controlled automatically. From this furnace, glass tubing is being drawn off by a machine situated about 100ft distant. The molten glass flows off the cylinder in the furnace whilst air is blown through at the same time in order to form the tube. It's still quite hot quite a distance down the line.     

The machine that draws the glass also cuts it to the required size. In this particular factory, the yearly output is 32,000 miles of glass tubing, enough to encircle the earth one and one third times at the equator.    

A gauging machine sorts and grades the tubing into different widths.    

Architectural fluorescent tubes are seen here being enamelled before the filaments are inserted.     

This fantastic monster of a machine makes the tubes that go inside a vacuum flask. The ram enters the furnace and gathers molten glass, which is then dropped into a revolving spindle which rotates and blows at the same time.     

Here, we can see the semi molten glass becoming longer as air is blown into it as the mold closes. Molds cool off before receiving their next gob of molten glass.     

This machine copies almost exactly the manner in which glass was blown by hand. And I was intrigued to learn that in order for glass to be sufficiently workable, all operations must take place at temperatures ranging between 500°C and 1100°C, and that's no mean temperature.     

The molds close over the glass and when they are ready to open again, the vacuum flask inner will be almost perfectly formed.     

Here are the molds opening and dropping the flasks onto a moving van, which takes them to another machine for a process called Burning Off.     

The Burning Off machine reheats the neck of the flask and the part which was held in the blowing machine now drops off to leave the mouth of the container absolutely smooth.    

So, from the machines to the examining room for acceptance or rejection by, oddly enough, human inspectors. So long.  

[End Credit]

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