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Video: How to Go Places: Always Know Where You Are

Yesteryear Travel: Always Know Where You Are

How did vacationers survive in the days before in-car navigation systems (and the Roadside America app for iPhone)?

This 1954 short, How to Go Places -- made by the Jam Handy Organization for Chevrolet as a way to showcase its cars -- shows how obsessive-compulsive behavior came to the rescue.

In this segment of the film, the intrepid Bonnell family are led astray by bad directions from a local. For better results the film suggests that you, the traveler, cover your paper maps with eye-catching route-border markers and arrows, then create "an ingenious guide list of route numbers and key mileages" with a pencil and sheet of paper.

And if you get lost anyway, you can use your analog wristwatch as a compass (As long as you remember the directions outlined here -- and as long as the sun is shining). "That's all there is to it!"

How to Go Places would have been broadcast as filler on late night TV, or rented as a free educational short to be shown in libraries, civic clubs, and high school driver ed classes. Actress Gale Storm plays the mom, who gets to deliver a lot of the comedic lines, such as they are. Audiences of the era needed to be hit over the head with jokes. Today that "Dead End" sign night scene would finish with a zombie tearing out mom's throat....

How to Go Places: Before You Hit the Road | Complete film at

Old Films: Fascinating!

Yesteryear Travel.

The Team has a special appreciation for archival films -- from family home movies to sponsored travel shorts. Senior editor Ken Smith is author of "Mental Hygiene," the definitive book-form history of America's classroom educational and industrial films. He was an archivist and cataloger for Rick Prelinger in the early days of the Prelinger Archives. This film is made available through the Prelinger Archives.

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