Sideburns, handlebar mustaches, and tiny trunks – the wild world of landlord-tenant disputes in the 1970s

In the early 1970s, the Attorney General of the State of California produced this half-hour drama with the attention-grabbing title, "Legal Information for Law Enforcement: Landlord-Tenant Disputes and the Police," which explores the complex role of police officers in dealing with conflicts between landlords and tenants. Narrated by Efrem Zimbalist Jr. (77 Sunset Strip and The F.B.I.), the film follows a group of young tenants who are dealing with a disgruntled landlord who takes disciplinary actions into his own hands by removing doors, changing locks, and stopping electricity.

With bad acting, stilted writing, and plenty of outdated fashions, this half-hour drama is almost a low-budget version of "Boogie Nights." Despite its flaws, the film is surprisingly entertaining and left me wishing it could have become a television series about the lives of the tenants.

Here's some dialogue from a scene where the tenants are relaxing with cocktails around the pool of the dingbat apartment complex while the middle-aged landlord glowers at them through the window:

Tenant 1 (M): Maybe I'm lucky though. All he ever does to me is bug me for the lousy rent. I'm only six days behind and he's already bugged me three times. He says, "Uh, Mr. Travis, when are you going to pay me the rent for this month?" Cheap creep. He knows I've been laid off my job. Man, he must think I'm just lying around in my rear freeloading. He makes me mad.

Tenant 2 (M): You don't even know what mad is. Ever since I moved into this rat hole, I've had something wrong with my toilet. At first, it either ate everything down with one big swallow or threw it all up in two seconds. For a while, there was nothing else but a race between the toilet overflowing and my getting a bucket.

Tenant 3 (M): Who won?

Tenant 2 (M): Take a guess.


Tenant 4 (F): This may be a stupid question, but why don't you tell cuddles over there [referring to the landlord looking at them through his window] about it?

Tenant 2: (M) You're right. It is a stupid question. I did tell him. But he never fixed it. And then finally about three weeks ago, it broke altogether. Not only doesn't it swallow anymore, it won't even throw up.

The film was digitized by Periscope Films which rescues and preserves educational and industrial films.