Ask Me, Don’t Tell Me (1961, 22 mins.) Adult suspicion, pompadours, cigarettes, chromed cars, pool halls, the jitterbug and pinball machines conspire to turn kids into juvenile delinquents, but earnest do-gooders can save the day! Great rock ‘n’ roll soundtrack and candid footage make late 1950s early 1960s gang life look sweet — in the days before guns and drive-bys.
The camera follows the day-to-day lives of San Francisco teenage gang members (AKA “jacket clubs”) — white, Asian, Mexican, black — and the unfriendly world they inhabit. The documentary was produced by the American Friends Service Committee, which wanted to set the kids on the right path with community service projects.