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Tucker: The Man and His Dream
SUBJECTS — U.S./1945 - 1991; Science-Technology;
SOCIAL-EMOTIONAL LEARNING — Ambition; Courage;
MORAL-ETHICAL EMPHASIS — Responsibility; Fairness.
Age: 10+; MPAA Rating: PG; Drama; 1988; 111 minutes; Color.
After the Second World War, Preston Tucker tried to start a car company to challenge the big Detroit auto makers. His prototypes were impressive: sleek cars with engineering innovations such as seat belts long before they were mandated by the government. Tucker's cars generated a wave of excitement, but the political muscle of the Big Four Automakers (General Motors, Ford, Chrysler, and American Motors) doomed his project. This film is the story of Tucker's efforts and ultimate failure.
The TeachWithMovies.com Learning Guide helps teachers introduce children to this episode of U.S. history in which the inventiveness and drive of a man and his organization were squelched by entrenched economic and political interests.
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Preston Tucker was a visionary. He installed seat belts in every car in the late 1940s, decades ahead of all the other automobile makers. Why did Detroit and the government drive him out of business? Was he simply irresponsible with other people's money or was he a victim of entrenched interests?
Learning Guide Excerpt
To give you a sense of how our Learning Guides can be used by teachers to develop lesson plans, and by parents to supplement school curriculum or for homeschooling, we have set out below the Possible Problems section of the Learning Guide to Tucker: The Man and His Dream.
Possible Problems: MINOR. The film presents only Tucker's side of a controversial and complex story. There is another way to look at it. In order to pursue his dream of creating a viable automobile company, Preston Tucker took twenty million dollars from investors and produced only 50 automobiles. The U.S. government contended that Tucker was a fraud and a cheat. But if you discuss these issues with children (see the Helpful Background Section below) they will have a window on an interesting episode in American History. There are also a few historical inaccuracies, e.g., Abe Karatz actually told Tucker at the very beginning about his past criminal conviction. For more see the Helpful Background Section.
The Learning Guide to the film Tucker: The Man and His Dream contains sections on Benefits of the Movie, Possible Problems, Helpful Background, Discussion Questions, Links to the Internet, and Bridges to Reading. The Discussion Questions are divided into three categories: Subject Matter, Social-Emotional Learning, and Moral-Ethical Emphasis.
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