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Scouting in popular culture

Since Scouting began in 1907, it has entered into many elements of popular culture, including movies, TV and books.

As a facet of culture throughout most of the 20th century, Scouting has been portrayed in numerous films and artwork. It is especially prevalent in the United States, where Scouting is tied closely to the ideal of Americana. The works of painters Norman Rockwell and Joseph Csatari and the 1966 film Follow Me, Boys! are prime examples of this idealized American ethos.

Scouting is often dealt with in a humorous manner, as in the 1989 film Troop Beverly Hills, and is often fictionalized so that the audience knows the topic is Scouting without there being any mention of Scouting by name.

Film

  • 14 Hours (2005) US; Boy Scouts assist in the evacuation of Memorial Hermann Hospital during Tropical Storm Allison.
  • Addams Family (1991) (US); while running a lemonade stand of sorts, Wednesday and Pugsley have an encounter with a Girl Scout who is attempting to sell Girl Scout cookies. Wednesday asks: "are they made from real Girl Scouts?"
  • Airplane! (1980) (US); Two Girl Scouts get into a brawl after one of the Girl Scouts catches the other attempting to cheat during a game of poker.
  • Boy Scouts Be Prepared (1917) US
  • Charley Smiler Joins the Boy Scouts (1911) UK
  • Down and Derby (2005) US; Cub Scouts and their dads compete in the Pinewood Derby
  • Drum Taps (1933) US; Ken and his brother Earl's Boy Scout troop go after a gang of rustlers. With Los Angeles Boy Scout Troop 107.
  • The Emperor's New Groove (2000) and Kronk's New Groove (2005) US; Kronk is the troop leader of the Junior Chipmunks.
  • Follow Me, Boys! (1966) US; Lem Siddons (Fred MacMurray) decides to put down roots and ends up starting a Boy Scout troop
  • Good Scouts (1938) US; Donald Duck becomes Scoutmaster of the Junior Woodchucks and goes camping
  • Henry Aldrich, Boy Scout (1944) The teenage Henry Aldrich, played by Jimmy Lydon, is the irrepressible Senior Patrol Leader of his Boy Scout troop as they compete in a Council camporee while coping with a troublemaking Tenderfoot who learns the meaning of Scout's honor the hard way. This picture had the official support of the BSA, which supplied a technical advisor to Paramount Pictures during filming, resulting in very accurate depiction of Scouting details and uniforming.
  • I Love You Again (1940) US; William Powell plays a leader in the Boy Rangers where Carl "Alfalfa" Switzer is trying to achieve his First Class Ranger.
  • Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989) US; in this top-grossing film, the beginning of the fictional Indiana Jones' career as an adventurer is depicted as a teenage Boy Scout in the early 20th century. The Life Scout is trying to save the Cross of Coronado from the villainous graverobbers. Film critic Roger Ebert compared the scene (pictured) to the "style of illustration that appeared in the boys' adventure magazines of the 1940s", saying that "Steven Spielberg must have been paging through his old issues of Boys' Life magazine ... the feeling that you can stumble over astounding adventures just by going on a hike with your Scout troop. Spielberg lights the scene in the strong, basic colors of old pulp magazines". In Indy, The Action Game, an arcade video game based on this film, the player in the first of three levels takes the part of Indiana Jones as a Boy Scout, trying to rescue the Cross of Coronado.
  • Joy Scouts (1939) US; Boy Scouts go camping but the kids from Our Gang aren't old enough.
  • The Last Boy Scout (1991) US; action movie starring Bruce Willis (no Scouting references other than the title and that Willis often says "Be Prepared, that's my motto". Willis' character also has a strong sense of what is right.)
  • The Little Boy Scout (1917); Justina disguises herself as a Boy Scout and joins the troop to escape her evil uncle.
  • Lawn Dogs (1998) UK; a savage satire on middle-class American culture. The young girl heroine sets out in a Girl Scout-like uniform to sell cookies, but dumps them instead. Her parents are horrified that she might not win the cookie selling competition.
  • Men in Black II (2002); MiB agent J (Will Smith) is referred to as an "Eagle Scout" by one of the alien antagonists.
  • Mind Your Own Business (1936) US; Charles Ruggles. With Los Angeles Boy Scout Troop 107.
  • Mister Scoutmaster (1953) US; TV star Clifton Webb worries that he is out of touch with the younger generation and becomes a Boy Scout leader.
  • Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939) US; Jefferson Smith (James Stewart) is the head of the Boy Rangers when he gets elected to the US Senate.
  • National Treasure (2004) US; When Gates (Nicolas Cage) is aboard the USS Intrepid, he tells Agent Sadusky (Harvey Keitel) "your agents had better be under four feet tall and wearing little scarves" as a group of Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts surrounds him.
  • The Pacifier (2005) US; The younger daughter Lulu is a member of the Fireflies. She and her fellow Fireflies attempt to sell cookies in the Costco parking lot and get tormented by the boys from the Grizzlies troop.
  • Polly the Girl Scout's Timely Aid (1913) UK
  • Red Dawn (1989) US; Daryl Bates is referred to by the enemy as "A member of an elite paramilitary organization: 'Eagle Scouts.'"
  • Remise du drapeau aux boy-scouts au Cinquantenaire (1914) Belgium
  • Room for One More (1952) US; Cary Grant adopts a handicapped boy whose life is changed by family and Scouting, becoming an Eagle Scout
  • Scout's Honor (1980) US, TV; Gary Coleman as a Cub Scout
  • Scoutmaster Magoo (1958) US; Mr. Magoo
  • Scouts to the Rescue (1939) US; "Adventure! Thrill! Suspense! Action!..as Eagle Scout Jackie Cooper leads his hardy troop through breath-taking exploits!"
  • Sea Scouts (1939) US; Donald Duck goes to sea with the Junior Woodchucks
  • Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (1978) US; Steve Martin sings "Maxwell's Silver Hammer" while beating old people in the head with a mallet to turn them into younger-looking men and women in skimpy Boy Scout uniforms
  • Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (1982) US; "Remember that overgrown Boy Scout you used to hang around with? That's exactly the kind of guy... " "Listen, kiddo, Jim Kirk was *many* things, but he was *never* a Boy Scout!"
  • Tex Rides with the Boy Scouts (1937) US; Tex Ritter
  • Troop Beverly Hills (1989) US; Shelley Long leads a troop of Wilderness Girls.
  • Universal Boy Joins the Boy Scouts (1914) US
  • The Wrong Guys (1988) US; Five former Cub Scouts have a reunion and go camping on the mountain they never conquered. Stars Louie Anderson, Richard Lewis, Richard Belzer, Tim Thomerson, and John Goodman
  • Yours, Mine and Ours (2005) US; one of the children wears a BSA uniform at various points
  • You, And Your Stupid Mate, (2005) AUS'; One of the protagonists is a Scout
  • Spider-Man 3 (2007) US; A number of Cub scouts, with their Cubmaster, are up on the stage when Spiderman receives the Keys to the City from Gwen Stacy.

TV

  • "Home Improvement" episode "The Death Card" (1996) US: Mark Taylor is in the Cub Scouts.
  • 3rd Rock from the Sun episode "I Enjoy Being a Dick" (1996) US; Tommy mentions that his girlfriend August was a Girl Scout, but that she got out because she felt the cookie selling verged on racketeering and in
  • 3rd Rock from the Sun episode "I Brake for Dick" (1997) US; Harry attempts to follow the ways of the Boy Scouts.
  • All of Us episode "Crime and Maybe Some Punishment" (2006) US; Bobby goes to a Fireside Kids jamboree.
  • American Dad! episode "Homeland Insecurity" (2005) US; Stan forces Steve to join the Scout Rangers to be prepared for the coming foreign invasion. However, the Scout clubhouse is a front for drinking and gambling by a bunch of partying delinquents.
  • The Andy Griffith Show (1960–1968) US; Opie was shown as a Cub Scout in a few episodes and as a Boy Scout in at least one episode
  • The Brady Bunch episode "The Liberation of Marcia Brady" (1971) US; Marcia joins Greg's Frontier Scouts to prove she is equal to the initiation tasks. Greg then tries to retaliate by joining Marcia's Sunflower Girls.
  • Camp Lazlo (2005) US; An animated series about Bean Scouts at summer camp.
  • Car 54, Where Are You? (1961–1963) US; The theme song includes "There's a Scout troop short a child!"
  • CSI: Crime Scene Investigation episode "Toe Tags", October 05, 2006 US; Greg Sanders, played by Eric Szmanda is called a Boy Scout while rappelling down a cliff and he replies: "Eagle Scout! I didn't earn a chestful of merit badges for nothing".
  • Doctor Who episode "Delta and the Bannermen" (1987) UK; Stubby Kaye's character Weismuller states that he was an Eagle Scout.
  • Family Guy episode "The Son Also Draws" (1999) US; Chris gets kicked out of Scouts.
  • Flintstones episode "Cave Scout Jamboree" (1964) US; While camping, Fred and Barney stumble upon a Cave Scout jamboree, and Fred helps out as a Scoutmaster.
  • Friends episode "The One where Rachel Quits" After Ross accidentally breaks a young girl's leg, he offers to make it up to her by selling her Girl Scouts-like cookies. The girl has to sell at least 400 boxes to go to Space Camp, mocking both the prizes offered by troops for selling the cookies, and the rising prices of the boxes in recent times.
  • On Friends in one episode, Phoebe attempts to awake a man in a coma by shouting "Get up you girl Scout! Up! Up! Up!". Monica looks at her crossly and Pheobe then explains the possibility that nobody has ever tried that before.
  • Full House (1987–1995) US; DJ, Stephanie, and Michelle are all members of the Honey Bees in various episodes. The Honey Bees wear bee costumes, complete with stinger. A girl does the honey bee salute by moving her body in such a manner as to make the stinger move back-and-forth. They sell jars of honey instead of cookies.
  • Galactica 1980 episode "The Super Scouts (Parts 1 & 2)" (1980) US;
  • Gilligan's Island first episode "Two on a Raft"; the radio announces "...the final member of the missing group was Professor Roy Hinkley, research scientist and well known Scoutmaster." He was the youngest Eagle Scout in Cleveland.
  • The Golden Girls (1985–1992) US; In several episodes, Rose Nylund is the Cadet Master of a group of sunshine Cadets. Some members of the Sunshine Cadets are portrayed as committing mild acts of hooliganism. For instance, in the third season episode "Letter to Gorbachev", it is insinuated that at least one of the Sunshine Cadets gives Rose the finger, "You all know you use both fingers for the Sunshine salute," is Rose's reply.
  • The Gong Show (1976) US; Mare Winningham sings the John LennonPaul McCartney composition "Here, There, and Everywhere" while wearing a Girl Scout uniform (she won).
  • It (1990) US; Young Stan uses the Scout Oath and Scout Law as mantras against fear.
  • The Jetsons episode "Good Little Scouts" (1962) US; George goes camping on the moon with Elroy and Space Cub Troop 54.
  • Jim'll Fix It (1980) UK; This was a series where viewers wrote in and each episode several of the wishes would be realized. In one episode, a pack of Cub Scouts requested having their lunch somewhere unusual. The program sent them on the Revolution at Pleasure Beach Blackpool. The clip became one of the most requested on British TV shows. The situation was repeated in 2007 with the same participants for Jim'll Fix it Strikes Again.
  • Justice League and Justice League Unlimited; Superman is given the nickname of Boy Scout most notably by Batman.
  • Kim Possible (2002–present) US; In several episodes, Pixie Scouts are shown; their motto is "Pixies Stick Together!" They are mentioned to sell both Pixie muffins and cookies. Pixies are either guided by a den mother or in Middleton's case, a Brigadier. Kim Possible herself was once a Pixie Scout as a young girl.
  • King of the Hill episode "The Order of the Straight Arrow" (1997) US; Hank and the guys take Bobby's troop camping, and induct them into an Order of the Arrow-like group called the Order of the Straight Arrow. Creator of King of the Hill, Mike Judge is an Eagle Scout.
  • King of the Hill episodes "Flush With Power" (2000) and "Unfortunate Son" (2002) mention that Hank Hill is an Eagle Scout.
  • Leave it to Beaver episode "Lonesome Beaver" {1958) US; Wally goes camping with the troop and leaves the Beaver behind.
  • Lost episode "Hearts and Minds" (2005) US; Johnathan Locke notes that he was a Webelos Scout when he learned how to tie knots and identify birds.
  • Lost episode "The Other 48 Days" (2005) US; Goodwin tells Ana Lucia Cortez that he is in the Peace Corps, and compares it to grown up boy scouts.
  • The Man Show US; The Man Show Boy dresses like a Girl Scout and attempts to sell cookies.
  • Mork and Mindy (1978-1982): In an episode where Mork learns to say "No," a Girl Scout selling cookies bullies him into buying five boxes ("or else a sweet, little kid [namely me] doesn't get to go to camp.") She then drops the cookie boxes on the floor as she storms out of Mindy's apartment.
  • The Monkees (1966–1968) US; Boy Scouts are mentioned in episodes "The Monkees In A Ghost Town", "Hillbilly Honeymoon" and "A Coffin Too Frequent". Girl Scouts are mentioned in the episode "Too Many Girls". In "Monkees à la Mode", the character of Michael is noted as having become an Eagle Scout in 1961.
  • Mystery Science Theater 3000 (1988–1999) US; In his youth, Doctor Clayton Forrester was a member of Evilos (a mad scientist version of Webelos), where he grafted the rear end of a dog onto the rear end of a cat.
  • Nickelodeon's 14th Annual Kid's Choice Awards (2001) US; Destiny's Child appeared wearing BSA uniforms
  • The Simpsons episode "Bart of War" (2003) US; Bart joins the Pre-Teen Braves while Milhouse joins the Calvary Kids.
  • The Simpsons episode "Boy-Scoutz N the Hood" (1993) US; Bart joins the Junior Campers organization and has a series of misadventures.
  • The Sopranos episode Made in America (2007) US; Cub Scouts and a leader appear in the diner scene at the end of the episode.
  • South Park episode "Cripple Fight" (2001) US; The boys join the Mountain Scouts with Big Gay Al as Scoutmaster.
  • South Park episode "Jewbilee" (1999) US; Kyle, Kenny and Ike go to a Jewish Scout camp where Moses appears.
  • Star Trek: Enterprise episode "Rogue Planet" (2002) US; Captain Jonathan Archer and Malcolm Reed are revealed to be Eagle Scouts.
  • Taxi (TV series) episode "Jim the Psychic" (1981) US; Louie De Palma is greeted at the door by a Girl Scout selling cookies, and is so frightened that he yells, and the Girl Scout yells back, drops her boxes of cookies, and runs off.
  • Total Drama Island (2007) Canada; an animated spoof of reality TV shows such as Survivor, has a dweeby character, Harold, who has gained the most badges in "Possum Scouts".
  • Mighty B (2008) - the main character of this show is a badge-obsessed Bee Scout who wants to become a superhero.
  • Phineas and Ferb (2008) Isabella is in the Fireside Girls.

Theater

  • RENT, the broadway musical; The drag queen Angel states that she was a Boy Scout once "and a brownie, until some brat got scared".

Documentaries

  • Emmer Bereet (2007) Luxembourg; The story of Scouting in general and a group of Scouts in 2006 in Luxembourg.
  • Ian Hislop's Scouting for Boys (2007) UK; The story of the book Scouting for Boys
  • Our World: Scouting (2007) UK; A 30 minute BBC documentary following the story of two participants in the 21st World Scout Jamboree. One Scout is from Mafikeng, South Africa and the other from the UK.
  • The Nuclear Boy Scout (2003) UK; The story of David Hahn and his attempt to build a nuclear breeder reactor in his back yard.
  • Scout's Honor (2001) US; "In a town more familiar with agriculture than activism, an unexpected alliance could change the course of Scouting forever."
  • Troop 1500 (2005) US; A Girl Scout troop in Austin, Texas specializes in girls with incarcerated mothers
  • When we were Scouts (2007) UK; Celebrities discuss what Scouting and Guiding did for them, including Ronnie Corbett, Bernard Cribbins, Cherie Booth and Betty Boothroyd. Neil Morrissey visits a Scout camp.

Comics

Music

  • "All The Things She Gave Me" (1984) from A Pagan Place by The Waterboys; has the lyrics "The moon's made of cheese and God is a Boy Scout."
  • "Be Prepared" (1990) from Tom Lehrer Revisited by Tom Lehrer; a satire of the Boy Scouts.
  • "I was a Boy Scout" (1980) from Snakes and Ladders by Gerry Rafferty; the chorus line is "I was a Boy Scout in St. Mary's troop, I had my own patrol, I had a necktie and a monkey suit, 'Til I heard rock and roll."
  • "I'm A Teenage Mutant Boy Scout" (2004) from the cabaret show Lounge-zilla! Asian Sings the Blues by Dennis Giacino; a Scout mutates after camping in a nuclear fallout zone.
  • "Kicked Out Of The Webelos" (1984) from Webelos by The Queers
  • "Fergalicious" (2006) from The Dutchess by Fergie; in the music video Fergie and dancers dress provocatively in Girl Scout-like uniforms.
  • "Welcome to the Machine" (1975) from Wish You Were Here by Pink Floyd; lyricist Roger Waters included a specific reference to Scouting for Boys.
  • Elton John controversially performed with male strippers dressed as Cub Scouts at a gay rights concert at the Royal Albert Hall in London in 1999. He later apologised after The Scout Association in the UK objected. The UK Scout Association, which has a policy not to discriminate against homosexuals, said that the performers had done themselves and gay rights "no favours" by suggesting a link between homosexuality and paedophilia.
  • Scouting Along with Burl Ives
  • The British band Scouting For Girls, as well as the group I Was A Cub Scout reference the scouting movement in songs and their names.

Fiction books and stories

Stamps

Soon after the birth of Scouting, postage stamps began to be issued that celebrated Scouting. The number of Scouting themed stamps issued by various countries is enormous. Scouts on Stamps Society International (SOSSI) is an organization that specializes in the collection of Scouting stamps.

Fictional Eagle Scouts

See also

References

External links

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