MLK and his wife are in the kitchen. He takes a full garbage bag out from under the sink. It's a clear plastic bag. He empties it and then she unrolls a new bag which puts bag under the sink for the rest of the garbage.
What's wrong with that scene? My problem has nothing to do with division of household labor. My immediate thought when I saw that was: No one used plastic garbage bags then. Especially not clear plastic bags.
In Los Angeles, people used incinerators to burn garbage until they were banned in 1957 in an attempt to reduce smog. (There's still an old one in my mom's backyard.)
I checked online and here's what I found:
- Plastic garbage bags weren't invented until 1950 (by a Canadian) and the first ones were sold to businesses, not households. The bags were green.
- The first green plastic garbage bags for the home were sold by Union Carbide - Glad Bags - in the late 1960s. (The movie takes place in 1965.)
- Plastic bags weren't introduced to grocery stores until 1977!
I recall putting garbage into paper shopping bags until plastic bags were available. And paper bags don't really hold garbage well when they get wet.
Here are some sources:
The familiar green plastic garbage bag (made from polyethylene) was invented by Harry Wasylyk in 1950.Harry Wasylyk was a Canadian inventor from Winnipeg, Manitoba, who together with Larry Hansen of Lindsay, Ontario, invented the disposable green polyethylene garbage bag.
Garbage bags were first intended for commercial use rather than home use - the bags were first sold to the Winnipeg General Hospital. However, Hansen worked for the Union Carbide Company in Lindsay, who bought the invention from Wasylyk and Hansen. Union Carbide manufactured the first green garbage bags under the name Glad Garbage bags for home use in the late 1960s.
“PAPER OR PLASTIC” WARS BEGIN: The plastic grocery bag is introduced to the supermarket industry as an alternative to paper sacks.[iv] At this point, plastic produce bags had long overtaken paper bags in the produce aisle. The grocery sack market was later, in 1986, described as “paper’s last stronghold” by Mobil Chemical’s marketing manager. [v]
Film makers: If you're doing a film that takes place before you were old enough to remember, but not so long ago that there are still people alive who do remember, show the geezers the film and let them spot the anachronisms.
With technology changing so much faster today, future film makers will have an even harder time.
Is it a biggie? No. But for people my age, it's like seeing a film that takes place in 2000 with people using iPhones.