Junior High School was born out of a love of musicals. Its creators loved the form, embraced the form, and raised enough money to make a short musical film that is utterly charming and a complete delight from start to finish. David Wechter and Michael Nankin had already directed a critically acclaimed short film called Gravity, which had gotten them noticed. Two years later, just out of college, they joined some other friends, to make another audacious short film – a real musical about a fictional junior high school. This was, of course, long before High School Musical and Glee. In 1978 there was no middle school; there was elementary school, junior high, and high school. The times they were a’changing – the late 1970s and early 1980s were the end of a certain kind of era, and Junior High School reflects that beautifully. There is a sweetness and innocence to the film that’s palpable, even if it includes the classic song, “The Itty-Bitty Titty Committee.”
The film is beautifully directed and shot (in 16mm), and David Wechter’s songs are delightful, as is the script. David’s father, the great Julius Wechter, arranged the songs and wrote an original score. Julius, of course, was the leader of the popular Baja Marimba Band. He assembled some amazing players for the soundtrack recording, including several of the infamous Wrecking Crew. They include such luminaries as Bernie Fleischer, Bobby Findley (of the Tijuana Brass), Lou McCreary, Tommy Tedesco, Dave Frishberg (who also appears and sings in the film), Steve Schaefer, and the engineer was the great Larry Levine (pioneer of Phil Spector’s “Wall of Sound”).
1. Main Title (Junior High School)
2. THE PARTY SONG
3. Vicki in the Girl’s Lavatory/Vicki Hatches Her Plan
4. DO WHAT I SAY
5. Jerry Approaches Lori/The Long Hallway/ Paper Pick-up
6. School Orchestra Tunes Up
7. WOOD SHOP/HOME EC
8. “How’s Your Poor Nose?”
9. THE ITTY BITTY TITTY COMMITTEE
10. Jerry Infiltrates Girls’ P.E.
11. THE P.E. SONG
12. Lori Notices Jerry/Who Took My Snow Ball?
13. Eye Games in the Library
15. Writing Notes
16. The Note Race!/Relief!
17. JUNIOR HIGH SCHOOL
18. Bye Bye Briefcase
19. JUNIOR HIGH SCHOOL (vocal tag)
20. End Credits
21. The Jiminy Gravity Song
22. Gravity (End Credits)
23. The New Kid in School
25. Midnight Madness (demo recording)
26. The Bikini Shop
27. Sheila, That Talking Sheep