By Sharon Aron Baron
If you are over the age of 40, you must remember the cheesy group called Up With People. In the 1960s, this cheerful group of young people was created in response to the counter-culture of the times. These clean-cut, happy youngsters traveled the world to exemplify conservative American values.
I was around 5 or 6-years old when I first saw them on TV and remember thinking they were embarrassingly corny even at that young age. They were always happy and dancing around in matching clothes. They were frequently on talk shows, sports events, and concerts on PBS.
Did you know that Up with People was funded by corporations in America that were part of a propaganda effort to discredit the counter-culture of the ’60s and ’70s? I had no idea there was anything even remotely sinister behind their music (which had nothing to do with popular music of that time).
In 2009, someone made a documentary about them called “Smile ‘Til it Hurts: The Up with People Story.” The writer-producer, Lee Storey, an attorney in Phoenix, made the film in her spare time after discovering her husband, William Storey, had been a group member. They were married for 15 years before he told anyone he had been a member as it was a part of his life he didn’t want to talk about.
You can buy this movie now at Film Baby for $19.99