All American High: Documentary of 1984 High School Class is Totally Awesome


Preppies. Metal heads. Punks, geeks and surfers. Panty shots from passionate cheerleaders and 10-keg beer parties. And a high school classroom filled with pinballs and arcade games for kids to play and study on. Swear to god.

Sounds like one of Jeff Spicoli’s buzzed-out dreams, huh? Sure does. But it’s real, and it all happened in Torrence, California at Torrence High School, in 1984. And -get this- someone filmed it.

Trailer: All American High

In 1984, documentary filmmaker Keva Rosenfeld, a guy who usually covered subjects like police raids and  teen pregnancy, arrived at Torrence High School in Southern California to film on high school social life, unknowingly capturing scenes that, 30 years later, would blow every one’s mind when they saw it for the first time…including me. That’s the world I remember as a teen. That’s the one a lot of us can’t let go of.

It’s hard to believe such a reel of footage escaped loss or damage for three decades. Harder still to wrap your mind around why it wasn’t sooner shared until you learn that after it was filmed in 1984 and then made into a documentary short in 1987, it was then vaulted for safe keeping. In September 2015, it was re-released again but with additional footage of a 30-year reunion with subjects in the film,  re-titled All American High Revisited.

The original documentary film, directed by Keva Rosenfeld and narrated by Finnish exchange student, Rikki Rauhala, who was a student at Torrance High School in 1984, is a breathtaking and at times hilarious look at “the way we were” during the video craze.

By the way, Torrence high school even had its very own arcade…in the school…on campus. And, boy, is it awesome. Check it out for yourself.

The movie is available through iTunes, Amazon and Google Play.

-Cat DeSpira/RetroBitch

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