What About Juvenile Delinquency? – By Nichele Johnston

We open with three suspiciously well-scrubbed hoodlums waiting for hoodlum #4 to pick them up. How do we know they’re up to no good? Because they’re all wearing jackets with a lightening bolt through a bulls eye emblem on it. The fiends! Anyways, they gotta go pick up Jamie (who is the only member of this Gang important enough to have a name). On the way to the mysterious Jamie’s house, they encounter a chunky balding Willard Scott-esque fellow taking a tad too long at a stop sign. So what are a bunch of juvenile delinquents to do? Rear end the guy and then beat the daylights out of him when he has the audacity to complain.

Then we cut to the aforementioned Jamie, lounging on the sofa and listening to ragtime music while his dowdy mother dusts. Eventually, Jamie’s 30-year-old Lightening Bolt cohorts swing by and they all head over to the Taste ‘n’ Shake. The animals! One of the hoodlums shows off a shiny new mechanical pencil (those things must have been real state-of-the-art in 1955). Jamie remarks that his dad has one just like. Uh-oh, can you see where this is going? Then the Lightening Bolt Gang start bragging about the old bald guy in the yellow Buick they beat up. Guess what, he turns out to be Jamie’s dad! Gasp! Poor Jamie is justifiably pissed off. He rips off the lightening bolt emblem and stalks off.

Back at home Jamie finds his bruised and battered dad on the couch. Jamie apologizes for something that was hardly his fault (i.e. Dad getting jumped by a Gang of punks). Dad says he’s going to be okay, so Jamie goes to bed, which is a good thing because I don’t think I could have taken much more of the heartbreaking drama.

The next day Jamie arrives at school to find the Lightening Bolt Gang waiting for him at his locker (apparently, Jamie was an hour late as the hallways are strangely empty). They make some sort of half-assed apology, saying that they didn’t know it was his dad (as if it would be so much better it had been someone else’s dad). Thankfully, Jamie isn’t having any of it.

Suddenly, three other dorky classmates approached and inform Jamie of what the city council has planned. The “Jamie’s dad getting the stuffing knocked out of him” was the straw that broke the camel’s back. Because the juveniles of the town are out of control, the city council wants to impose a curfew and cancel football games! They want Jamie to join them in trying to convince the town council that all teenagers aren’t bad. Of course, the Lightening Bolt Gang thinks all this is just so square. They try (and the emphasis is on try) to keep the others from going to city hall. But the super-tough Lightening Bolt Gang are thwarted by the presence of an 80-year-old hall monitor and the Dorky Gang make their escape (be sure to watch as one of them nearly falls on his face while racing to the car).

So the Dorky Gang makes it to city hall. The Lightening Bolt Gang follow but are seemingly stymied by a closed door to the city councils office. Inside, all the greasy and gray-haired grown ups are whining about the juvenile delinquents and the gosh darned trouble they are causing. Eventually, someone points out that only a few of the teenagers in town are responsible for all the mayhem. So the council asks the Dorky Gang what should be done about juvenile delinquency? But we don’t get an answer as the movie ends. Say what? So guess the message is: Don’t beat up your friends dad or the whole town might have to pay. Or something like that.