CSWE's Film Summer of Decision (1959)

In 1958 CSWE received a grant of $70,000 from the estate of Marian R. Steckler "to produce a film especially designed for use in recruitment," stating that "the field has long wanted such a film" (CSWE, 1958, p. 6).

The goals of the film were listed as "first, to interest more young people in social work as a career and second, to present social work as a profession which calls for graduate education" (CSWE, 1959, p. 1). This statement reflects the idea at the time that preparation for professional social work practice only took place at the graduate level.

Summer of Decision follows intern David Michaels (played by Nicholas Pryor, now known for his roles in Risky Business and numerous TV series) through his work at a New York social services agency, as he considers whether he should pursue social work as a career.

Summer-Pryor2.jpgSummer of Decision also features Kevin McCarthy (of Invasion of the Body Snatchers fame) as social services director Steven Rogers and Suzanne Pleshette (later ofThe Birds) as community center worker Susan Bennett. Lois Nettleton appears briefly as a receptionist. Social workers and college students interning in New York social agencies also appear in the film. William Graham (Omnibus, X-Files) directed Summer of Decision, and Himan Brown (Inner Sanctum, CBS Radio Mystery Theater) served as producer. Attending the film's New York premiere on October 15, 1959, were Time publisher James A. Linen, NASW's Joseph P. Anderson, the Social Security Administration's George Wyman, CSWE president Grace L. Coyle, and future CSWE president James R. Dumpson.

In 1964 CSWE reported that nearly 1 million people had seen Summer of Decision ;in high school, college, and community settings, and the 398 telecasts of the film had reached approximately 15 million viewers.
 

About the photo: In Summer of Decision (1959), intern David Michaels (played by Nicholas Pryor) helps blind client Mrs. Benson (played by Vinnette Carroll) in her move to a new apartment.