Norman Bean
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NormBean1.jpg (278330 bytes)

Still actively making films at age 75, Norm Bean will act as the
guide/host of his new film on Lewis & Clark, now in production

___ . ___

Norm Bean is best known for his exceptional insect films for elementary children, most notably the ‘Backyard Science’ series. He has made over 100 films, and continues to spend several months a year driving across the United States making films for Phoenix Learning Group.

Norman Bean was born in Lacrosse, Wisconsin on November 12, 1925, grew up on a game farm, and served in the Army Air Corps in WWII. After obtaining a BA in Biological Science, he taught high school biology for twelve years in the L.A. County school system.

He started filming professionally in 1953, consisting of footage that was used in Pathway Productions’ ‘Coco’ series, which Norm requests be ignored by film historians (the company soon went out of business under cloudy circumstances). Bean continued teaching, and making short films, and began a working relationship with Paul Burnford and Film Associates (later BFA) in 1960.    Bean's exceptional insect close-up cinematography involved experimenting with refrigerating insects prior to shooting, allowing for detailed shots of moving body parts, yet slowing their metabolism so they wouldn't fly or jump away during filming.

In addition to his work for BFA, Bean made films for CBS, Encyclopaedia Britannica, McGraw-Hill, Aims Media, Academy, Sutherland, and Rampart. His oeuvre includes six travel films he produced and narrated on Alaska, Glacier National Park, Bahamas, Amazon River, Mexico and Canadian Maritimes.



Bean has produced over 100 classroom academic films for very young learners, including eighteen films on the English language he co-produced with ex-wife Marjorie Bean. We are attempting to complete a complete filmography for Norman Bean; the following, therefore, should be viewed as a work in progress. Since classroom academic films are continually being revised, the dates of production listed may not be linked to the original version.  We have blocked the films according to the decade when the film was first distributed, when possible.  Norm also made four series of elementary learning skills films, which are listed at the end of this page, following his work of  the 1990s. 

4 'Coco' Films (1953) by Pathway Productions.  Norm's footage was used in this series of films, featuring a boy and his adult friend, discovering tide pool animals, etc.

Farm Babies and their Mothers, 1954

Amazon: Life Along the River in Peru (Academy Films), 1962
Amazon: Life Along the River in Brazil (Academy Films), 1962
Animals See in Many Ways, 1962
Snails: Backyard Science, 1962
Animals Breathe in Many Ways, 1963, (rev. 1983)
Turtle: Care of a Pet, 1963
Flies and Mosquitoes: their Life Cycle and Control (EBE, with Paul Burnford), 1964
Insect Anatomy (John Sutherland Films), 1964
Life of a Dragonfly, 1964
Insects That Help Us (with Paul Burnford), 1965
Protist Kingdom, 1965
First Film on Insects, 1966
Flight of Birds (with Paul Burnford), 1966
Insect Metamorphosis: Backyard Science, 1966
Aquarium: Classroom Science, 1967
Bees: Backyard Science, 1967
Beetles: Backyard Science, 1967
Birds: How They Live, Where They Live, 1967
Crickets: Backyard Science, 1967
Air: A First Film, 1968
Animals Hear in Many Ways, 1968
Ocean: A First Film, 1968
Terrarium: Classroom Science, 1968
Water: A First Film, 1968
River: A First Film, 1969
Snow: A First Film, 1969
Trains: a First Film, 1969
What Do Flowers Do?: A First Film, 1969

Airplanes: a First Film, 1970
Birds in the City: A First Film, 1970
Cells: A First Film, 1970
Ships: a First Film, 1970
What Do Seeds Do?: A First Film, 1970
Air Pollution: A First Film, 1971
Changing Forest: A First Film, 1971
Water Pollution: A First Film, 1971
What Do Plants Do?: A First Film, 1971
Winter Ice: A First Film, 1971
Fish: A First Film, 1972
Frogs: an Investigation, 1972
How to Study Ecology: A First Film, 1972
Life on the Forest Floor: A First Film, 1972
Pond: A First Film, 1972
Transportation: a First Film on the Airport, 1972
Animal Behavior: a First Film, 1973
Rain: A First Film, 1973
Land Pollution: A First Film, 1974
Ants: Backyard Science, 1975
Balance in Nature: A First Film, 1975
Gardening: an Introduction, 1976
Soil: An Introduction, 1977
Grasslands of the World, 1978
Spiders: Backyard Science, 1978
Pets: A First Film, 1979

Plants of the Sea, 1980
Electricity: A First Film, 1981
Storms: An Introduction, 1981
Birds: A First Film, 1982
Mammals: A First Film, 1982
Reptiles: A First Film, 1983
What’s an Animal?: A First Film, 1984
Climate: A First Film, 1985
Context Clues, 1985
Seacoasts: A First Film, 1989

Bears Go Fishing, 1990
Desert: A First Film, 1990
Birds and Birding: Backyard Science, 1991
Honey and Honeybees: A First Film, 1992
Water Conservation, 1992
Butterflies: Backyard Science, 1994
Just Ducky, 1994
Pepper’s Ponds, 1994
Hummingbirds: A First Film, 1996
Mammal Mothers and Babies, 1996
Weather Station: Backyard Science, 1996

Comprehension Skills series
Drawing Conclusions, 1982
Fact and Opinion, 1986
Finding the Main Idea, 1982
Following the Sequence, 1981
Getting the Facts, 1980

Reading Motivation series
The Elephant Eats, the Penguin Eats: Nouns, 1972
Frogs are Funny, Frogs are Fat: Adjectives, 1972
Monkey See, Monkey Do: Verbs, 1971
Squirrels are Up, Squirrels are Down: Adverbials of Place, 1972
What Letters are For: Consonant Blends and Combinations, 1983
What Letters are For: Initial Consonants, 1984
What Letters are For: Vowel Combinations, 1983
What Letters are For: Vowels, 1984

Vocabulary Skills series
Word Wise: Antonyms, 1977
Word Wise: Compound Words, 1976
Word Wise: Homographs, 1977
Word Wise: Homonyms, 1977
Word Wise: Prefixes, 1976
Word Wise: Suffixes, 1976
Word Wise: Root Words, 1976
Word Wise: Synonyms, 1977
Word Wise: Word Families, 1976

Writing Skills series
Capitalization with Ralph and Stanley, 1980
Paragraphs with Ralph and Stanley, 1979
Punctuation with Ralph and Stanley, 1979
Sentences with Ralph and Stanley, 1978

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