Nuclear Apocalypse Animation That Scared Ed Sullivan Audiences Still Scares Today

io9 and CONELRAD Adjacent detail a broadcast of the Ed Sullivan Show that “scared the hell out of kids” when a short animation was aired on 27 May 1956. Peter and Joan Foldes’ cartoon, A Short Vision, depicts a nuclear apocalypse, showing the faces of men and animals melting off, the audience off guard when Sullivan shared no warning but this introduction:

“Just last week you read about the H-bomb being dropped. Now two great English writers, two very imaginative writers – I’m gonna tell you if you have youngsters in the living room tell them not to be alarmed at this ‘cause it’s a fantasy, the whole thing is animated – but two English writers, Joan and Peter Foldes, wrote a thing which they called ‘A Short Vision’ in which they wondered what might happen to the animal population of the world if an H-bomb were dropped. It’s produced by George K. Arthur and I’d like you to see it. It is grim, but I think we can all stand it to realize that in war there is no winner.”

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  • DeepCough

    Unlike LBJ’s famous campaign ad with the little girl who picked flower petals to the countdown of a nuclear launch, this short has a dark poignance and woeful appreciation for the destruction of war that only the British could come up with, probably because blitzkriegs from the Germans in World War 2 leveled their cities.

  • DeepCough

    Unlike LBJ’s famous campaign ad with the little girl who picked flower petals to the countdown of a nuclear launch, this short has a dark poignance and woeful appreciation for the destruction of war that only the British could come up with, probably because blitzkriegs from the Germans in World War 2 leveled their cities.

    • quadzilla

      Couple things: 

      I don’t think it was an LBJ campaign ad you were talking about….

      Also to be clear… German cities were bombed twice as hard as English cities.. after they started losing of course

      • DeepCough

        Well, I wasn’t comparing who was bombed the most, I was just noting that the United States, which hasn’t had its cities leveled in a war, didn’t have much appreciation for what the real costs of war are. Furthermore, it was an LBJ ad.

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ExjDzDsgbww

  • justagirl

    LOL!  suicide moth wins again.

  • justagirl

    LOL!  suicide moth wins again.

  • Anonymous

    Beautiful. So many of my favorite things in one video: cold war nostalgia, expressionism and animation that isn’t done in Flash.

  • dumbsaint

    Beautiful. So many of my favorite things in one video: cold war nostalgia, expressionism and animation that wasn’t done in Flash.

  • Anonymous

    As someone who adores traditional animation, somewhat surreal images, and British narrator voices, I approve. 

  • Guest

    As someone who adores traditional animation, surreal images, and British narrator voices, I approve. 

  • quadzilla

    Couple things: 

    I don’t think it was an LBJ campaign ad you were talking about….

    Also to be clear… German cities were bombed twice as hard as English cities.. after they started losing of course

  • quadzilla

    Couple things: 

    I don’t think it was an LBJ campaign ad you were talking about….

    Also to be clear… German cities were bombed twice as hard as English cities.. after they started losing of course

  • Jeffstarrs

    Thanks for finding this …beautiful & grim indeed.
    No war.

  • Jeffstarrs

    Thanks for finding this …beautiful & grim indeed.
    No war.

  • Faustiandoctor

    It is only a scary experience due to the music…. Play Yakety Yak in the background in place, or put that music to a seemingly innocent task -.-; Playing on your emotions…

  • Faustiandoctor

    It is only a scary experience due to the music…. Play Yakety Yak in the background in place, or put that music to a seemingly innocent task -.-; Playing on your emotions…

  • DeepCough

    Well, I wasn’t comparing who was bombed the most, I was just noting that the United States, which hasn’t had its cities leveled in a war, didn’t have much appreciation for what the real costs of war are. Furthermore, it was an LBJ ad.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ExjDzDsgbww

  • jink

    I like it. It’s interesting..

  • jink

    I like it. It’s interesting..

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Cees-Timmerman/1564999382 Cees Timmerman

    That’s what happens if you don’t duck & cover. ;)

    We’re still here after 2000+ tests: http://www.vizworld.com/2009/12/visualizing-nuclear-detonation/

  • http://www.facebook.com/cees.timmerman Cees Timmerman

    That’s what happens if you don’t duck & cover. ;)

    We’re still here after 2000+ tests: http://www.vizworld.com/2009/12/visualizing-nuclear-detonation/

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More in Animation, Apocalypse, cartoon short, Cold War, Ed Sullivan, Ed Sullivan Show, H-bomb, Media, nuclear apocalyse
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