Tag Archives | Duck and Cover

Boom! Five Men Stand Directly Under An Exploding Nuclear Bomb

Via NPR:

Who are these guys? And why is the narrator joyously shouting, “It happened! The mounds are vibrating. It is tremendous! Directly above our heads! Aaah!”

This footage was shot by the U.S. Air Force (at the behest of Col. Arthur B. “Barney” Oldfield, public information officer for the Continental Air Defense Command in Colorado Springs) to demonstrate the relative safety of a low-grade nuclear exchange in the atmosphere. Two colonels, two majors and a fifth officer agreed to stand right below the blast. Only the cameraman, George Yoshitake, didn’t volunteer.

The country was just beginning to worry about nuclear fallout, and the Air Force wanted to reassure people that it was OK to use atomic weapons to counter similar weapons being developed in Russia. (They didn’t win this argument.)

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Duck And Cover: The Citizen Kane Of PSAs

duckandcoverFew films, let alone ones running under ten minutes, have been as frequently referenced, reproduced and satirized as Duck and Cover, yet it is never regarded seriously. Conelrad gives this key piece of cinematic history the treatment it deserves:

We have spent the last two years thoroughly researching DUCK AND COVER’s production history as well as its initial public reception in 1952. Interviews were conducted with living participants involved in the making of the film as well as surviving family members of those key players who had passed away.

Just how did the term “Duck and Cover” become universal shorthand for the paranoid excesses of the Cold War and for every geo-political panic attack since? The film is, after all, the Citizen Kane of American civil defense motion pictures. Clips from this movie are used almost every time a news piece is produced on the 1950’s or the Cold War.

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