Sunday, February 14, 2010

Sunday Shorts - Duck and Cover (1950's)

(Sunday is going to be a day reserved for short films. Sometimes they'll be cartoons or short theatrical releases, sometimes, like today, they'll be government issue.)

There was a turtle by the name of Bert
and Bert the turtle was very alert;
when danger threatened him he never got hurt
he knew just what to do...
He'd duck! [gasp]
And cover!
Duck! [gasp]
And cover! (male) He did what we all must learn to do
(male) You (female) And you (male) And you (deeper male) And you!'
[bang, gasp] Duck, and cover!

Hiya, kiddies! If you're of a certain age, this song will definitely be familiar to you.  For those younger, perhaps some background would be appropriate.

After the U.S. used nuclear weapons on the Japanese during World War II, they held a monopoly on them until 1949, when the Soviet Union tested their first nuclear device. The two nuclear powers were already engaged in a "Cold War", but this pushed the threats, both real and perceived, to new heights. Soon the two powers were engaged in a full on arms race. As part of the "Civil Defense" movement to teach the population what to do in the event the soviets launched a nuclear warhead at the states, the short film Duck and Cover was produced and shown to school children.

Unfortunately, in the event of an actual nuclear war, "ducking and covering" would be about as effective a defense as taking one's shoes off at the airport is an effective terrorism deterrent. However it is good to look back and remember that controlling the population through fear and half-truths is not merely a trick of recent administrations.

Ok, here's what skinny I could dig up:
Title: Duck and Cover
Release Date: 1950-1952, depending on the source
Black and White, Animated
Production Company: Archer Productions

The short is available for viewing or download here.
It's also available on DVD from Amazon as part of this collection: The Atomic Bomb is Coming! A Collection of Classic Atomic Bomb Shorts.

I wasn't, unfortunately, able to find it on any Netflix offering.

Until next time, Happy Treasure Hunting,

-Professor Damian


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