Sunday, January 9, 2011

#357: Duck and Cover

Hell's Kitchen, NYC

I couldn't break out the Fallout Shelter sign without a nod to my favorite cartoon ever endorsed by the United States Federal Civil Defense Administration, Bert the Turtle. See, Bert knew what to do in case of a nasty old nuclear attack: simply put your head in a shell and wait till the earth has disintegrated into a flaming shell of itself, then pop out, dust yourself off, and proceed as normal. "Duck and Cover" was sort of the 1950's cold war version of today's "If you see something, say something" signs on the New York City subway: another snappy buzz phrase to keep handy so's not to panic when and if, as Kurt Vonnegut's narrator in Hocus Pocus might say, "the excrement hits the air-conditioning."

Bear in mind though, that if you do click through to watch the clip you may be humming "Duck and Cover" for days to come. You know, assuming there are days to come. And if you enjoy handling that brand of hot potato humor vs. straight-up horror, the 1982 documentary The Atomic Cafe (where I first encountered this bizarre cartoon) is a must-see.

2 comments:

Conan Drumm said...

Yes, The Atomic Café is a hoot. There was little talk of radioactive half-life in those days.

Therese Cox said...

Conan - Nope. 'Cause doctors were too busy talking about the health benefits of smoking back then.