duck and cover!
Times sure have changed.
Today, we get a spiffy - if not intentionally humurous - website explaining how to stay safe, or at least not become the undead, in the event of any kind of attack.
Back during the days of the cold war, the government resorted to grainy, propaganda filled films, shown in movie theaters and classrooms. These films were often filled with horrifying imagery, hyperbole and safety information that played out like commercials.
Bert the Turtle was the spokes-animal for some of these films. Bert a was pretty appropriate figure to represent the duck-and-cover method of protecting yourself from an air raid, considering the only thing sticking your head between your legs accomplished was the equivilant of a turtle going into its shell. You're still going to die. At least you would be able to kiss your own ass goodbye.
Archive.org has acquired a plethora of these safety films from the cold war era. You can see the whole Bert the Turtle film here. After watching it, one might wonder, hmmm...not much difference now that you think about it. Duct tape is probably just as effective as cowering like a turtle.
There are films about biological warfare (ladies, keep your house clean!); demonstrations showing the effects of nuclear fallout, complete with surreal looking dummy. Does she look worried? Sick? Or just resigned to her imminent death? Perhaps she is just contemplating how the commies are going to take over her town and she didn't have time to mop the floor first.
While today's warnings are designed to alleviate panic (stay calm! go about our business!), yesterday's warnings seemed fit to only cause panic. The scenarios often painted in these short films seem more like preparation for an alien invasion than tales of wartime caution.
And if you didn't think duct tape and plastic sheeting were silly enough, then view this 1943 film brought to you by the makers of Clorox bleach. Hey, do you know what can keep you from dying in a gas attack? That's right, Clorox Bleach! Even a hot shower, some baking soda and water can make you clean and safe in just minutes. I'm gonna wash that gas right outta my hair!
Times sure have changed. Or have they? When you think about it, there's not much difference between Bert the Turtle and this. Or the propaganda films telling you to be on the lookout for enemies and this. It's just more colorful now and easier to make fun of.
I think they should start making these films again. I'm thinking "What To Do When You Spot A Celebrity with a No War Shirt," or "Human Shields: War Criminals or Just Idiots?"
Stay tuned for the next installment of The Weird World of Yesterday, when I take on the driver's ed scare films of the past.