Anyone Remember Bert The Turtle?
I think people my age (I'm 32) may be the last to remember this short "educational" film from the Cold War era, but even my quick polling of some of the senior members of our staff, including Old Man Big Dog from Y101, who's pushing "SUPER OLD" on the birthday count (don't tell him I said that, he's my boss), were struggling to remember it. Bill Schuler and Harold Smith from the KHMO news room did remember, however. It's a short 10 minute film about Atomic Bomb readiness called "Duck & Cover" with a catchy little tune and a cartoon turtle to help us know what to do in the event they drop the big one. And it turns 66 this month.
Now it was made in 1951, but wasn't screened publicly until January of 1952, and as a film critic, public screenings are what count. From the wikipedia, Duck & Cover was a Federal Civil Defense Administration (an early precursor to FEMA) social guidance film directing people what to do in the event of a nuclear strike. Since this (the film, not the nukes) was aimed at school children, duck under your desk and cover your head. This was made a few years after the Soviets tested their first nuke, and during the height of the Korean War.
As a child of the Air Force, I grew up on bases in the UK and Michigan, specifically K.I. Sawyer AFB in Upper Michigan. K.I. was a home to Strategic Air Command for a bulk of the Cold War, opening in 1959 as an Air Force Base, closing in 1995 following the end of the Cold War in 1991. I happened to be in 1st grade starting in 1991, and for some reason I remember watching this film in school. I know I definitely watched it in AP US History my junior year of high school during the unit on the Cold War. For the record, my father had retired from the military at this point, and we were living in a civilian town going to a civilian school.
During my my poll of my coworkers, not a one of them remembered it, not from childhood and not from schooling. And they ranged in age from mid-20s to over 60. Not a one of them knew what I was talking about. So maybe it was just my experiences that led me to watching it as a small child, right at the end of the Cold War.
But now that the Doomsday Clock has ticked to 2 minutes before midnight, the closest it's been since 1953, it's time for an updated version. Someone call Pixar!