Atomic Age Classics
It's a special treat on I Remember Television: a look at the original educational films the U.S. government created for school children and the general public back in the 1950s and 1960s on what to do if a nuclear bomb explodes in your neighborhood. Anyone remember Bert the Turtle?
(perky upbeat music)
(slow paced music)
- [Narrator] Now wasn't that nice?
- Hello everyone, I'm Dr. Piers Britton.
Welcome to I Remember Television Again,
Remember as kids when we watched a video in school
instead of having to do work?
In the 1950's, many such films were made specifically
for that purpose and they are now collectively
known as the Atomic Age classics.
These educational short films, when watched with
the benefit of hindsight are sometimes informative
and sometimes corny, but always fun.
Tonight, we will experience three of them.
All pertaining to a topic dominating
the minds of Americans in the 1950's
the possibility of nuclear war.
Once radioactive weaponry was introduced to civilization
in order to bring about the end of World War II
it had society on edge.
And these films served an important purpose.
If you're a video game player,
you may recognize similarities between these short films
and the video games series Fallout.
The game is in fact based on these educational films.
It's a depiction of what people from the
1950's thought the future would look like.
While I'm on the subject, here's another interesting tidbit.
The famous Thumbs Up character from Fallout
is based on a rule the Federal Government
used to tell people.
If you see a nuclear bomb detonating
off in the distance, hold your thumb up to it.
If your thumb covers the nuclear cloud
you're a safe distance away.
If it the nuclear cloud is bigger than your thumb,
you need to get further away from the explosion.
Our first entry primarily educates
on bomb testing sites.
These have turned up in some notable contemporary fictions
set in the 1950's.
Who could ever forget when a mishap led to
Philip J. Fry becoming his own grandfather on Futurama
and the refrigerator scene was unquestionably
the most talked about one
in Indiana Jones in the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.
Now we get to see how the powers that be,
including the Federal Civil Defense Administration
and the United States Air Force viewed such sites
and what they felt the public needed to learn about them.
So without further ado, the film, Let's Face It.
- [Narrator] Let's Face It,
the threat of hydrogen bomb warfare
is the greatest danger our nation has ever known.
Enemy jet bombers carrying nuclear weapons
can sweep over a variety of routes
and drop bombs on any important target
in the United States.
The threat of this destruction has effected
our way of life in every city, town, and village
from coast to coast.
These are the signs of the time.
Only in practice now, a rehearsal, a training exercise.
But tomorrow, this siren may mean the real thing.
And if you hear it as you drive in your auto,
as you sit in your office, or work at your bench,
wherever you are, what will you do?
What will happen to you?
Let's face it.
Your life, the fate of your community
and the fate of your nation, depends on what you do
when enemy bombers head for our cities.
And that is why civil defense was organized.
To teach you how to survive in the thermal nuclear age,
by taking shelter, or by evacuating your area, as directed.
Civil defense will teach you how to take care of yourself,
your family, and neighbors.
How to get official instructions
and act according to plan.
In time of atomic attack the usual professional services,
police, fire, a welfare hospital and ambulance,
could be bombed out, too busy,
or unable to get to you and your family.
Civil defense control points would function
as the nerve centers for dispatch of organized
assistance to disaster areas from outside
the target districts.
Every preparation is being made to deal
with emergency conditions which would be created
by enemy attack.
To provide for communication with the public
during an actual attack, our broadcasting industry
and the federal government developed CONELRAD.
This system permits the broadcasting of official news
and civil defense instructions without helping
enemy navigators find our cities
by following radio beams.
The CONELRAD frequencies are 640 and 1240
on your standard radio dial.
A hazard unique to nuclear warfare is radioactive fallout.
Unseen, unheard, and odorless,
this substance can only be detected
with sensitive instruments.
Special training is necessary
for radiological safety experts.
Their duties will be to check radiation levels
in both damaged areas and probable fallout areas.
When sufficient warning time could be obtained
by early detection of approaching enemy aircraft,
withdrawal from key target cities or fallout areas
may be ordered by local civil defense authority.
The instinct of survival is inherent in all of us.
And national survival requires that each one of us
assume his share of the responsibility.
There is work to be done
and each much cooperate.
Opportunities for training with the Red Cross
and other groups are everywhere.
The combined efforts of many trained individuals
are needed to make civil defense a forceful reality.
This training is invaluable in preparation
for enemy attack or the savage fury of nature.
Experience in past disasters has proved
the value of advanced training and the need for more
stockpiling of emergency food supplies,
medicines, and other critical items to care
for the injured and the homeless.
However, it was the awesome power of atomic energy
as demonstrated in wartime use that brought to sharp focus
the new problems concerning human survival
and the urgent need for a civil defense program
based on facts about the atomic bomb.
Opportunities to gain this information
came with the study of structures
and controlled atomic tests.
Conducted at Enewetak Atoll in the Central Pacific.
The main objective of testing is weapons development.
To strengthen national security.
But also included are scientific experiments
for the atomic energy commission,
military projects for the Air Force, Army, and Navy,
and defense tests for the
Federal Civil Defense administration.
Primarily concerned with the effects of nuclear weapons
on cities, industries, and people.
The tremendous effects of heat and blast
on modern structures raise important questions
concerning their durability and safety.
Likewise, the amount of damage done to our
industrial potential will have a serious effect
upon our ability to recover from an atomic attack.
Transportation facilities are vital to a modern city.
The nations life blood could be cut
if it's traffic arteries were severed.
These questions are of great interest
not only to citizens in metropolitan centers,
but also to those in rural areas
who may in a danger zone because of
radioactive fallout from today's larger weapons.
We could get many of the answers to these questions
by constructing a complete city
at our Nevada Proving Ground
and then exploding a nuclear bomb over it.
We could study the effects of damage over a wide area
under all conditions,
and plan civil defense measures accordingly.
But such a gigantic undertaking is not feasible.
Instead we build representative units of a test city.
With steel, and stone, and brick, and mortar.
With precision and skill,
as though it were to last 1,000 years.
But it's a weird fantastic city.
A creation right out of science fiction.
A city like no other on the face of the earth.
Homes, neat and clean and completely furnished,
that will never be occupied.
Bridges, massive girders of steel spanning the empty desert.
Railway tracks that lead to nowhere,
for this is the end of the line.
But every element in these tests is carefully planned
as to its design and location in the area.
A variety of materials and building techniques
are often represented in a single structure.
Every brick, beam, and board will have its story to tell.
When pieced together these will give some of the answers,
and some of the information we need
to survive in the nuclear age.
At varying distances from ground zero,
the point of detonation,
numerous experimental elements are assembled.
Underground structures and facilities of various types
play their part in duplicating the complexity
of the modern city.
The vast research program includes testing
such items as covering materials, paints,
Also various fabrics and samples of clothing.
On the outskirts of our test city
a synthetic forest has been erected
to determine the protective value
of foliage and trees.
To give us a ringside view of the event,
high speed cameras stand like lonely sentinels.
Ready to photograph the hurricane of fury.
Before leaving the test area a final check is made
on the multitude of instruments and technical devices
which will record a variety
of blast phenomena for future study.
Now with all the elements in place,
our test city is complete.
From the air it's center will appear as a bullseye
to the bombardier at H hour.
On the morning of shot day, official observers,
technicians, and scientists, gather at News Knob
to await the momentous event.
This is the payoff for months of planning
and preparation on the part of the atomic
Energy Commission, the military services,
civil defense, and other test agencies.
As part of an experiment to observe the phenomenon
of atomic detonation at close hand,
military personnel and defense officials
dig in within a few miles of ground zero.
After a final briefing from the officer in charge,
just before H hour, the men disappear into their fox holes.
Every precaution has been taken for their safety.
They're told to crouch low.
Shield their eyes and remain down
until the signal to rise is given.
Now the moment of greatest anxiety.
Waiting those last few seconds.
Seconds later the blast wave reaches the trenches.
As the tower of smoke and flame looms overhead,
one thought is upper most in all minds.
Now it's over.
The fury of it had stunned some,
but not one was injured.
High above the smoke ring puff
by atomic breath rises skyward.
Watched by the men who had faced it.
A scouting party takes the first look
at the scattered wreckage of the test city.
The imprint left by the hurricane of fire
and blast remains here for us to read and analyze.
From studies of ruins and damage such as this,
we get the hard to come by knowledge
that helps us form rules for survival in modern warfare.
While only atomic bombs are tested in Nevada
the results can be scaled for the larger
far more powerful thermonuclear weapons.
A hydrogen bomb will destroy a greater area
than the atomic bomb.
And will release more dangerous radioactive materials.
But the problems of rescue caused by blasts
and fire along the periphery of damage remain the same.
In these fringe areas civil defense training
can save many lives.
Lessen damage from secondary fires
can help establish emergency facilities.
Now in a helicopter, the radiological safety men
measure the amount of radiation.
When readings indicate safety for human beings,
the troops are led in for a tour of the area.
By double checking with Geiger counters
every inch of the route, men can now enter safely
and confidently areas spotted with
An indication of the progress made
in understanding atomic hazards.
And thus, each test adds to our growing fund of knowledge.
For it is only by investigating and experimenting
that we get the facts to keep our military
and civil defense program up to date and effective.
Every bit of twisted steel makes it's contribution.
Blackened ruins and ashes of a structure
add another chapter.
The shattered wreckage of a dwelling
offers an eloquent testimonial.
Piece by piece, like the parts of a jigsaw puzzle,
our stories assembled, analyzed, and evaluated.
Then the survival facts are made available to you
through your local civil defense program.
In the thermonuclear age,
civil defense like military defense
must be flexible.
It must develop and grow
even as the forces that threaten our existence.
And so until men of good will have turned
this awesome power to peaceful uses,
let us recognize the threat to our way of life.
The threat to our survival.
And Let's Face It.
(slow paced music)
(slow dramatic music)
- While this first film primarily focused
on teaching audience members about nuclear testing sites,
it did in the beginning touch upon
how to deal with the fallout from such a bomb safely.
Our second film focuses entirely on that.
Utilizing actors playing quintessential 1950's
Yes, pun intended.
Whether or not you like that I hope you like the film.
Here it is, produced by the legendary studio RKO
in collaboration with the Counsel On Atomic Implications.
- [Narrator] within this universe there are many
natural elements and forces at work,
and in his search for truth and the betterment of his lot,
man has uncovered gravity.
The invisible anchor that keeps him
safely bound to earth.
Electromagnetic force which he uses in industry,
and atomic power, the explosion of an
inconceivably tiny particle of matter
setting off similar explosions in other atoms,
the energy of the atom.
Scientists have long known about radiation.
One of atomic energies chief characteristics.
Today they can detect the amount of radioactivity present
at a given time with many specialized instruments.
One of these is the Geiger counter.
- Say, what is that clicking?
- You must be radioactive.
Wait a minute, don't worry.
You see your watch has radiation,
but it comes from the paint on the numbers
that make it glow in the dark.
- Well what do you know about that?
I've been carrying radioactivity around with me
and didn't even know it.
- [Narrator] Of incalculable aid to mans
physical well-being have been the discoveries
of medical science in the field of radiation.
The most recent medical research in radiation
has produced the whole battery of radioactive medicines
manufactured at Oak Ridge Tennessee
and sent to hospitals all over the country.
Atomic weapon to save lives.
And in the field of industry,
advances in the use of radioactive substances
are constantly benefiting man's search
for newer and better methods of production.
- And we need every sheet of steel plate
of exactly the critical thickness.
No more, no less.
- How can you get a measuring device
sensitive enough to show a variation of
one ten thousandth of an inch without stopping production?
- We can use radiation.
- You station a radioactive substance
at this point in the production line
and pass the steel over.
Over the steel you put a gauge
to measure the amount of radiation coming through.
Now, if this steel plate varies in thickness
in one direction or another,
the amount of radiation getting through
to the gauge will vary.
And that gauge will register the change.
- Looks as though you've beaten it Bob.
- [Narrator] But, what about the atom bomb?
It has been stated that to speak of atomic energy
in terms of the atomic bomb
is the same as speaking of electricity
in terms of the electric chair.
It is true however, that the energy
which gives us the power to heat,
the heat and light to make things move and grow,
is the same energy released in the explosion
of the A-bomb.
Through state and local governments
all the responsibility for action and cooperation
within the limits of their own jurisdiction.
The local air raid warden of World War II
with his pipe tin hat
will have a new more specialized fellow worker,
the radiological monitor or meter man.
His job will be to determine the extent of contamination
by radiation in atomic attack.
The meter men will probably not use the Geiger counter
because it is primarily for sensitive measurements.
Their basic instruments of detection
will be ion chambers which accurately measure
larger amounts of radiation.
In addition, the community civil defense unit
will set up attack warning devices.
Suitable shelter in case of emergency.
Emergency communication centers.
Adequate firefighting equipment.
Hospital and first aid facilities.
Every person has heard some of the rumors
and old wives tales of this atomic era.
- Who's been giving you this information?
- Well the boys down at the plant been-
- You know there's a limit to what this A-bomb can do?
You asked me if a flash from an atomic bomb
could blind everybody,
of course not.
You look directly at the burst and bright daylight
you might not be able to see for a few minutes.
At night it might last for an hour or two.
But, in either case it would only be temporary.
Now as for the radiation of the bomb,
the chances that it will change your ability
to have children,
or that it will affect any future children you might have
are less than one in a million.
Radiation will not make a place uninhabitable forever.
No, the atom bomb will not blow up the world.
- Then what will it do?
- [Narrator] The three ways in which an atom bomb
does its work are no mystery.
The first is flash or fire.
The second effect is blast.
These first two effects of the A-bomb are therefore
but a tremendously magnified version
of any simple explosive.
It is the a bombs third effect
that is entirely new to explosives.
Radiation or radioactivity.
But this radiation can be stopped.
For example, six feet of Earth, three feet of concrete,
or a foot of steel all provide sufficient protection
Even very close to the center of explosion.
Fire, blast, and radiation.
These are the three effects of an atomic explosion
which endanger man.
You are given warning, (loud siren)
if there is a designated shelter
or a reinforced concrete building available,
go to it without delay.
But, even at home you can effectively defend yourself.
- Elsie, where are you?
- [Narrator] I'm closing off the upstairs.
- Good, get down from there as soon as you can.
Close all the windows, draw the blinds,
and pull the drapes in front of them.
That'll keep out fire sparks and glass splinters
if the windows break.
Close all the doors behind you too.
We've got to make this place practically airtight.
Check everything here that might cause fire.
Complete coverage is what you're after.
The light colors reflect the heat
to protect you from flash burns.
It's better to wear coveralls because they're loose.
And I can take them off and leave them outside
in case they become contaminated.
- The heavier the cloth the better the insulation.
- Elsie, you better pull the drapes
on the windows back there.
Joe turn on the radio.
- What about Mrs. Canny the aircraft spotter?
Does she have to stay outside in this?
- She'll be spotting the planes alright.
And for people like her like to stay outdoors
in an emergency, heavy, loose fitting,
all white clothing is the best protection.
- [Narrator] Follow instructions.
- Very little time left.
Since radiation travels in straight lines,
I'd say the way I fixed this corner of the basement
gives us plenty of wall and earth
and material between us and the possible military objective.
We're well protected from the window too.
Yes sir, even if a bomb blew the house over
we have a pretty good chance here in the basement.
- The walls can never be too thick.
Now children, I want you to sit down here against the wall.
Now crouch tight up against it.
- Now listen kids,
if they're dropping an atomic bomb
it may go off any second now.
Whatever happens, I'll give the signal
when it's all right for us to get up.
If there's an explosion
we'll wait about a minute after it's all over
then we'll go upstairs and take a look around.
See if it's all right for us to clean up.
- [Narrator] This man has made good use
of the time given him by warning.
With calm and intelligence he has employed the means
of self-defense at his disposal.
Thus, every man can greatly increase
the chances of bringing his family and himself
through any attack unscathed.
But this man has an advantage.
A well protected cellar.
If there is no basement in the neighborhood,
seek shelter on the first floor of the house
and in a room with solid walls
with as many walls as possible
between you and the probable target area.
Get under a sturdy object.
Table, desk, bed, close to the wall.
If debris should fall,
the two will provide good protection
The most important thing is to keep out of line
with the windows and to close them off
so that broken glass will not fly in.
Lie down flat on your stomach.
Cover your face with your right arm
so that it is protected by your elbow.
Grasp the back of your neck with your left hand.
But wherever a substantial underground
shelter is available, it provides the
shortest safest possible protection against atomic attack.
- [Narrator] Civil defense bulletin.
This has been an air burst.
All persons attached to civil defense groups
report to your post immediately.
- Let's go, folks.
Elsie, bring the blankets.
We'll find out what happened to the windows.
- But what about the radiation?
- Well this was an airburst, honey.
If the radiation didn't get to us
when the atomic bomb exploded,
just about all the dangerous stuff is gone.
It went straight up into the air.
The terrific heat makes it do that.
And I don't think we're close enough to ground zero
for the radiation to have even touched us.
Elsie, you better tack those blankets up around
the windows so that we can keep the house warm.
I'm going outside to see if the house
has been damaged by fire.
If we're all right I'll have to check the neighborhood.
- But will you be all right?
- If there are any fires honey,
they're just ordinary fires
and we're supposed to help stop them.
you'd better clear up the broken glass
and all this debris.
All in all I'd say we've been very lucky around here.
Nothing to do now but wait for orders
from the authorities and relax.
I'd hate to have gone through this without warning.
- [Narrator] You're out in the open.
Without warning you're startled
by an intense flash of light.
You have seconds before the shockwave will hit you.
Before the debris starts flying.
Hit the dirt!
Get behind the nearest and best shelter.
A ditch, a depression of any kind,
but get down flat on the ground.
Flat on your stomach.
With your right arm covering your face,
your left hand and grasping the back of your neck.
If you're out in the open in a built up area,
dive for the nearest concrete archway.
The nearest and best shelter.
Cover your mouth and nose with your handkerchief.
It will help to keep out any possible radioactive dust.
If you are blinded, it is only temporary.
With the blast over, get out of the wreckage.
Remembering to keep as clean as possible.
You're inside, perhaps in your own apartment
when the flash occurs.
You have seconds.
Move toward the nearest doorway,
corridor, or a stairway.
Or get under a bed or table.
Or get behind the couch or other large heavy objects.
- Are you alright mother?
Alice, Alice, turn on the radio.
- Where's Buddy?
- I think he was out playing ball.
Mother pull the drapes and shield the windows with them.
- He must have been caught out there in the blast.
- [Narrator] Civil defense bulletin.
This city has just undergone a surprised atomic attack.
This was an air burst.
Check for fires.
Further bulletins are following immediately.
- Shouldn't we go out and look for Buddy?
- No, he's been hurt.
Disaster units we'll take care of him.
If he's all right he'll come home.
- Draw a pan full of water right away Alice,
and keep it covered.
- Won't it be radioactive?
And don't take too much.
Otherwise you'll pull down the water pressure
the firefighters need.
- I'd better go on the fire escape
and see whether any fires have been started.
Mother go downstairs and see if old Mrs. Simmons is alright.
- Fine, I'll go.
But let me know just as soon as you hear what's
happened to Buddy.
Oh Buddy's here, he's home!
- Buddy, tell me quickly,
where were you when the bomb dropped?
- I was playing ball at the school diamond.
I came home as fast as I could.
I ran all the way.
- Are you alright?
Oh you're hurt!
- The school's close to where the bomb exploded.
Mother get Buddy's clothes off,
then take him into the bedroom
and have him lie down immediately.
Clean up any of the cuts or bruises and bandage them.
- [Buddy] Boy it was hot grandma.
I never felt anything so hot.
- Buddy was much closer to the bomb than we were.
Do you think he could have been exposed
to prompt radiation?
- I'm afraid he was in the danger range.
He shouldn't have exercised so much,
running home after the blast.
- Corey, we've got to get him to a doctor.
- No, Alice we're gonna follow through
cleaning up the house just as if we
hadn't been caught unaware.
And as for Buddy, the best way to help
radiation sickness is to lie down and rest
until you get medical attention.
If Buddy has heavy nausea within two hours
it means he may have gotten a dose of radiation.
- Oh my.
- I said may.
If he has sickness induced by radiation
isn't necessarily fatal.
That's when we'll get him medical attention.
Now we work to do.
- What can I do?
- Throw any of the food that was out in the open
during the blast has to be kept separate from the rest.
Then as soon as we're notified to use the water,
Cans of food, pots and pans, the sink.
But leave anything you think might be contaminated
to be tested later by the Radiological crew.
- Wouldn't it be best to just get out of the city?
- No, any evacuating needs to be carried on
the proper authorities will decide it.
We'll be notified and get orders and instructions.
Right now the safest place for us is right here.
We're pretty lucky Alice.
Cement apartment house.
No fires, not much blast,
only a few broken windows.
And chances are Buddy will be alright.
And if he isn't, doctors can help radiation
sickness considerably by using whole blood.
Don't worry, darling.
- [Narrator] This man caught unaware
by acting quickly and sensibly
has minimized the danger to himself and his family
from the after-effects of anatomic air burst.
While most Americans need consider only the airburst
in their plans for self defense against the A-bomb,
to people living on the shores of large bodies
of water, the water burst brings additional danger.
In the case of an atom bomb detonated underwater,
there is hardly any danger from flash.
There is still danger from blast
and it's resulting debris.
But the area of damage is small.
But the severe danger is from radiation.
Radiation is trapped in the water.
And the heat and blast cause the water to rise.
Then it falls causing mist
which emits radiation wherever it falls.
- [Narrator] Civil Defense bulletin,
this has been the water burst.
Stay inside or get inside
and wait for further instructions
from your local civil defense authorities.
- We aren't even gonna budge for about an hour.
After that we may have to wait another 24 hours
before we even think about going outdoors.
That radioactive mist will settle on everything.
Contaminate everything it touches.
- The rule is, keep away from the moisture.
To stay as far away from radioactive mist
and water as you can.
- That's right, son.
- Well then, we'd better go upstairs
and fix the living room windows.
They're probably broken
and the moisture will get to us that way.
- No, stay put.
We've taken every precaution to defend
ourselves against radiation already.
If we move to unprotected parts of the house now
we may get a bad dose of radiation.
So we'll stay put for at least an hour.
- What if we were outside dad?
- Then we get inside quickly,
and behind enough material that would absorb
the radiation before it got to us.
(slow paced music)
Joe, finish tacking this blanket for me will you?
- And when you're finished you'll have to
wash your hands thoroughly.
I think I got a little breeze just now.
A nice cool breeze of radioactive mist.
Now folks, watch while I give a demonstration
of how to defend yourself against lingering radioactivity.
First you remove all the clothing
you think might be contaminated.
Then you scrub every part of you
that you think might be contaminated.
- Do you think you got it bad, dad?
- No, I don't think so, son.
But if I have I'm not gonna have it bad for very long.
That's the whole idea of this scrubbing.
If you get a little radiation,
don't let it stay with you long enough
for it to build up it's dirty work.
'Cause that's one way radiation can make you sick.
If a little of it gets to you
and stays with you long enough,
it can do almost as much damage
over a long period of time as one big
dose all at once.
- If you're radioactive right now, daddy
does that mean that we can catch it from you?
- No, Meg, I've got it all to myself.
- Do you think we'll be alright, Jim?
- Elsie, we've taken every precaution
to block that radiation out already.
If it doesn't get to you right away
it starts to die.
It may linger for a while but it does die.
And we can wait it out.
We've got all the time in the world.
- [Narrator] This man knows that his best defense
against lingering radioactivity is patience.
In a water burst, the odds are with the man
who stays put.
- [Narrator] But what about the H-bomb?
- [Narrator] The hydrogen bomb,
though it might be 1,000 times more powerful
than the atom bomb would only cause damage
over a radius 10 times as great,
and the damage would be similar in kind.
Hence, the principles of self-defense against
the H-bomb would not change those of A-bomb.
They would become more vital.
Some of the scenes you have just seen
have deliberately been made slower
in order to bring home to you
what precautions might be taken under ideal circumstances.
When the alert is sounded of course,
you might not have time to do all of these things.
Most important is to take cover in the basement,
the center of the building,
or in a doorway if you're in the street.
Meanwhile, remember that civilian defense
is everybody's business.
All over the world today powerful forces
are at work for the preservation of international peace.
It is the hope of civilization
that the harnessed power of the atom
will work for the good of mankind.
- Remember, these Atomic Age Classics
were all produced as a way of providing
school children entertaining ways of learning life lessons.
While you can beat a bomb showcased families
where the father would take the lead
as expected at the time,
our next one concentrates on children themselves
and tries to be a bit more equal opportunity.
What matters most though,
at least as far as the intended audience was concerned
are the cartoon segments.
We get to see a fellow named Bert
demonstrate principles of safety as best he can.
Which is actually better than we humans can.
Your interest peaked?
Here once again made by the
Federal Civil Defense Administration,
this time with input from the Safety Commission
of the National Education Association is Duck and Cover.
♪ Dum dum
♪ Diddle dum dum
♪ Diddle dum dum
♪ Diddle dum dum
♪ 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 and cover
♪ Duck and cover
♪ He did what we all
♪ Must learn to do
♪ You and you and you and you
♪ Duck and cover
- [Narrator] Be sure and remember what
Bert the turtle just did, friends
because every one of us must remember
to do the same thing.
That's what this film is all about.
Duck and Cover.
This is an official Civil Defense film
produced in cooperation with the Federal
Civil Defense Administration
and in consultation with the Safety Commission
of the National Education Association.
Produced by Archer Productions incorporated.
Hey Bert, come on out and meet all these nice people.
Oh, all right.
We really can't blame you.
You see Bert is a very very careful fellow.
When there's danger,
this is the way he keeps from being hurt.
Sometimes it even saves his life.
That's why these children are practicing
to duck and cover just as you do in your school.
We all know the atomic bomb is very dangerous.
Since it may be used against us
we must get ready for it.
Just as we are ready for many other dangers
that are around us all the time.
Fire is a danger.
It can burn whole buildings if someone is careless.
But we are ready for fires.
We have a fine fire department to put out the fire
and you have fire drills in your school
so you know what to do.
Automobiles can be dangerous too,
they sometimes cause bad accidents.
But we're ready.
We have safety rules that car drivers
and people who are walking must obey.
Now we must be ready for a new danger,
the atomic bomb.
First you have to know what happens
when an atomic bomb explodes.
You'll know when it comes.
We hope it never comes but we must get ready.
It looks something like this.
There is a bright flash, brighter than the Sun,
brighter than anything you've ever seen.
If you are not ready, and did not know what to do,
it could hurt you in different ways.
It could knock you down hard
or throw you against a tree or a wall.
It is such a big explosion,
it can smash in buildings and knock signboards over
and break windows all over town.
But if you duck and cover like Bert,
you will be much safer.
You know how bad a sunburn can feel.
The atomic bomb flash could burn you
worse than a terrible sunburn.
Especially where you're not covered.
Now, you and I don't have shells to crawl into
like Bert the turtle so we had to cover up in our own way.
First you duck
and then you cover.
And very tightly you cover the back of your neck,
of your face.
Duck can cover underneath the table
or desk or anything else close by.
In Betty's school they are talking about
the atomic bomb too.
That he is asking a teacher,
"How can we tell when the atomic bomb may explode?"
And a teacher is explaining that
there are two kinds of attack.
With warning and without any warning.
We think that most of the time we will be warned
before the bomb explodes.
So there will be time for us to get into our homes,
schools, or some other safe place.
Our civil defense workers and our men in uniform
will do everything they can to warn us
before enemy planes can bring a bomb near us.
You maybe in your school yard playing
when the signal comes.
That signal means to stop whatever you are doing
and get to the nearest safe place fast.
Always remember, the flash of an atomic bomb
can come at any time.
No matter where you may be.
You might be out playing at home when the warning comes.
Then be sure to get into the house fast
where your parents have fixed a safe place for you to go.
If you are not close to home when you hear the warning,
go to the nearest safe cover.
Know where you are to go
or ask an older person to help you.
You know the places is marked with the S sign?
They are safe places to go when
you hear the alarm.
If there is a warning you will hear it
before the bomb explodes.
But sometimes, and this is very very important.
Sometimes the bomb might explode
without any warning.
Then the first thing we would know about it
would be the flash.
And that means duck can cover fast.
Wherever you are, there's no time
to look around or wait.
Be like Bert.
When there is a flash Duck and Cover and do it fast.
Here are some older boys showing what to do
if the flash comes when you are not in the classroom.
This is what to do if you should be in a corridor.
You duck can cover tight against the wall this way.
Remember to keep your face in the back of your neck
Try to fall away from windows or doors with glass in them.
Then, if the glass breaks and flies through the air
it won't cut you.
You might be eating your lunch when the flash comes.
Duck and cover under the table.
Then if the explosion makes anything in the room fall down
it can't fall on you.
Getting ready means we will all have to be able
to take care of ourselves.
The bomb might explode when there are no grown-ups near.
Paul and Patty know this.
And they're always ready to take care of themselves.
Here they are on their way to school
on a beautiful spring day.
But no matter where they go or what they do,
they always try to remember what to do
if the atom bomb explodes right then.
It's a bomb!
Duck and cover!
Paul and Patty know what to do.
Paul covered the back of his head
so that he wouldn't be burned.
And Patty covered herself with the coat
she was carrying.
They knew how to duck and cover.
They acted right away when the flash came.
If they had been at this doorway when the bomb flashed,
Paul and Patty would have ducked and covered this way.
Like this girl.
Heavy doorways are a good place to duck and cover.
She will be safer too.
Here's Tony going to his Cub Scout meeting.
Tony knows the bomb can explode any time
of the year, day or night, he is ready for it.
Duck and cover!
Attaboy, Tony, that flash means act fast.
Tony knows that it helps to get to any kind of cover.
This wall was close by
so that's where he ducked and covered.
Tony knew what to do.
Notice how he keeps from moving
or from getting up and running?
He stays down until he is sure the danger is over.
The man helping Tony is a civil defense worker.
His job is to help protect us
when there is danger of the atomic bomb.
We must obey the civil defense worker.
We must know how to duck and cover in the school bus,
or in any other bus, or streetcar.
Duck can cover!
Don't wait, duck away from the windows fast.
The glass may break and fly through the air and cut you.
vacation time, we must be ready every day,
all the time to do the right thing
if the atomic bomb explodes.
Duck and cover!
This family knows what to do,
just as your own family should.
They know that even a thin cloth helps protect them.
Even a newspaper can save you from a bad burn.
But the most important thing of all
is to duck and cover yourself.
Especially where your clothes do not cover you.
No matter where we live, in the city or the country,
we must be ready all the time for the atomic bomb.
Duck and cover!
That's the first thing to do.
Duck and cover.
The next important thing to do after that
is to stay covered until the danger is over.
Yes, we must all get ready now.
So we know how to save ourselves
if the atomic bomb ever explodes near us.
If you do not know just what to do,
ask your teacher when this film is over.
Discuss what you could do in different places
if a bomb explodes.
Older people will help us as they always do.
But there might not be any grown-ups around
when the bomb explodes.
Then, you're on your own.
- Remember what to do friends.
Now tell me right out loud.
What are you supposed to do when you see the flash?
- [Narrators] Duck and cover!
♪ Duck and cover
♪ Duck and cover
♪ Duck and cover
- Our last entry for tonight also features animation
but is very different in turn from Duck and Cover.
It's by far the most chilling of these four shorts.
And it's narrator speaks in the dark
tone you'd expect from someone discussing the
horrors of atomic warfare and trying to prepare
audiences for unprecedented dangers.
Film buffs will notice a scene that could've
inspired the opening of the movie Vertigo.
Though if this were made by a feature film director,
most would probably guess Kubrick before Hitchcock.
Yet this short was not meant for any
sort of entertainment.
It was meant to explain essential steps for survival
in the face of deadly radioactivity.
And it still serves as a strong time capsule
for the scary early days of the Cold War.
Here it is, produced by some notable companies,
including none other than the legendary
Encyclopedia Britannica, Atomic Alert.
- [Narrator] Clicking sounds.
Sounds that reveal the presence of radioactive rays.
The instrument, a Geiger counter,
is converting radioactivity into sounds we can hear.
This radioactivity is coming from
a small piece of radioactive material
inside this plastic cylinder.
The small amount of radioactivity
coming from the cylinder is harmless.
The luminous dial on this watch
also gives off radioactive rays
which we hear on the Geiger counter.
Even when there's no radioactive material near,
the Geiger counter continues to click.
This is caused by cosmic radiation
that continually bombards us from outer space.
But we don't get enough cosmic radiation to harm us.
Today Atomic Scientists produce radioactivity
in large amounts.
Radioactivity and radioactive materials
have many peacetime uses.
But we know too that they can be used harmfully
as in atomic bombs.
The chance of your being hurt by an atomic bomb is slight,
but since there is a chance,
you must know how to protect yourself.
To protect yourself you have to know what the bomb does.
Besides blast there's radioactivity and heat.
Can we protect ourselves from these?
These children are protected.
Concrete walls help stop radioactivity.
Any wall stops the heat.
The heat scorches the house but does not harm the children.
Any solid gives some protection.
The thicker it is, the better.
We have the national defenses to intercept an enemy
and we all form a team
to help each other through emergencies.
You are on that team.
So is your family, each member of it.
And in your community,
every doctor, fireman,
every policeman, and nurse,
every lineman, and operator,
every civil defense worker.
In fact, every community employee
is ready to help you if you need him.
So your community is prepared for emergencies
and ready to help other communities.
We have state and national headquarters for civil defense.
And your city has a civil defense core.
We have a warning system
and a system of defense.
Yes, we have the equipment and the people
for an effective team.
But like any team,
it can win only when everyone knows his job
and does it well.
What is your job?
What if a warning siren sounds?
What should you do? (loud siren)
Look for cover, the nearest cover.
Don't try to make it home
unless home is the nearest place to go.
Don't hesitate, find cover.
Everyone is in on this.
Strangers will understand.
Finding shelter quickly may save your life.
If you can't get into a house,
get behind a wall or a steep embankment
on the side away from the city.
Civil defense teams will go into action immediately.
If you're home, you've work to do.
- Hi, Susie, everything's fine upstairs.
How are you doing here?
- [Susie] Okay I guess.
- That's good.
- [Narrator] We repeat, cover windows to protect
against the possibility of broken glass,
heat, and radioactivity.
Turn off fires.
If you are home and are not assigned
to civil defense duties, go to your prepared shelter.
Those who are in shopping centers,
go to prepare our--
- The whole fire in the kitchen is out.
Now we'll go down the basement.
- [Narrator] Practice alert we are assuming
that the attack will come on the waterfront area.
- See, it's just practice.
All rushing around for nothing.
- Now there's just where you're wrong.
We need this practice, now come on let's do our job.
- [Narrator] That's good thinking.
We all need practice.
Here's a clean well-prepared shelter in the basement.
Ted and Sue have a battery radio
and they have soda ash and stirrup pump fire extinguishers.
They have other emergency supplies too.
A flashlight, a well-equipped first-aid kit
with plenty of bandages, tape, and scissors.
A Red Cross first aid book,
a few cans of food, a good supply of water,
blankets, and an electric lantern in reserve.
- You know, Susie,
this stuff would come in handy on a camping trip.
- I'd a lot rather be on a camping trip.
Say, what would we do if we didn't have a basement?
- At school they told us
we should be away from windows
and behind double walls.
You know, like an inside hall.
- [Narrator] Ted's right.
If you live in an apartment house,
you can't all go to the basement.
Head for the shelter area.
If none is marked for you,
find cover away from windows and in a hallway of possible.
Wait for the all clear.
If you're on the playground,
run for shelter.
If you're in the schoolyard,
get into the building, move quickly,
but in good order.
Inside, go to the shelter area you've been assigned.
Take your place on the floor.
Here's one good way to protect your eyes and neck
in case of a bombing.
Wait for the all clear.
So far you've been watching a practice drill.
But what if there is a bombing?
A bombing that comes without warning.
What is your job then?
Find cover immediately.
Don't look at the flash.
In about one minute the immediate danger is past.
Then head for safer cover.
Another bomb may fall.
Get indoors if you can.
Shed your outer garments,
they may have radioactive particles on them.
If you're home, take shelter
and stay down for about one minute.
By then the danger from radioactivity,
heat, and blast have passed.
Protect your eyes and neck.
- Let's get things shut up.
- [Narrator] Sue found shelter under her bed.
- It's dead.
Let's get the battery set.
- [Narrator] When the house current is off,
that battery radio is essential.
Keep tuned in.
- [Narrator] The air burst of 3:01 p.m. was zeroed
on Union Station.
Heavy damage extends from about 14th Street north
to as far south as the waterfront.
- You know we're lucky.
That blast was miles from here.
- [Narrator] Undercover unless you have civil defense...
I've just been handed a bulletin.
There's been an underwater burst at the waterfront.
Water thrown up by the bomb is falling as mist and rain
and it is radioactive.
Avoid radioactive mist and rain.
- What does he means by radioactive?
- According to what Dad said,
the radioactivity gets into the mist and rain.
And if the mist and rain gets on you
it's apt to make you very sick.
- What would you do about it?
- I'd scrub thoroughly with a detergent and water.
- What's a detergent?
- It's something like mom uses
when she washes dishes and clothes.
- [Narrator] Don't drink tap water it may be contaminated.
- [Narrator] Ted and Sue are waiting for the all clear.
- I'll see who it is.
Hello, who's there?
- [Narrator] It's your block warden Mr. Carlson.
- Come on in, Mr. Carlson.
- Hello, Ted.
- Ted this is Mr. Franklin,
our radiological monitor.
He's here to check for any radioactivity.
I saw your mother down at the shopping center.
- Well, there's no damage here.
- No, it's been very good here.
- Hello, Sue.
- Say, have you seen my dad lately?
- [Carlson] He's down at headquarters
and boy he's really busy.
- Well, there's no radioactivity here.
- Say Mr. Franklin, is that a pen on your coat there?
- [Franklin] Oh no, that's a dosimeter.
- A dosimeter?
What's a dosimeter?
- Well it measures the amount of radioactivity
that I've been exposed to.
But this is the meter that I use to check with.
- Hey, Mr. Carlson is there anything
I can do outside to help?
- No, Ted everything is under control.
You just stay here till the all-clear signal is given.
You've done a good job.
- Thank you, Mr. Carlson.
- [Carlson] Bye, Sue.
- [Narrator] A good job.
That's what everyone must do to be safe.
Doing a good job means simply following the rules
in an alert or an attack.
And waiting until all is clear again.
In this early and troubled stage of the Atomic Age
our very lives may depend on always being alert.
- We've seen a plethora of fun videos tonight haven't we?
Some may say this of course would have
been better than listening to a teacher ramble,
but as a professor, I totally disagree.
If you're watching us at home on your TV
or on a mobile device at KVCR.org,
we're particularly flattered.
We hope we can count on your viewership
for our next episode as I Remember Television Again.