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Scary school film from 1952

Discussion in 'Off Topic' started by MoodyBlues, Jul 9, 2020.

  1. MoodyBlues

    MoodyBlues Compassion is cool!
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    Does anyone [who wants to admit their age] remember seeing this in the '50s? It's an instructional film for students, made in 1952 [before my time], on what to do if an atomic bomb drops. It's called Duck and Cover--a phrase repeated endlessly throughout the ≈10 minute film:

    DuckAndCover_1952_atomic_bomb_1.jpg

    DuckAndCover_1952_atomic_bomb_2.jpg

    Kids are told--in a very reassuring and calm way--what to do whether the Civil Defense Emergency alarm sounds or not. They're repeatedly warned that 'the flash' could come at any time, day or night, and that they and their families must know what to do immediately, with no time for thinking.

    They were told to look for safe places, marked with an 'S':

    DuckAndCover_1952_atomic_bomb_3.jpg

    While watching the film, seeing the kids dropping to get under their school desks or the cafeteria tables, or in a doorway, covering their heads with their arms, looked exactly like the films I saw in the '60s--but mine were for earthquakes.

    I don't know why exactly, but this film hit me as very timely. I won't say more...or it'll get moved to P&CA. :eek:

    These are its closing credits:

    DuckAndCover_1952_atomic_bomb_4.jpg

    DuckAndCover_1952_atomic_bomb_5.jpg

    FWIW, I seem to have vague memories of those signs around town as a child. I'm guessing it took awhile to take them all down. I'd love to hear your account of any memories you have related to the A-bomb.
     


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  2. lunatic59

    lunatic59 Moderati ergo sum
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    I was a little late for that. I'm a product of the '60s where everything was peace and love. ;)
     
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  3. MoodyBlues

    MoodyBlues Compassion is cool!
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    I hear you, @lunatic59! Here in SoCal, it was peace, love, and earthquake preparedness in the '60s. :D
     
  4. Steven58

    Moderator





    I believe I've seen that after the fact. I remember ducking and covering in the late 60s however. Really helpful. Scare the crap out of the kids having them do something that would not be beneficial to them in the least.
     
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  5. ocnbrze

    ocnbrze DON'T PANIC!!!!!!!!!

    i grew with this:
     
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  6. olbriar

    olbriar  
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    Okay, I'll be the guy to admit seeing the film and doing the drill. I started school in 57 and we watched the film each year and just like practicing the fire drill.. we got underneath our desks a couple of random times each year and practiced saving our lives from a nuclear blast. Even as a child it seemed ridiculous. Covering the eyes seemed to be paramount. It didn't make much sense to a six year old but like most sheep, I followed the herd.
     
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  7. MrJavi

    MrJavi Android Expert

    Conjunction, conjunction waths your function. lol. That one was my favorite :)
     
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  8. Hadron

    Hadron Smoke me a kipper...
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    The British version was called "Protect and Survive", though that was produced in the 1970s. It consisted of pamphlets and later a series of short films. It was supposed only to be distributed if things looked imminent, except of course word, and then the content, got out:

    The public reaction was a mixture of outrage from some (that if people believed you could get through a nuclear attack like this it would make nuclear war easier) and derisive laughter from many. My favourite was the cartoonist Raymond Briggs' response to this, a gently but bitterly satirical graphic novel called "When the Wind Blows", which shows a sweet old couple in an isolated cottage following the instructions of the pamphlet after a nuclear attack, never once losing their faith that if they do what the Government says it will all turn out right in the end (a clue: it doesn't...).
     
    #8 Hadron, Jul 10, 2020
    Last edited: Jul 10, 2020
  9. MoodyBlues

    MoodyBlues Compassion is cool!
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    I'm going to put my ignorance of military warfare on full display here, but aren't atomic bombs survivable, while nuclear bombs are not? [Obviously, I don't mean survive a direct hit.]

    If I'm way off-base, no problem. I get to chalk everything up to sepsis screwing up my brain! :D
     
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  10. Bearsyzf

    Bearsyzf Android Expert


    I wish it still was that way to this day o_O
     
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  11. MoodyBlues

    MoodyBlues Compassion is cool!
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    Here...it kind of is. :)

    Every day, Mayor Garcetti closes his coronavirus update with "strength and love, Los Angeles." He reminds me why it's called the City of Angels. :D
     
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  12. lunatic59

    lunatic59 Moderati ergo sum
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    Atomic bombs and nuclear bomb are both "atomic" and "nuclear". I think what you are referring to would be fission and fusion bombs. The first a-bombs, like those dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, were strictly fission. A quantity of fissionable material (Uranium isotopes) is bombarded with enough particles to begin a chain reaction of more particles being released and breaking the atomic nuclear bonds. It's the release of this energy that creates their destructive power. H-bombs (thermonuclear) also start with fissionable material like uranium or plutonium but they are made so that the initial reaction is focused inwardly on a core of hydrogen that begins a fusion reaction, releasing a greater quantity of neutrons that then bombard the plutonium with a much greater number of particles starting a greater reaction. a-bombs are dirtier, but h-bombs are exponentially more powerful.

    I'd prefer not to be near either of them when they go off.
     
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  13. Hadron

    Hadron Smoke me a kipper...
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    In common parlance they are the same thing, but as a physicist I'd say that if the terms were used correctly you would be right.

    What people commonly call "atomic bombs" are nuclear weapons, i.e. they release energy from nuclear reactions. "Atomic" is too vague a term to be useful here: the nucleus is part of the atom, but an "atomic reaction" could also describe a reaction that only involved the electrons. So combustion is an atomic reaction (a reaction between atoms) and hence a stick of TNT could be described as an "atomic bomb". Similarly a fluorescent light tube "splits the atom" because it separates electrons from the rest of the atom (i.e. ionisers the gas). So I would never use the term "atomic" at all in such a discussion.

    The real distinction is between nuclear and thermonuclear weapons, which is to say "fission" or "fusion". Of course both are nuclear as both produce energy via nuclear reactions, but the fusion weapons require the high temperature and pressure caused by a small nuclear explosion to trigger the fusion reaction (hence the "thermo" bit), while fission bombs just require that you hold enough fissile material together for long enough for the reaction to occur (which is harder than it sounds, but easier than a fusion bomb).

    Fusion bombs are more powerful, because the fusing material is light and in itself quite safe, while it's very hard to keep enough fissile material to make a really big bomb inside a single casing but spread out enough that it doesn't all fizzle (much nastier than it sounds) while you are storing it, and then bring it all together tight enough for most of it to react (harder the more of it there is). So in general fission weapons are much more powerful, so less survivable at a given distance.
     
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  14. MoodyBlues

    MoodyBlues Compassion is cool!
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    Thanks for the excellent refresher course, @lunatic59. As I read it, I had some college memories pop up. ETA: I was posting as @Hadron was writing his excellent explanation.

    So, basically, the bomb attacks kids in the 1950s were warned about, could be survived [at a distance]. Today's weapons would annihilate humanity in a given area, correct?
    You and me both, buddy...you and me both...
     
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  15. Hadron

    Hadron Smoke me a kipper...
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    The first American fusion weapon was detonated in 1952. The first Russian one a year later, though that design couldn't scale up as high as the American one (a limitation that they overcame within a few years).

    So realistically they were a concern when those films were made, though of course there were not many hundreds of multiple warhead long-range missiles carrying them back then.
     
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  16. lunatic59

    lunatic59 Moderati ergo sum
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    What I'm still a little fuzzy on is what about all those nucular weapons we had when Bush was president. ;) :D
     
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  17. MoodyBlues

    MoodyBlues Compassion is cool!
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    And Jimmy Carter! :D
     
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  18. lunatic59

    lunatic59 Moderati ergo sum
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    I only remember Carter talking about peanuts and beer. ;)
     
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  19. MoodyBlues

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    He and his wife just celebrated their 74th anniversary! Peanuts and Billy Beer must lead to long lives and successful marriages. :)
     
  20. lunatic59

    lunatic59 Moderati ergo sum
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    He was an unremarkable president, but is a heck of a human being.
     
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  21. MoodyBlues

    MoodyBlues Compassion is cool!
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    Indeed. I deeply admire the Carters for their humanitarian work. And I do mean WORK--like actually building houses. Awesome.
     
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  22. MoodyBlues

    MoodyBlues Compassion is cool!
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    Was it scary? From the film, I got the sense this was a pervasive part of America's collective consciousness, i.e., being aware of, and on guard for, 'the flash' at all times. That seems pretty frightening to live with, especially for children.

    By comparison, my drilled-into-the-head earthquake preparedness doesn't seem so bad.
     
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  23. Hadron

    Hadron Smoke me a kipper...
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    Isn't the current version drilling for what to do with a shooter in the school?
    Since that one is something that actually happens I'd think it would be scarier than the war drills.
     
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  24. olbriar

    olbriar  
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    I don't recall being overly intimidated. It was presented just like the fire drill... here is what you need do if...
    I was ten years old when we experienced the Cuban missile crisis. Now that got my attention. The adults weeping and praying that Sunday in church would scare any ten year old kid. I was convinced something bad was going down. My parents weren't alarmists, but true realists. They, too, were more than casually concerned. The media played their normal roll of barking doomsday which didn't help.
     
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  25. MoodyBlues

    MoodyBlues Compassion is cool!
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    Yes, some schools in the US are doing those drills.

    Of course, we have people who claim Sandy Hook never happened, the dead children and adults didn't really exist and, therefore, weren't killed, as it's all just a big left-wing hoax. :rolleyes:

    [Shut up, MB, or you're going to get this moved...]
     
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