The Unexpected Return of 'Duck and Cover' | WHAT REALLY HAPPENED


The Unexpected Return of 'Duck and Cover'

Sixty years ago, in 1951, Ray Maurer and Anthony Rizzo produced a film for the federal government's Civil Defense agency in response to Soviet nuclear tests. Featuring an animated turtle named Bert and real-life schoolchildren from New York, the film, Duck and Cover, became an icon of the Cold War, seen by many as evidence of the absurdity of the government's response to the nuclear threat. Against the threat of a nuclear attack, how much good would diving under a desk really do? Originally aimed at teaching children how to respond to a surprise nuclear strike, by the 1980s Duck and Cover was a piece of 1950s kitsch, mocked in such anti-nuclear films as The Atomic Cafe.

But now "duck and cover" is back, not as kitsch but once again as serious advice from the federal government. Faced with growing concerns about a nuclear attack on one or more major cities -- this time from terrorists, or bombs smuggled instead of dropped by countries like Iran or North Korea -- authorities are once again looking to educate citizens about what to do in the event of a nuclear attack. And that advice sounds a lot like what they were saying in my grandfather's day: Duck and cover.

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