Be like Bert - know how to find shelter!

PART I: DUCK AND COVER: The Citizen Kane of Civil Defense
BEFORE BERT: Dog Tags vs. Tattoos
BIDDING ON BERT: A Little Sales Job

PART II: "ATOMIC FLASH": The Birth of Bert
INTERMISSION: "Our Terrible Mistake"
SHOOTING BERT

PART III: PUTTING THE JINGLE IN BERT: Post Production
BERT'S PREMIERE: "The Darling of the FCDA Boys"

PART IV: "THE COMMUNIST PARTY LINE": Critics of Bert and the Fall of Archer
BERT'S LEGACY

SUCCESS! BERT INDUCTED INTO NATIONAL FILM REGISTRY!
CONELRAD celebrates the success of its DUCK AND COVER campaign

THE WORLD OF BERT
Dramatis personae

RAY J. MAUER:
A CONELRAD interview

REVIEWS AND QUOTES
A roundup of selected reviews

CHRONOLOGY
At the pace of a tortoise

BERT THE TURTLE
The companion radio program

YOUR COMMENTS
Submit your comments and read others' comments

RESEARCH NOTES
Notes and acknowledgements

MIA FARROW
The original Duck and Cover Kid!

CONELRAD LEGACY PROJECT
Inducting Bert into the National Film Registry

HELPING BERT
Campaigning for DUCK AND COVER

CONELRAD LEGACY PROJECT
DUCK AND COVER Press Release March 1, 2004

CONELRAD LEGACY PROJECT
DUCK AND COVER Press Release March 1, 2004
[PDF 62K]


RELATED LINKS

ATOMIC SECRETS
Lost and found from the CONELRAD Collection

THE EISENHOWER TEN
Secret war plans revealed

VIEW AND DOWNLOAD
View and/or download DUCK AND COVER from the Prelinger Archives

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Reviews and Quotes
Filming in progress... assume the position

Gallons of ink have been spilled on the subject of DUCK AND COVER and its star Bert the Turtle. The following is a very conservative sampling that includes a couple of 21st century references as well...



"Cartoon Turtle to Teach Pupils Air-Raid Rules"
—THE HERALD TRIBUNE headline
December 1, 1951


"Turtle, 'Bert,' To Advise Kids On Atom Raid"
— RICHMOND (VA) TIMES-DISPATCH headline
December 19, 1951


"Bert Shows the School Children How to Behave in A-Bomb Attack"
— HASTINGS (Nebraska) TRIBUNE headline
December 24, 1951


"A very fine film production..."
—Millard Caldwell, Administrator
Federal Civil Defense Administration
January 17, 1952 (Letter to Archer Productions)


"Pupils to See 'Bert Turtle' Duck A-Bomb"
— NEW YORK POST headline
January 24, 1952

Variety news clipping
— VARIETY takes note of Bert


"In telling the story of DUCK AND COVER the subject of atomic explosion is brought to children in gradual ascent."

"There are many firsts involved in this film: It is the first motion picture using the atomic bomb as the subject to be slanted toward children; the first film to receive the stamp of approval from the National Education Association; the first to receive endorsements from both New York State and Federal Civil Defense Administrations and, above all, the first film about the atomic bomb in which no atomic explosion is seen"

"When the film begins Bert is shown walking down a road and then suddenly frightened by a firecracker exploded by a capricious monkey in a tree..."

"As we stated in earlier paragraphs, at no time is an atomic explosion introduced into the film. When the explosion is mentioned, the film receives a flash treatment to point up the fact."

"What makes this motion picture singular from previous treatment on the atomic subject is the fact that the film warns, but does not frighten...teaches, but does not alarm."

— Excerpts from Archer Productions, Inc. four page pressbook titled "DUCK AND COVER: INTRODUCING BERT THE TURTLE" (written by Milt Mohr) released February 7, 1952


"This film should be helpful to teachers of pupils in the first three grades in units dealing with protection against atomic attacks."

"Even though some teachers feel that air-raid drills alarm the children, there are others who feel that such drills and discussions give them the feeling of security in knowing what to do."

"The film's greatest merit is that it teaches one simple message, 'Duck and cover.'"

"'Bert the Turtle' affords much-needed comic relief and serves to clinch the main thesis of the film."

— Excerpts from the EDUCATIONAL SCREEN magazine review
March 1952 issue


"(I admire the film's) mental hygiene approach, its underlying qualities of cheerfulness and optimism."
— John C. Cocks, New York City Board of Education Civil Defense Representative
January 24, 1952


"I think seeing an excellent film like this would reassure those parents who are still afraid that we are frightening their children."
— Dr. Max Gewitz, Assistant Superintendent of Schools in District 45 and 46, Queens, NY
January 24, 1952


"Civil defense officials are obviously proud of Bert. They have visions of him rivaling Frosty, the Snowman, and Rudolph, the red-nosed reindeer, in juvenile popularity."
— Excerpt, INTERNATIONAL NEWS SERVICE wire story
December 15, 1951


"Bert the Turtle, who started his career as a symbol of alertness and self-protection in Archer Productions' film 'Duck and Cover,' is fast becoming a personality all his own and may soon supplant such stars as Donald Duck, Pluto and others of that stripe who are getting bags under their eyes and rapidly showing signs of senility."
— Excerpt from an internal Archer Productions, Inc. "gag" newsletter entitled "The Voice of the Turtle" written by Milt Mohr, Archer's publicity man
January 15, 1952


"The Levittown Education Association became aware of definite fear reactions in a number of younger children as a result of the film (Duck and Cover)."
— William L. Banks, Chairman of the Levittown (NY) Education Association in a statement to the press
May 15, 1952


"Film on Atom War Bad for Children"
— NEW YORK TIMES headline for article reporting a mental health committee's assessment of DUCK AND COVER as a "disservice" to children
November 21, 1952


"It is unfortunate that the critics of 'Duck and Cover,' in their misapprehension over the psychological effect of the film on school children, are unwittingly following the Communist party line laid down in their official publications. It is the Communist policy to deride Civil Defense wherever possible, to question and ridicule its necessity, and to 'abhor' the effect of 'air raid drills on tender impressionable young minds.' (Quotes are from the Daily Worker). I am sure that all thinking parents want their children to be prepared for catastrophe. It is exactly what Civil Defense is trying to do."
— Forrest E. Corson, chief of public information for the Nassau County (NY) Civil Defense
May 1, 1952


"Are You Ready? Duct and cover? Government advice on terror and safety triggers both panic and skepticism"
—U.S. NEWS AND WORLD REPORT article headline
February 24/March 3, 2003


"Duck and Cover, Circa 2003"
— WALL STREET JOURNAL headline
March 7, 2003



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