Excavating the sub-atomic minutiae of a short subject civil defense motion picture produced over half a century ago was not the easiest endeavor CONELRAD has ever embarked upon. There were many dead ends encountered during our two years of research as well as several lucky breaks. Chief among these lucky breaks was being able to track down Bert the Turtle's maestro, Leo M. Langlois barely a month before his passing. Mr. Langlois's insights, recollections and archival records were invaluable in piecing together not only the history of DUCK AND COVER, but that of Archer Productions, Inc., the powerhouse ad agency that made the film. This article could not have been written without the cooperation of Mr. Langlois who was kind enough to welcome us into his home where he sat for an extensive interview. We would also like to thank Mr. Langlois's wife, Eileen, and the rest of his family who understood and supported this project.
Another source who was essential in the research for this article was the screenwriter of DUCK AND COVER, Ray J. Mauer. Mr. Mauer was very generous with his time in explaining the delicate nuances of writing a government film about a turtle. He also helped fill in some of the gaps left by other interviews and documentary records.
Lars Calonius's surviving wife, Jeanne Calonius, was also extremely helpful in "coloring in" the life of her late, beloved husband, the art director for DUCK AND COVER in her interview. We wish to thank Mrs. Calonius again for her time.
The surviving children of DUCK AND COVER's director Anthony Rizzo, Karen and Ken Rizzo, actually sought CONELRAD out (not the other way around!). We are immensely grateful for their taking the initiative to contact us regarding their father's contribution to cold war pop culture history. This article would have been significantly less than whole without the late director's children's insight into his work and life.
Maria Graceffa, Director of Alumni Relations, The Potomac School (McLean, VA). Ms. Graceffa was invaluable in helping CONELRAD flesh out the educator who provided the "theme" for DUCK AND COVER all those decades ago at the government conference that was held to develop the storyline for what was then known only by its working title "Civil Defense for Schools." Without Ms. Graceffa's willingness to assist CONELRAD, "Miss Helen Seth-Smith," would have remained just a name on a yellowed newspaper clipping. Thanks also to Katharine "Tinky" Ostermann, a surviving colleague of Miss Smith who took the time to speak with CONELRAD about her friend.
What follows is a selected inventory of the many resources CONELRAD relied upon in creating this feature.
ARCHIVES [ GOVERNMENTAL ]
National Archives Records Administration (College Park, MD): Records of the Civil Defense Administration, motion pictures
Harry S. Truman Library (Independence, MO): White House Records & Spencer R. Quick Files
ARCHIVES [ NON-GOVERNMENTAL ]
Georgetown University: Department of Defense Film Collection
Leo M. Langlois: Personal records (textual and photographic)
Ray J. Mauer: Personal records (textual)
Ken Rizzo: Personal records of father Anthony Rizzo (textual and photographic)
The Imaginary War
Oxford University Press; 1994; pp.47-51.
Author: Guy Oakes
May 31, 2003
July 28, 2003; July 29, 2003
Leo M. Langlois
March 8, 2003
Ray J. Mauer
March 13, 2003
June 4, 2004
"Civil Defense Film for Schools"
ELEMENTARY SCHOOL JOURNAL; September 1951; pg. 12
"Identification for School Children"
THE NEA JOURNAL; February 1952; pg. 91
Author: William M. Lamers
Duck and Cover Film Review
EDUCATIONAL SCREEN; March 1952
"Cleveland Holds 5th Film Festival"
BUSINESS SCREEN MAGAZINE; June-July 1952 issue; Issue no. 4; Vol. 13; pg. 36
"A is for Atom, B is for Bomb": Civil Defense in American Public Education, 1948-1963
THE JOURNAL OF AMERICAN HISTORY; Vol. 75; June 1988; pp.80-81
Author: JoAnne Brown
"Bert the Turtle Originated As Method Of Showing Kids How to Act In Atom Attack"
INS (International News Service) Wire Story dateline Washington, Dec. 2, 1951
Author: Felix Cotton
"New Film to Help in Bomb Training"
NEW YORK TIMES; Jan. 25, 1952
"Alert Not Alarmed"
LOS ANGELES EXAMINER; Feb. 6, 1952
"City Film Shows Pupils What to Do in Atom Raid"
NEW YORK HERALD TRIBUNE; April 14, 1952 (dateline, Columbus, OH: 4/13/52)
"Film on Atom War Bad For Children"
NEW YORK TIMES; Nov. 21, 1952
Author: Dorothy Barclay
"Schools, C.D. Defend Atomic Safety Film"
THE LEVITTOWN (NY) EAGLE; May 1, 1952
"LEA Aware of 'Definite Fear Reaction' to A-Bomb Movie"
THE LEVITTOWN (NY) EAGLE; May 15, 1952