On June 12, 1952 the American educational short DUCK AND COVER lost the "Oscar" to a British picture entitled WAKING POINT in the category of "Civil Defense" at Cleveland's Fifth Annual Film Festival, a festival established to recognize outstanding achievement in the field of educational and industrial motion pictures. (Sadly, this festival no longer exists). It is only with the benefit of hindsight that we now know the gross injustice perpetrated in Ohio that night so many years ago. WAKING POINT?!
On March 1, 2004 CONELRAD launched a campaign to right a wrong. This time it isn't Cleveland. This time DUCK AND COVER is playing for keeps. For history.
Congress first established the National Film Registry in the 1988 National Film Preservation Act. Since 1989, the Librarian of Congress has selected 375 films for preservation. Titles include CASABLANCA, ALL ABOUT EVE, PATTON and the 1963 Zapruder film of President Kennedy's assassination.
It is CONELRAD's goal to assist in having this remarkable film included as one of the 25 movies selected this year by the Librarian of Congress for permanent preservation in the National Film Registry. CONELRAD co-founder Bill Geerhart was notified by the Library of Congress on February 18th that his e-mail recommending the film for inclusion in this esteemed registry would serve as the official nomination. If chosen, Bert the Turtle, the animated hero of the first civil defense film produced for children, will join such celluloid icons as Charles Foster Kane, Jake Gittes and Scarlett O'Hara in a temperature controlled vault paid for by you the taxpayer!
Because the Library of Congress considers, among other factors, the popularity of the titles it inducts into the Registry, CONELRAD is asking the public for help in buttressing its official nomination with additional letters and e-mails requesting that DUCK AND COVER be among the 25 films chosen in 2004. The deadline for receipt of these supporting nominations is March 30th. The announcement of selected films will occur in December.
CONELRAD believes that DUCK AND COVER deserves inclusion in the Registry because it falls well within the criteria as put forth by the Library of Congress: Specifically, it is (well) over ten years old and it is a "culturally, historically or aesthetically significant" work. In fact, it is ALL of these things and more. Beyond the nominal criteria, DUCK AND COVER is also one of the most famous educational films ever made. The movie's title alone has come to be used as universal short-hand for the Cold War. Images and clips from the film have been used for decades to evoke the era of the 1950's. In the post-9/11 world the phrase "Duck and Cover" has been resurrected for a whole new age of paranoia.
HOW YOU CAN DO YOUR PART
Nominations for the National Film Registry must be received by March 30th of each year to be eligible for that year; nominations received after March 30th will be considered the following year. Therefore, we've got 30 days to meet our goal for 2004. All nominations may be e-mailed to Steve Leggett: firstname.lastname@example.org
Or you may mail your nominations to:
National Film Registry
Library of Congress, M/B/RS Division
Washington, D. C. 20540
For those lazy readers among you, here is some recommended text (though we encourage you to be more creative!) that you can cut and paste into an e-mail, letter, telegram or tablet:
"I support Bill Geerhart's (of CONELRAD.com) official nomination for DUCK AND COVER (1951) as being eminently qualified for inclusion in the prestigious National Film Registry. Please accept this e-mail as supporting Bill's DUCK AND COVER nomination for the 2004 induction into the Library of Congress's National Film Registry. Thank you for your consideration."
On behalf of Bert, we thank you. See you in December!
The "Oscar" was the name the Cleveland Film Festival used for its award.