Indiana Jones 4 - Crystal Skull - DUCK and COVER

In 1951, as Americans fear a nuclear attack by the USSR, the Federal Civil Defense Administration orders a film called "Duck and Cover." Created during the early part of the Cold War, the film is intented to help school children know what to do if a Soviet-sent atomic bomb explodes over America. The campaign, including a pamphlet featuring a turtle named Bert—who teaches kids how to "duck and cover"—is used throughout the nation. This image depicts a page from that pamphlet. Its title is:  "Bert the Turtle Says Duck and Cover." Pamphlet by Archer Productions, producer of the "Duck and Cover" film.


The USSR exploded its first nuclear bomb in August of 1949.  Not long thereafter, Civil Defense for Schools, in consultation with various teachers, created an ad campaign (including a film called Duck and Cover, featuring Bert the Turtle) to prepare the young people of America for nuclear attack.

School-aged children learned about air-raid shelters - and what to do if a bomb was on its way toward them.  Thus began the “Duck and Cover” era.

One wonders if the 1951 film,  featuring Bert the Turtle, would be routinely shown in today’s schools. Seen by millions of young children in the early 1950s, Bert protects himself from potential trouble. Walking down the road, he knows what to do when confronted by a threatening monkey.

Actually a suicide bomber, the monkey is in a tree, holding a pole to which a firecracker is attached. The firecracker is lit, and Bert ducks into the cover of his shell, thereby saving his life when the tree and the monkey blow up. The point of his theme song (to protect oneself against nuclear attack) is clear, even for a small child:

There was a turtle by the name of Bert
and Bert the turtle was very alert;
when danger threatened him he never got hurt
he knew just what to do ...
He ducked!
And covered!
And covered!
He did what we all must learn to do
You .. And you ... And you ... And you!
Duck and cover!

Following the cartoon, a narrator tells children what to do “when you see the flash” of an atomic bomb. The words are accompanied by live footage, presumably intended to make an indelible impression on a child’s mind. No doubt, it did.

Maybe Indiana Jones had seen the “Duck and Cover” film, so he knew what to do before he saw “the flash” of an atomic bomb! 

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Author: Carole D. Bos, J.D. 5190stories and lessons created

Original Release: May 01, 2008

Updated Last Revision: Jun 28, 2019

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"DUCK and COVER" AwesomeStories.com. May 01, 2008. Jan 18, 2020.
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