I have been so industrious as of late 🙂 that I have almost forgotten to slow down a bit and have a little fun, this is a “b” blog after all. Well, some folks might define fun as sniffing glue or waging war on same-sex marriages, but for me fun is nothing more complex than snuggling up with my latest edition of Filmfax. And boy did I get my $9.95 worth this evening. The July/September issue features an interview with Bill Geerhart, the co-founder (along with Ken Sitz) of CONELRAD (Cold War acronym for CONtrol of ELectromagentic RADiation which was the first emergency broadcast system in the US), a website dedicated to all things Atomic. I have to say that I was entirely blown away by the incredible amount of Cold War era resources these guys have compiled and made available -everything from audio to film to bomb shelters to USPS safety notification cards.
This site has artifacts that brilliantly contextualize the material culture of the Atomic Age which dramatically frames the cultural vision of uncertainty, paranoia, and flat out domestic “terror.” CONELRAD also has a youtube page where they have made available two short clips from the “lost” Gene Hackman civil defense film titled Community Shelter Planning (1966). This film was believed to have been lost, but Geerhart and Sitz went on an archival scavenger hunt and unearthed what, by their account, is a civil defense film gem (with or without Gene Hackman). Just in case you’re not crazy about chasing my links above all over creation, I have included the two clips of the lost Gene Hackman Classic below, enjoy! Also, be sure to check out CONELRAD, if you are at all intrigued by the 1950s and 60s Cold War material culture you will not regret it!