Panic Briefs: A Peak at Duck and Cover Production History

CONELRAD co-founders Bill Geerhart and Ken Sitz gave an illustrated talk entitled "A Brief History of Panic: From Duck and Cover to Orange Alerts" on Thursday October 21 at the Otis College of Art + Design in Los Angeles. The presentation was one of a series of events put on by the Ben Maltz Gallery as part of its current exhibition "Waiting for the End of the World" (September 11 - October 30, 2004) featuring large format photographs of fallout shelters and bunkers by Richard Ross (a book of this work was recently published by Princeton Architectural Press).

CONELRAD Editor Bill Geerhart used the occasion to make public for the first time a summary of his extensive research into the production history of the 1951 children's civil defense film classic "Duck and Cover." Illustrating his research with photos, press clipping and other ephemera, Geerhart established how Archer Production's Leo Langlois, Ray J. Mauer, Lars Calonius, Anthony Rizzo, and Milt Mohr, came together to create and market the 10-minute live action/animated masterpiece that immortalized the cartoon hero "Bert the Turtle" and resonates to this day in the helpful warnings issued by the Department of Homeland Security.

CONELRAD was been actively campaigning for the induction of "Duck and Cover" into the National Film Registry of the Library of Congress*.This year's list of 25 films selected for preservation will be announced in early December 2004.

*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. A complete list is available at

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