IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE - Jimmy Stewart in front of the Indian Club in Pottersville
Happy Holidays from CONELRAD!

Well, another year is passing by and we here at CONELRAD wanted to take this opportunity to thank our loyal readership. Some of you have been with us since our launch last century and we value your continued support.

As we bid farewell to 2007, we'd like to remind you of some recent posts that you may have missed:2008 promises to be another fruitful year for the site. We are excited about all of the upcoming content that is in varying degrees of completion. Here is a preview of what we have been working on and hope to post early next year:
  • A feature on the only national magazine devoted to Civil Defense in the 1950s
  • A history of the Fallout Shelter Sign
  • A feature on the 1983 made for TV movie phenomenon THE DAY AFTER.
  • Our long threatened history of the 1987 miniseries AMERIKA
But before we close up shop for the holidays, we'd like to leave you with a few peculiar nods to Christmases of Cold War Past...

Jimmy Stewart enters PottersvilleAs you are bombarded with re-runs of IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE (1946) this season, pay particular attention to George Bailey's epiphany-producing trip to the allegedly hellish Pottersville. Amid the debauched neon lights and Jimmy Stewart's trademarked horrified expressions - if you look closely - you'll see that Old Man Potter was "current" enough to ensure that his town had a burlesque with an atomic powered chorus. How could Bedford Falls ever compete with that?

The Christmases of yore also proved to be excellent fundraising opportunities for anti-Communist organizations. Take a look at the Christian Anti-Communism Crusade's cheery contribution card (presumably from the early Sixties):
At this happy season it seems appropriate for us to make in your name a contribution to the Christian Anti-Communism Crusade to aid in their fight to preserve our freedoms. HOLIDAY GREETINGS
Christian Anti-Communism Crusade's Christmas card
Christian Anti-Communism Crusade's Christmas card coverAnd one of the stranger Christmas cards we've come across is one sent by "Bill & Anne Harrold" way back when. The card itself is straightforward enough with an illustration of three shepherds greeting a glorious angel (that for some reason isn't pictured) and some religious sentiments on the inside preceding the words "Merry Christmas." It is the fanciful Cold War fiction insert included with the card, though, that makes the card truly fascinating. And it prompts the question: why don't people send paranoid holiday greetings anymore?

The following is a transcript of the insert that originated from the December 1958 issue of American Opinion, the official publication of the John Birch Society:
A Christmas Fantasy

It was Lenin Day, December 25, 1984. Throughout all six continents and the islands of seven seas everybody was required, by stern orders from the Kremlin, to be carefree and happy all day long.

Even the millions of slave laborers in the mining compounds of Antarctica were given extra portions of raw dried fish for their midday meal, and were allowed to get warm during the afternoon. And in Browderville (formerly Milwaukee), in Soviet Republic No. 63 (formerly the American Midwest), the Abbott family was enjoying Lenin Day dinner in the one-room flat which was home.

For little Pitirim Abbott, almost seven and oldest of the three children, this would be the last Lenin festival before an always-benevolent government took him away for a decade of training. His fond mother was seeing that he stuffed himself with the beef stew which was such a rare treat, even though her own portion thereby become (sic) mostly soup and potatoes. For next year but that she would not think about.

"Papa," loudly shouted the exultant boy across the clothess table, "was Christmas really so much more fun than Lenin Day, like you were telling Mama last night when you thought I was asleep? What was Christmas like? What... " His babbling was finally stopped by the horrified looks and frantic signals of his parents. But the sudden silence, in the obbligato of conversation from the neighbors on the other side of the paper-thin wall, proved that it was too late.

Out of respect for the happiness of Lenin Day, the dreaded knock of the police on the door did not come until two o'clock the next morning. Only John Abbott was taken that night. He was already on his way to the mining compounds of Antarctica when, two days later, the state having made its glorious humanitarian arrangements for the orphaned children, Mary Abbott was seized by the same police. She, treated more leniently, was sent to become a number at a packing bench, in one of the fishing camps of Greenland. Neither John nor Mary ever saw, or heard from, each other, or any of their children, again.

Fantastic? Not to several hundred million Poles, Hungarians, Czechs, North Koreans, mainland Chinese and other "citizens" of the various "People's Republics." Most of them have already seen, or personally experienced, similar cruelties and worse. But don't let it disturb you. The best course is to close your eyes and mind to such unpleasant truths; to refuse to read what the Communists have done, and are now doing, towards completing their enslavement of the world; to reassure yourself that, since you are an American, of course God will not let anything like this happen to you or your children; and to

Have A Merry Christmas!
What could we possibly add to the above other than to state that CONELRAD reminds you to drink responsibly this Lenin Day. Until next year, this is CONELRAD signing off.
A Christmas Fantasy from the Christian Anti-Communism Crusade - Happy Lenin Day!

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