1. Rural Civil Defense Films – There’s a lot to scratch your head over when watching these 1965 Rural Civil Defense PSAs about nuclear preparedness. These films appear to be targeted at farmers, or anybody who might have lots of land and livestock and not much access to up-to-the-minute events. It seems that these savvy filmmakers decided that farmers respond best to marionettes acting out very broad ideas for how one might prepare for the end of the world.
Like most of the media from around this time, there are decent nuggets of advice buried among other suggestions that are just…weird. For example, securing your livestock and thinking of their safety is a good idea! What’s the best way, you might ask? Line their barn with blocks of hay to protect against fallout!
The fertilizer and, you know, actual blocks in this shot are strictly for human use. Livestock gets the hay!
One of the PSAs focuses specifically on nuclear fallout, highlighting it as a concern but then kind of casually suggesting ways to avoid it: peel your fruit, wash your food. And throw the peels in a clearly labelled trash can?
I guess these PSAs are better than no PSAs at all, and people probably did need these tips, but it just feels sort of half-baked. They all end with a call to action to “Contact your county agent of civil defense director”, but did they really think anyone watching this PSA would do that?
Here’s the string of ads. Good stuff.
2. Winter Park, Florida c.1962 – Having grown up in this area, it’s particularly neat to see this promotional video for Winter Park, Florida, back in the ’60s. Even if you aren’t familiar with the area, this video is a good example of how Central Florida really had yet to boom as a primary destination for business and culture. Even in the ’60s it was so rural – in many ways it took the existence of Walt Disney World in 1971 to really tie the state together.
Anyway, enjoy this. The footage is great and the (sometimes desperate sounding) pitch about how Winter Park is a hub of learning, economy, and culture is actually true, and probably was back then, too.
3. Big Wheel – My Big Wheel was the General Lee from The Dukes of Hazzard. I never did any of these tricks in it, though. I’m pretty sure that if I did, the Big Wheel would have found some way to catch fire and explode. Or just fall over and give my face a little road rash.
These kids are CHAMPS at riding this thing!
4. Electricity: Football – I actually gasped at the end of this Public Information film teaching kids about the dangers of electricity.
5. Cooky – Apparently there was a contest soliciting “cooky” recipes, and the winner got $10,000 dollars. This appears to be an adorable followup ad telling the rest of us fools how to get that rich lady’s recipe!