Protect and Survive – Casualties

Two posts in one weekend? Am I in an especially generous mood? Or am I making up for the lack of posts I made while in London for Spring Break? We can pretend it’s the latter. Speaking of London, (as I said in my last post) the below wartime propaganda poster is very popular in England for some hipster-ish ironic reason.


Because of this poster, and the fact that it’s cool enough that even I bought a postcard of it, I decided blog about the visually similar public service announcement series “Protect and Survive.” This episode is entitled “Casualties.” No one else seems to have seen the irony in a segment entitled “Casualties” in a series that has the word “survive” in its title.


Each episode of the series begins with what I am sure was the comforting image of the type of mushroom cloud created by nuclear explosion. As with the previous blogged on American video, “Duck and Cover” this series used fear as a means of control of the population. If you doubt me, just look at the name of this short; it’s all about death. The video itself goes into the topic in great detail.


“After an attack is over and the all-clear has been sounded…If anyone dies while you are kept in the fall-out room, move the body into another room in the house…”


Anyone uncomfortable about the idea of handling your deceased loved ones? Too bad, because we’re all about it in this video. Of course, I’m not sure why some persons in a fallout shelter would be deceased and others wouldn’t, but apparently the British government thought it likely enough to make a video all about it. By the way, how many rooms do these fallout shelters have? Do I need to consider a temporary funeral parlor (sorry, parlour, we are being British today) when building my home?


“…label the body with name and address, and cover it as tightly as possible in polythene paper, sheets or blankets, and tie a second card to the covery.”

It was Colonel Mustard, in the fallout shelter, with the nuclear weapon! Sorry, I had to. You must admit there is a certain level of fun to these colorful images. Anyway, I’m not sure what polythene paper is, but I do know that I would not want to give up the assumedly few blankets in a fallout shelter to someone who definitely does not need them. Also, why the double-label? In case you forgot which body is which? Again, grim.


“The radio will advise what to do about taking the body away for burial.”

Again, comforting to know that the radio, assumedly my only connection to the outside world, will be broadcasting non-stop funeral directions. That’s animated radio waves that your looking at, in case you didn’t read my last post about this series. This is the extent of the animation in this series.


“If, however, you have had a body in the house for more than 5 days…”

I know my dark sense of humor might fool one into think that I cannot be grossed out, but this is gross even for me to think about.


“…if it safe to come outside, then you should bury the body for the time being in a trench or cover it with earth, and mark the spot of the burial.”

Dump it in a trench or cover it with some dirt? In the backyard? Really? That’s the best advise her majesty’s government could give?


I don’t know about this, guys. This whole series seems pretty ridiculous (and gruesome). Then again, it is certainly no more ridiculous than its American counterpart, “Duck and Cover.” Despite the bright colors and simple cartoons, the short only permits one to feel fear and discomfort. Even the final visual (below) is accompanied by uneasy music that sounds like the love child of the “Twilight Zone” theme and the “Inception” soundtrack. Anyway, see you next week with some more videos from our old pal Sid Davis (who made the first video I blogged about, “Live and Learn”


Link: http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/films/1964to1979/filmpage_casualties.htm

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About doublemajorram

I'm an English and Sociology Major in NYC who plans to go to into law. If you are looking for a source to fault my gallows humor, read the Series of Unfortunate Events or watch any Tim Burton movie. Or go to the London Dungeon. Or criticize out my parents for making such things available to me at an impressionable age. Seriously, I'll give you their addresses. I promise to add something more interesting later.
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One Response to Protect and Survive – Casualties

  1. Anne says:

    Fantastic!

    The driver’s ed videos in the early 80s were great. On the day that our teacher was going to show “Underride,” word spread like wildfire through the whole school–the first period kids would pass it on and the whole h.s. was hopping with excitement to see this snuff film about teens who tailgate an 18-wheeler and get decapitated.

    Also, “Let’s Panic About Babies” has a trailer that’s a parody of these videos.

    This blog makes me very happy. And nostalgic!

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