Archive for the ‘Videos’ Category


Way back during the height of the Cold War, fallout shelters were built here and there, and basically everywhere. One of these places was inside the Brooklyn Bridge. What? Yes, really.

The Brooklyn Bridge connects the boroughs of Manhattan and Brooklyn and is one of those structures that just screams, “USA! USA! USA!” And what’s more “USA!” than a fallout shelter hidden in the bridge’s anchorage? (I had to look up what a bridge anchorage is, and apparently it’s the “massive masonry or concrete construction securing a cable at each end” of a suspension bridge.)

The Brooklyn Bridge was completed in 1863, with several tunnels and cavernous rooms built into the anchorage at each end of the bridge. Some of the caverns were rented out to store wine starting in 1876, with the rent helping to pay the construction costs of the bridge.

Fast forward to the 50s and 60s when the Cold War was afire, and some of the rooms in the anchorage were converted into fallout shelters, complete with blankets, biscuits and other shelter supplies.

The fallout shelter was long forgotten until 2006 when some city workers found the shelter while doing routine bridge inspections.

Atlas Obscura has some great photos of the shelter:


Look at all the Cold War shelter goodies!




Fallout Shelter Finding Heroes

This is one of the coolest fallout shelters I’ve ever stumbled across, and I’d love, love, love to take a tour one day (which the guy in the video below says isn’t possible because of 9/11 security restrictions).

Take a sort of tour of the Brooklyn Bridge fallout shelter here:

Happy Atom Smashing!



Greetings, friends! Today we’ll continue with our Rural Civil Defense film series. In today’s (admittedly pretty boring) segment, we’ll get to hear our puppet farmer friend liken the risk of nuclear annihilation to that of an “Indian” attack in olden times. He explains that every family needed to have a plan for such things, just like families of the present (1965) should have a plan for nuclear attacks.

I wish puppet farmer had more wisdom to impart in this section of film, but alas, no.

Fingers crossed for the next chunk!



There’s that particular type of laundry commercial involving a single swatch of pale fabric, usually in the form of a youngster’s t-shirt, sullied by stains of every sort. The commercial showcases some magical preparation (Tide), which when applied to the sullied shirt, removes all traces of the stains, and leaves the swatch sparkling. Little Timmy will certainly be the hit of the Little League game now!

Before-and-after commercials are one of my very favorite forms, and strike a similar note as the “We’ve secretly replaced Jane’s fancy-pants coffee with Folgers crystals,” and Billy Mays’ booming about Oxy-Clean.

This proof is in the pudding type of advertisement is nothing new. In fact this great 1950s commercial for Dorothy Gray Salon (pronounced sa-LON) Cold Cream uses this approach, in a pretty peculiar way.

The commercial begins with Pack-a-Day-Margaret greeting “Busy You!” explaining that you’re in and out doors all day, and where on earth are you going to find the time to clean your face of all the dust and dirt and makeup that have stuck to your face? Well, you’re going to use Dorothy Gray Salon Cold Cream to clean it in a jiffy.

But, we don’t have to take the announcer lady’s word that Dorothy Gray Salon Cold Cream will do this for us. Instead, we’re introduced to a model, whom I’ll call Barb. Barb’s face is covered in dust that has been made “just radioactive enough to register on a Geiger counter.” Wait—what? Yep—you read that right, radioactive (but just). They covered poor Barb’s face in radioactive dust just to prove the merits of a silly old cold cream.

The Dorothy Gray Salon Cold Cream’s deradiationizing (?) capabilities are put up against “cleansing creams and complexion soaps,” and according to the announcer lady, “the Geiger counter proves that Dorothy Gray Salon Cold Cream cleanses up to 2 ½ times more thoroughly than any soap or other cleansing cream tested!” I guess this means that the Geiger counter beeped at a slower pace when Barb’s radioactive dust covered face was covered with a layer of Dorothy Gray Salon Cold Cream than other goop? Maybe it’s acting more as shielding, did you think of that announcer lady? And maybe we shouldn’t have purposely put radioactive dirt on a lady’s face? Call me crazy, but this seems like kind of a bad idea.

Disappointingly, we don’t get to see any of the actual “tests.” I was really hoping for some face-washing action here. All in all, I’d say they jumped on the radioactive bandwagon, without any real reason, other than trying to be one of the cool kids by somehow linking their dippy cold cream to something atomic.

Now if Dorothy Gray Salon Cold Cream contained some uranium, we’d really be on to something.


An oldie, but a goodie. Basically I could watch this video on a loop for all eternity, and be totally okay with it. The beeps and blips are so creepy-awesome. And when the Soviet flag pops up the first time?!

Anyway, take a peek at a time lapse map of every nuclear explosion since 1945. Except for the newish ones in North Korea, I believe.

The New Orleans Civil Defense Center was designed to function as a command center during man-made (nuclear) and natural disasters. The command center was put to use for the second purpose during 1965’s Hurricane Betsy. This film shows the command center in action, complete with the mayor descending the stairs into the shelter and the call center (room?) full of (mostly) ladies manning the phone lines helping with such personal emergencies as a baby being born during the hurricane.

To see the New Orleans-specific part of the video, start at ~10:44. Though honestly the film is great throughout providing great insight into one of the nastiest hurricanes and the early Sixties in general. There’s even footage of the Gemini V astronauts, whose mission was shortened by an orbit due to the hurricane.

Enjoy this peak into Hurricane Betsy and the New Orleans Civil Defense Shelter in its prime.


Let’s check in with our puppet farmer friend!

In today’s installment, the farmer springs from his bed…fully clothed! Did you know farmers are at the ready for cow milking and combine driving and nuclear bombs at the drop of a hat?! Now you do.

From this film I learned, mo’ shielding, mo’ better. I love that the announcer suggests using fertilizer bags for shielding, which yes they’re big and heavy, and I suppose do block radiation, but…what if you’re inside the blast zone? I mean, fertilizer is super duper explosive. Not a good plan.


Surviving Fallout – Rural Civil Defense – 1965 – Part 2/10

It’s time for another visit with our puppet farmer friend!

Today we get to watch as he hastily prepares for a nuclear attack after the alert siren “whales.”

Two things:

1) I really don’t think the puppet farmer would have made it down those steps walking the way he was.

2) Thanks for the chiding at the end, PSA announcer dude.


Great first person walk-through of the old Dallas Civil Defense Emergency Operations Center fallout shelter. It’s located under one of the buildings at the Perot Museum of Nature and Science at Fair Park. Unfortunately, it isn’t open to the public. But don’t let this stop you! A nice email or friendly phone call can go a long way towards getting yourself a tour of an atomic site. Trust me. 🙂

The Civil Defense Museum has a great write up of the shelter, based on a few visits to the site.

And while we’re in Texas, here’s an interesting piece about a house and fallout shelter in Oak Park, Texas.


Surviving Fallout – Rural Civil Defense – 1965 – Part 1/10

Puppet cows! Puppet Farmers! Moving cinder blocks, even!

Check out this great old PSA about protecting farm animals from nuclear fallout using barns and hay.

Plus there’s mention of a pamphlet, “Your Livestock Can Survive Fallout From a Nuclear Attack.” I MUST find this guide.

I dare you not to giggle while you watch. I seriously can’t quit laughing at the absurdity of the whole thing. Puppets!

Oh! This is part 1/10, so there are lots more a-comin’!



An atomic bomb falls out of the sky. In the United States. On accident.