Cracked has a great piece on "The 6 Most Unintentionally Hilarious Old-School PSAs," featuring film-strip warnings about the dangers of nudie magazines, cruising homosexuals, failure to confirm to social norms, reefer madness, and lack of post-apocalyptic resolve. When you look at these films and consider the sort of people who were making them in the fifties and sixties, you realize that Dr. Strangelove was close to being a documentary.
The duck-and-cover one was particularly hilarious for me, because as a callow youth in the late 70s and early 80s we were still taught to duck and cover under our pressboard desks in the event of a wide range of cataclysms, starting at earthquakes and specifically including nuclear attack. Never mind that I went to school about a mile from Jet Propulsion Laboratories at the edge of La Canada Flintridge and Pasadena, a possible alternate command-and-control site that was, from what I've read, specifically targeted by multiple megaton warheads by the commies during the Cold War. Never mind that! Duck and cover! And stay away from the demon weed!
(By the way, if you want to know how clueless I was about such things as a youth, consider that I didn't realize that Am I Normal? was intentionally rather than unintentionally funny until I was in college.)
Last 5 posts by Ken White
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