Stay Safe, Stay Strong
. 1960
Producer: Cinefonics, Inc.,
& the U.S. Airforce

Reviewed by Paghat the Ratgirl

Beginning with the text card "For Official Use Only: To Be Shown to Authorized Personnel ONLY," here's a little political-imprinting film the masses weren't allowed to see until Stay Safe, Stay Strong: The Facts About Nuclear Warfare (1960) was declassified.

Stay Safe, Stay StrongWhen propaganda films promise to be revealing stuff not allowed the general public, they up the ante of importance, impress upon the "authorized" personnel that they unlike the public are not being lied to, if you as a military recruit naive enough to believe that.

"This our country & of its people could be in danger of nuclear attack" says that authorative monotone dude who had plenty of voice-work during those paranoid years. The film's in color; I like the b/w ones best as they seem a million years older even though they're the same age, & the vintage charm adds a lot to the calm crazed assertions of a government that used to lie to us all the time but no longer does nowadays, righto.

"To avoid suprise disaster, some of our aircraft must always be in the sky." That way, the disaster won't be such a surprise!

And these always-in-the-sky watch-planes absolutely must be "carrying nuclear weapons." Yep, airplanes full of nuclear warheads were zipping about over our own heads 24 hours a day. "We, the American people, understand & accept this necessity." Anyone unsupportive is ipso facto unAmerican.

As a nuclear bomber passes over a midwest farmer on his tractor, he cranes his neck to look up, & the shadow of the nuclear aircraft crosses right over him. Great set-up! The filmmakers were so proud of it they showed another shadow of armed nuclear aircraft passing over a group of factory workers gazing upward.

"Do we live in danger of nuclear explosion & radiological fallout if one of these airplanes should crash?" The honest answer would be that the warheads are not armed but they do contain plutonium & if the plutunium does not undergo fusion & destroy everything, then it will pollute the environment with a half-life of 24,000 years. So the city that crash occurs in, or the skyscraper it plows into, could well be forever uninhabitable.

But the only answer we'll get here is that the warheads are not armed unless the President said to arm them so if they accidentally plunge into the city there will be no fusion explosion. So don't worry, be happy.

The "for authorized personel only" part must be when the narrator admits that there've been airplanes carrying nuclear bombs that already crashed & burned. Furthermore, "Nuclear weapons have been dropped inadvertently, with no nuclear explosion." We're not told where or when but as they reveal this stuff about losing nuclear payloads & crashing nuclear airplanes they're showing us planes near Albuquerque.

Our fates are no cause to worry because military & civilian scientists working with "lightning fast computers" (big as a half-dozen outhouses) are being programmed with Einsteinian equations, so that the Atomic Weapons Commission can insure weapons safety. "There have been a few accidents but not one has resulted in nuclear explosion or radioactive fallout."

Which is really to say the many times fallout dusted & sickened downwinders, it was intentional!

Every few minutes the narrator intones, "These are the facts," to distinguish this film from others like it I suppose.

We're given a lecture on "the general principles of nuclear explosions" in a briefing room previously having a little sign hung on the door by a string that said "secret" but which before our very eyes is replaced another little sign hung by a string that says "unclassified." Wow, declassification is so easy, they should do more of it.

Stay Safe, Stay StrongThe lecturer is the same guy with the stentorial monotone voice. I always kind of wondered what sort of face might go with that recurring Voice of American Propaganda. He's a stalky gent who looks like retired military in his Sunday best.

The elementary & tedious lecture comes complete with cute animation of atoms & radiation & of sundry weapons & warheads firing, exploding, or imploding.

This is pretty much the same approach to "education" taken in similar films produced for elementary school kids of the 1950s, so the government must've thought military recruits were slow witted fellows who like any eight year old needed a cartoon to convey science.

The lecture is followed with footage of proving ground tests & experiments, & men picking up pieces of bombs that did not explode when dropped unarmed but broke into many fragments that had to be cleaned up. No protective clothing or anything, that's how truly safe it is.

The material is gathered, according to the narrator, only because it is so valuable. Otherwise plutonium would be safely left laying around, whether at a test crash-site at a proving ground, or an urban center where there was an accident.

"These are the facts!" dispelling fear of accidents involving nuclear weapons. In conclusion, when asking "How safe is a nuclear bomber coming in for a crash landing?" the answer must range from safe to very safe. But, we're advised, stay at least a quarter mile away just in case.

Continue to the anti-war animated feature
When the Wind Blows (1988)

copyright by Paghat the Ratgirl

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