LOS ANGELES: Atomic pop culture website Conelrad was successful in its campaign to include the seminal Civil Defense short film, Duck and Cover, in the National Film Registry (NFR).
Congress first established the NFR in the 1988 National Film Preservation Act. Each year 25 films get inducted. Previous films include Schindler's List, Young Frankenstein, Casablanca, and the 963 Zapruder film of President Kennedy's assassination.
Conelrad focused its outreach efforts to its readers and influencers in academia, urging them to support Duck and Cover's bid for consideration. The website enlisted Paul Boyer, author of By the Bomb's Early Light: American Thought and Culture at the Dawn of the Atomic Age; and Rick Prelinger, a curator of mental hygiene films, some of which have also been assumed by the NFR.
Conelrad editor and co-founder Bill Geerhart also estimates that 100 readers sent in recommendations to the NFR.
Geerhart said that he felt the campaign was a chief component for the film's success.
The public informally submits suggestions they come up with on their own--we do not provide a list for them to choose from. Best, Steve
Steve Legget, of the Library of Congress, told PRWeek.com, via e-mail, that the organization looks for "quality films which have some importance in American film history, either as works themselves or as representative of types of films which do."
Legget said the library tries to include films which have been informally suggested by the public, as was the case with Duck and Cover.
The film, produced in the 50's, urged school children to seek shelter under their desks should a nuclear attack occur. Geerhart said the film deserved inclusion because it met the chief criterion set by The Library of Congress, that it was culturally and socially significant.
"[Duck and cover] has become part of the national lexicon," Geerhart said. "But people forget where it comes from."