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From The Vault Of Art Shay: 'Duck And Cover!' — Classic Cold War Photos

By Chuck Sudo in News on Apr 3, 2013 6:00PM

(Legendary Chicago-based photographer Art Shay has taken photos of kings, queens, celebrities and the common man in a 60-year career. This week, Kim Jong Un's antics has Art reminiscing on the Cold War.)

In 1951, our schoolkids were subjected to March of Time doom-laden voices that warned "the flash of the atom bomb can come at any time." The only (unnamed) enemy of America capable of creating those Doomsday flashes was the Soviet Union. Chicago soon exerted pressure on the Feds to protect the city from atomic bombs coming from Russia, south across Canada-into Chicago. Movie cartoons showed a wizened old turtle being pursued by a six inch firecracker held by a monkey who, in turn, held a bouncing fishing pole as it sputtered chasing the ass of our seemingly vulnerable turtle.

But wait! The turtle had a defensive strategy! It dropped to the ground and curled up inside its shell. It was given the name, "The duck and cover maneuver." My kids in school at the time all ducked, covered and escaped disintegration. They had no shells, so teachers prodded them on the rump as they ducked on the floor.

We are now in the 15th year of another threatened atomic war and this time the egotistically nutty charge against our society is being led by a new North Korean leader — a chubby threat-monger, Kim Jong Un, the designated blowhard who recently succeeded his sybarite papa to the throne.

Kim has held the titles of First Secretary of the Workers' Party of Korea, Chairman of the Central Military Commission, First Chairman of the National Defence Commission of North Korea, Supreme Commander of the Korean People's Army and also a presidium member of the Central Politburo of the Workers' Party of Korea. In short, the military wallpaper that covers the chest of destiny's child, whose loyal Photoshop minions have just been caught adapting footage of commercial U.S. board games to adumbrate the threats of Kocky Kim to force our nation into the duck and cover attitude once again, instead of calling his bluff and releasing the Military Arm of the National Rifle Association to mine the Sea of Japan so it sinks North Korea into an alliance with the fish.

In an armed atomic bomb silo under the lesser of the Dakotas during the early Sixties, Time Magazine (meaning me at the time) was permitted to photograph the three man launching crew of a retaliatory Atomic Bomb- or cluster of A-bombs, itching for a short trip over Canada and any pole in its vicinity. All it would take was three separate fingers on three separate switches. The smartly hatted man whose hand was on one of the trigger fingers had recently had his finger added to those fingers of the two launchers in the background. Had I been so inclined (and armed), I think I could have taken this bunch of launchers before launch time and promulgated a nuclear Armageddon.

What could they do, imprison me on Guantanamo?

If you can't wait until this time every Wednesday to get your Art Shay fix, please check out the photographer's blog, which is updated regularly. Art Shay's book, Chicago's Nelson Algren, is also available at Amazon.