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Cold War Music from the Golden Age of Homeland Security

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Take The Step (Grandma's Pantry): Unknown Announcer and Cast [1953]

The culture of 1950s civil defense was one that sought to reinforce 'traditional' gender roles and this 'dramatized' PSA is audio proof of the strategy in action. The spot starts with a 'traditional' mother explaining to her squeaky-voiced Boy Scout son about 'grandma's pantry, modern version.' Then the ubiquitous velvety-voiced announcers take over and hammer home the message that it is important to have a "seven day supply of food on hand" in case of unexpected company…or an A-bomb attack. The PSA ends with the tagline "civil defense, an American tradition," in case anyone in the listening audience missed the subtle subtext.

Grandma's Pantry was just one of many motivational programs sponsored by federal and local civil defense that rewarded families and individuals with official cards and buttons if they adhered to the principals of a given promotion. The Department of Homeland Security has yet to revive Grandma or her pantry.

LYRICS/TRANSCRIPTION:
Take The Step (Grandma's Pantry): Unknown Announcer and Cast [1953]

Boy: What's with the basket, Mom, picnic?
Mom: Nope, this is Grandma's pantry, modern version.
Boy: Great, Mom, only what's it for?
Mom: Civil defense. And you're the one who brought that home from Scout meeting. Here, help me check off the list. Fruit juice
Boy: yep
Mom: Powdered milk
Boy: Right
Mom: Canned meat
Boy: Yeah
Announcer: Into Civil Defense comes Grandma's Pantry, the symbol
of preparedness. Unexpected company, Grandma always had plenty for everyone
Announcer: No matter what unexpected disaster, your family should have a 7 day supply of food on hand, kept well protected in jars or tins, and safe in a shelter area
Announcer: In an emergency, or during evacuation case of enemy attack it's too late to plan. You’ll have to depend on your own resources…on Grandma's Pantry
Announcer: Assure the future, know the 6 steps to survival. Make this year your family's year for Civil Defense
Announcer: Civil Defense – an American tradition!


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