1960s: Fallout Shelter Ads

Sources: Conelrad Adjacent Via I09; Vince Staten; Giant Size Nerd-Thing; Atomic Pear

Thank you to Conelrad AdjacentVince StatenGiant Size Nerd-ThingAtomic Pear

8 Responses

  1. Richard Wills

    Reminds me once when looking at a collection of old advertising, there were two ads for the Thompson Submachine Gun Company. These of course had been published before it was illegal to privately own automatic weaponry.

    The first ad featured sketched image of a WASP cowboy, on the porch of his ranch, blasting away at a gang of Mexican bandits with his trusty tommy gun.

    The second ad, I do not remember it had an image. It was the ad copy that sticks in my mind, went something like this…..

    “In the middle of the night, you here a noise downstairs. Determined to protect your sleeping family, you get out of bed and get your Thompson 45ACP caliber Submachine Gun from the closet.
    Then you go out onto the landing overlooking your living room.

    Then you fire a warning burst, spraying whoever was skulking in your house.” something insane like that. Mad Men indeed!

  2. Patrick

    Matt, those are the exchanges…. the first 2 letters correspond to 2 numbers (so the number was 7 digits just like it is now).

    Ever heard the song “PEnnsylvania 6-5000 by the Glenn Miller Orchestra? That was/is the phone number for the Pennsylvania hotel in NYC (736-5000).

    Google “telephone exchanges” and you should find some information.

  3. Bill Thompson

    Also fun to do, Matt; research what the exchange was in your own city. It gives one a sense of technological nostalgia. For instance, in my town, the exchange was UNIversity…and most phone numbers here still actually begin with 864.

  4. Mike Barnett

    Richard Wills… look the ad up again: there is NO POSSIBLE WAY you could identify the race/ethnicity of the bandits pictured, nor can you make the claim that the illustrated cowboy is a WASP. Its a silly ad (as were many in those days), but there is no racism in it. Oh, and it’s not illegal to privately own automatic weapons… you just have to pay a special tax (and pass a background check).

  5. Ken

    Twice in my young life we lived next to people with fallout shelters in their back yards. Like all kids, I thought they were fascinating. I asked Dad why we didn’t have one and he just said: “Might as well hold a piece of paper over your head.”

    Recently I spoke to the son of the man who had owned one of those shelters. To my amazement, when he sold the house on his father’s death the new owners had simply filled with earth the stairway to the shelter. There’s no outward clue that a fully-stocked shelter lies beneath their back yard. Imagine the astonishment of some future archaeologist.


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