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Cold War Music from the Golden Age of Homeland Security

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Bert The Turtle (The Duck And Cover Song): Dick 'Two Ton' Baker [1953]

In 1952 the executive producer of the seminal civil defense film 'Duck And Cover' (starring a cartoon turtle named Bert), Leo M. Langlois, tried to negotiate a royalty arrangement with the government to distribute, as a "give-away," the theme song to his famous educational movie. The government balked at the proposed arrangement and the tune eventually surfaced on this Coral 78 release. It should be pointed out that the arrangement of the theme as heard in the actual film is different from the version heard here (which is performed by novelty artist Dick 'Two Ton' Baker). The film version of the song, which is indelibly etched into the brains of millions of baby boomers, was arranged by jazz artist Dave Lambert and was performed by a hired vocal group.

The universally recognized Duck And Cover theme song was written by the commercial jingle team of Leo Carr and Leon Corday with Langlois. Carr and Corday and Langlois had previously collaborated on the famous car commercial jingle See The U.S.A. In Your Chevrolet, though that song is credited solely to Carr and Corday. The fact that the same jingle team that helped sell Chevys wrote Bert the Turtle's theme song begs the question: Could there be a better example of the intersection between American business and civil defense?
In an interview, Langlois recalled his directions to the jingle team: "I told them, basically, we have to write a song for Bert the Turtle. Here's the opening and closing. Here's what it does and this is what the lyrics will be about. And that was about the size of it. They were jotting down notes while I was talking."

Novelty recording artist (I'm A Lonley Little Petunia In An Onion Patch) Dick 'Two Ton' Baker was a portly fixture on local Chicago, Illinois television in the '40s, '50s and '60s. Tipping the scales at 300 pounds, Baker, also known as 'Two Ton Baker the Music-Maker,' hosted, on various stations, the kiddie shows: 'Wonder House And The Happy Pirates' (with Art Hern). Baker also hosted a B-movie western showcase called 'Coral 26.' For years Baker was also the celebrity spokesperson for the now defunct Riverview Amusement Park in the Windy City (Laugh Your Troubles Away!). The park closed in 1967.

LYRICS/TRANSCRIPTION:
Bert The Turtle (The Duck And Cover Song): Dick 'Two Ton' Baker [1953]

There was a turtle by the name of Bert
And Bert the Turtle was very alert
When danger threatened him he never got hurt
He knew just what to do

He'd duck and cover, duck and cover
He'd hide his head and tail and four little feet
He'd duck and cover!

He hid beneath his little shell until the coast was clear
Then one by one his head and tail and legs would reappear
By acting calm and cool he proved he was a hero, too
For finding safety is the bravest wisest thing to do

And now his little friends are just like Bert
And every turtle is very alert
When danger threatens them they never get hurt
They know just what to do

They duck and cover, duck and cover
They hide their heads and tails and four little feet
They duck and cover!

He hid beneath his little shell until the coast was clear
Then one by one his head and tail and legs would reappear
By acting calm and cool he proved he was a hero, too
For finding safety is the bravest wisest thing to do

And now his little friends are just like Bert
And every turtle is very alert
When danger threatens them they never get hurt
They know just what to do

They duck and cover, duck and cover
They hide their heads and tails and four little feet
They duck and cover!
They duck, duck, duck, duck, duck, and cover

Dick 'Two Ton' Baker [1953]
Bert The Turtle (The Duck And Cover Song)
(Leon Carr-Leo Corday-Leo Langlois)
Coral 9-69025

CATEGORY: SONGS: ATOMIC[ 1 | COMMENTS | May 10, 06 | 4:09 am ]

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