This appeared on the the website IO9 and is reposted in its entirety. I think it is too important a message, even today, to ignore about the frailty of life and how we often stand at the edge of our own salvation or our own destruction. – hh
Cyriaque Lamar — On May 27, 1956, The Ed Sullivan Show aired Peter and Joan Foldes’ apocalyptic animation A Short Vision, thereby scarring wee viewers who had no clue they had front-row seats to doomsday.
The blog CONELRAD Adjacent has assembled a detailed history of the broadcast. What’s hilarious about Ed’s decision to screen the film was the fact that he sprung A Short Vision(above) upon his audience with barely a warning. Indeed, that evening’s line-up instead promised acts like the ventriloquist Senor Wences, the “winners of the Harvest Moon dance contest and the Hasleves, acrobats.” Here’s how Ed introduced Armageddon:
[The] host was less than adamant in his parental caution on the initial broadcast. Here, verbatim, are his introductory remarks before showing what was about to become a very controversial film. Sullivan opens his comments with a timely reference to the first hydrogen bomb to be dropped from an American airplane – a feat that was trumpeted from the front pages of newspapers across the country earlier in the month of May 1956.
“Just last week you read about the H-bomb being dropped. Now two great English writers, two very imaginative writers – I’m gonna tell you if you have youngsters in the living room tell them not to be alarmed at this ‘cause it’s a fantasy, the whole thing is animated – but two English writers, Joan and Peter Foldes, wrote a thing which they called ‘A Short Vision’ in which they wondered what might happen to the animal population of the world if an H-bomb were dropped. It’s produced by George K. Arthur and I’d like you to see it. It is grim, but I think we can all stand it to realize that in war there is no winner.”
After the film concludes, Sullivan is standing on the stage looking knowingly at his deadly silent audience. There is then some nervous laughter as he smiles and says “See” while nodding his head (as if to say, “I told you so”) […] The day after A SHORT VISION was shown on The Ed Sullivan Show to what was reported as a 37.2 in the ratings, the New York World-Telegram and Sun ran on its second page the blaring headline “Shock Wave From A-Bomb Film Rocks Nation’s TV Audience.” And if the headline wasn’t enough, just below it was a gruesome three-panel graphic from the face melting sequence.
Save the Children has also responded. Eiichi Sadamatsu of the organization released a statement, saying:
“We are extremely concerned for the welfare of children and their families who have been affected by the disaster. We stand ready to meet the needs of children who are always the most vulnerable in a disaster.”
The organization is currently organizing efforts and donations to its Children’s Emergency Fund will support outreach.
International Medical Corps is responding to the health needs of the disaster’s victims. Nancy Aossey, President & CEO, International Medical Corps said in a statement:
“We are putting together relief teams, as well as supplies, and are in contact with partners in Japan and other affected countries to assess needs and coordinate our activities.”
To donate or learn about other ways you can contribute to its medical response, visit Internationalmedicalcorps.org. Also, text MED to 80888 from any mobile phone to give $10.
The Japan Earthquake and Tsunami Relief Fund was launched at GlobalGiving.org to garner funds that will be given to a variety of relief organizations helping victims of the earthquake. It has already raised over $100,000, particularly from concerned Twitter users around the world. The project page explains:
We are working with International Medical Corps, Save the Children, and other organizations on the ground to provide support. Our partners on the ground are working hard to provide immediate relief.
Salvation Army personnel are organizing efforts in Tokyo and will soon send a team to help the severely damaged city of Sendai, Japan. To contribute to earthquake relief, text ‘JAPAN’ or ‘QUAKE’ to 80888 to make a $10 donation or visit SalvationArmyUSA.org.
Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) is sending two three-person teams to the Iwate and Miyagi prefectures in Japan. To learn more about the organization’s efforts or make a donation, visit Doctorswithoutborders.org.
Along with an appeal for monetary donations, Operation USA has also announced efforts to collect bulk corporate donations of health care supplies. If you are interested in donating bulk medical items, visit OpUSA.org.
The International Fund for Animal Welfare will soon be deploying a team to assess needs regarding animal rescue. Dick Green, the organization’s emergency relief manager for disasters, wrote on IFAW’s blog:
“As we saw most recently in Haiti, major disasters require long-term planning and a concerted effort between NGO and governmental ranks to ensure that the greatest number of animals and humans benefit from the intervention.”
They are encouraging support through donations, which will be used to buy pet food, veterinary supplies, vaccines and other necessities for animals needing help.