Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Classic Cold War propaganda cartoon ‘Destination Earth’

from Dangerous Minds

An amazing piece of 1950s oil industry propaganda called Destination Earth tells the story of Colonel Cosmic, a spy from Mars sent to Earth. Martian society, y’see, was one of lockstep conformity and oppression under the hyper-statist rule of authoritarian great leader Ogg, and couldn’t be more obviously an analogue for the Soviet Union. Ogg has sent Colonel Cosmic to Earth to learn how we solved the problem of friction in moving parts, but instead, he learns all about the utopian joys of free markets and the miracle of GASOLINE, THE MOST EFFICIENT MOBILE POWER SOURCE ON EARTH! Naturally, revolution ensues. The squeamish needn’t worry, it’s bloodless.

The short was directed by Carl Urbano, and DM readers of a certain age have seen plenty of his work. As a director for Hanna-Barbera, he worked on shows like Super Friends and Laff-A-Lympics among dozens of others. A collection of his Cold War propaganda is available on DVD, as is—to my surprise—a collection of his petroleum industry work going back as far as the 1930s, and the collection includes Destination Earth. But you can enjoy that one in its entirety right here.


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