Feb 9, 2017

Behind the Iron Curtain: A Radio Free Europe Commercial from the 1970s

During the early 1970s, when fear of the Soviet Union was rampant, a tv commercial appeared depicting a boy with rusty chains wrapped around his head, being brainwashed by Soviet propaganda.  A voiceover solemnly intoned "They took his country.  Now they're taking his mind.  Millions of children are growing up behind the Iron Curtain in Albania ... Bulgaria ... Czechoslovakia ... Hungary ... Poland ... Romania ... Yugoslavia."

I thought the boy was cute.  Maybe I could rescue him from his brainwashing!

In the school library, I found books on most of the countries "behind the Iron Curtain," with lots of pictures of boys and men.  They weren't sitting in dark rooms with chains around their heads.  They were dancing in traditional costumes, swimming in public pools, going to school, or just posing in groups.

But that made the brainwashing more insidious, I reasoned.  It was even more important to go to those countries and rescue them:


Albania



Bulgaria

















Czechoslovakia

















Hungary

















Poland













Romania

















Yugoslavia

I recently found the commercial on youtube.  It was directed by Jack Goodford, who also directed Mr. Magoo Cartoons for the UPA Studio.

Radio Free Europe was an anti-communist group broadcasting news and information from its base in Munich.  It still broadcasts to 21 countries in 28 languages.

R.E.M. has a song called "Radio Free Europe."  I don't understand the lyrics:

Keep me out of country in the word
Deal the porch is leading us absurd
Push that push that push that to the hull
That this isn't nothing at all

1 comment:

  1. unless i am mistaken, RFE would now fall under the auspices of voice of america, which by a republican sleight of hand legislation now is no longer headed by a non sectarian committee, but is now under the control of the republican party, radio and television both, and by a similar trick can now broadcast WITHIN the US. trump now has his own publicly funded to the tune of $800 million network... trump tv and trump radio...

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