Before They Were Stars: Gene Hackman in a Nuclear Propaganda Short Film

I’m sure you’re aware that during the 1950s and 60s, there was always a pervading fear that nuclear war could strike at any time, so a great deal of propaganda short films were produced by the Office of Civil Defense in order to help prepare people for the threat, their most infamous work being the notorious Duck and Cover. Well, would you believe that a young, unknown Gene Hackman actually acted in one of these things? In 1967, a 19-minute instructional film was produced called Community Shelter Planning, where Hackman played the role of a Regional Civil Defense Officer who stresses the importance of identifying fallout shelter space for all citizens in the event of a nuclear attack. It goes without saying that Community Shelter Planning looks ridiculously dated today, but Hackman does bring some genuine sincerity to the project, and he would be rewarded by securing his first Academy Award nomination for Bonnie and Clyde not long after this came out. Anyway, for a more detailed summary of Community Shelter Planning and how it was uncovered after several decades, check out this website.

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