FOOD FLASHES [Allocated Title]

Catalogue number
  • COI 1089
Department
Film
Production date
1942
Place made
GB
Subject period
Dimensions
  • whole: Number Of Items/reels/tapes 1
Creator
Category
film

© IWM

License Film
Object description

A collection of twenty-nine Ministry of Food "Food Flashes", each lasting between ten and twenty seconds and each having a "Food Flash" logo at the beginning. (NB: All the flashes have a voice-over commentary, which is represented in inverted commas.)

Physical description

35mm

Full description

(Flash 1 - at 0 ft) Commentary asks that "Whilst remembering the potato, don't forget our old friend, the carrot" as cards (in the style of Happy Families game) show drawings of Potato Pete and three carrots. "They are ideal for night blindness - but not this kind, of course!": shot of drunk staggering down suburban street and swinging on lamp post (which has blackout stripes painted around it) - he grins at the camera. [No. 28 "Carrots" 14/9/1942 ?]

Full description

(Flash 2 - at 25 ft) Housewife stands by larder looking at tin of dried eggs; after a brief pause she puts it at the back of the shelf. Man's off-screen voice says "No no no!"; she looks up, smiles and picks up the tin again, holding it towards the camera. "Don't put your dried egg away for a rainy day - use it up now! There'll be more to come, you know." Close-up of dried egg being spooned from tin into mixing bowl on table; cut to plate of small cakes made with the mix. "Here's the motto where the eggs come from: dry, dry, dry again!" [No. 24 "Dried Eggs" 17/8/1942 ?]

Full description

(Flash 3 - at 55 ft) Broken milk bottle on bricks 'reassembles' itself through reverse photography. Signaller-type voice says "Calling all milk bottles" in monotone. "This one..." (bottle full of water held by little boy by pond "...and this one..." (bottle being used as flower vase by smiling twin girls "...and these..." (two large and one small milk bottle on kitchen shelf). Milkman walks along street towards float. The voice shouts "...hey! I say! Those, too!" and the milkman turns and looks at the garden wall behind him, where four milk bottles are standing. He picks them up and carries them to the float. "Take milk bottles back to be refilled." [No. 25 "Milk Bottles" 24/8/1942 ?]

Full description

(Flash 4 - at 79 ft) Male voice states "New ration books start next week." Close-up of (woman's) hands on desk, the left touching old and new ration books, the right pointing at tear-off calendar with pen. "Monday 27 July is the date - "you have re-registered, haven't you?" "Anyway, you can't use the new book until you've filled in your shops on page 38" Hands open the new book and write addresses down. "You can keep the old book for a while - you might need it." The old book is put into desk drawer. [No. 20 "New Ration Period" 20/7/1942 ?]

Full description

(Flash 5 - 105 ft) Thunderclap is heard; bottle of milk on checkered tablecloth is picked up and poured into mixing bowl - it is sour. "Milk turned sour?" asks male voice. Cut to thundery clouds. "Thunder, you say. Don't you believe it! Just keep the bottle cool and it'll stay fresh, storms or no storms." Milk bottle is placed in willow pattern plate with a little water in the bottom, and covered with a damp cloth which is tucked underneath. "Yes, that's right! Keep the ends in the water. That's it!" [No. 22 "Sour Milk" 3/8/1942 ?]

Full description

(Flash 6 - at 130 ft) "You'll want your personal ration book now" - hands hold book open at stamps. Cut to little boy looking in shop window and pointing, then going past other children (one of them a little boy who looks plaintively at the camera) to the door. "You can go to any sweetshop - yes, this one will do young fellow - and for a short while everyone will get the same amount and that's two ounces a week" Inside, the shopkeeper weighs the sweets and gives a bag to the little boy. [No. 21 "Personal Ration Book" 27/7/1942 ?]

Full description

(Flash 7 - 156 ft) Shot of stall at vegetable market; cut in to basket of potatoes with sign '7lb for 9d'. "There's lots of potatoes about, and at pre-war prices too." Cut to middle-aged, working man sitting at table, holding his plate up while his wife scoops potatoes from a pan. "That's a boy, have a second helping." Cut to the man looking directly at the camera, with a large potato on a fork and a mouthful; he winks cheerfully. Commentator: "Here's spud in your eye!" [No. 23 "Potatoes" 10/8/1942 ?]

Full description

(Flash 8 - 176 ft) Packet of powdered egg stands on table; woman stands behind, but only hands and apron are visible. Commentator: "It doesn't matter what kind of packet it comes in, it's the same dried eggs you've seen before." Close-up of tin of Ministry of Food eggs; it is joined by imported US dried egg in packet: "it's the same amount too". Other egg packets of different shapes and sizes join it. Each pack is "Equal to twelve eggs for one-and-nine" - contrasting shot of fresh eggs in straw labelled "1-3/4 each", and of woman holding up a tin of dried eggs in one hand and a basket of fresh ones in the other, with the sign "1/9". "Not bad eh?" [No. 26 "Dried Eggs 2" 31/8/1942 ?]

Full description

(Flash 9 - at 201 ft) Close-up of ration book. Commentator states that "The new points rationing period has tossed a few bargains into your lap". Middle-aged woman at a small, basic shop counter, looks up and then is given (across the counter) "Grade Three salmon" in a tin, which she drops it into her string bag) "...bumped down to eight points...Stewed steak..." another tin is dropped into the bag "...bumped down to 24. Home-produced meat roll - can't bump that - down to two." The meat roll is shown being wrapped in greaseproof paper; the woman smiles as she puts it into her bag carefully. "That's all." [No. 29 "Points Reduction" 21/9/1942 ?]

Full description

(Flash 10 - 231 ft) Close-up of military martinet screaming. Commentator asks: "Are you one of those who forgot to hand in that counterfoil last week?" Close-up of counterfoil being cut from ration book with scissors, then long shot of milkman leaving suburban flats and returning to his (horse-drawn ?) float "...Yes, the one for milk. If so, it'll be no good blaming the milkman if this happens" - a woman wearing scarf and overalls leaves the flats, indicating herself to the milkman, who looks at his book and shakes his head. "It may be a case of no counterfoil, no milk." [No. 31 "Milk Coupons" 5/10/1942 ?]

Full description

(Flash 11 - 258 ft) "We want this" - a bottle of milk put on a table - "to go where it's wanted. So before this weekend fill in the top part of page 23 of ration book, [illustrated by close-up of relevant pages] cut out the counterfoil and give it to your milkman... he'll give you a beautiful smile!" Shot of milkman (played by the actor who appears in Flash 7 above) being given a counterfoil, and then grinning horribly at the camera. [No. 31 "Milk Coupons" 5/10/1942 ?]

Full description

(Flash 12- 285 ft) A woman stands in a sweetshop, where a big "1lb" sign is on the scales. Commentator declares that "from this week the sweet ration is 3/4lb per 4 weeks" ('3/4 lb' sign is placed on the scales). Close-up of ration book: "coupons D now worth one point instead of two...but don't ask for 3 oz when they're 7-1/2 pence a quarter; you'll drive the poor shopkeeper to a ready-reckoner - or crazy!" (Old man in flat cap tries this; the shopkeeper, trying to calculate this, consults his ready-reckoner and scratches his head in despair.) [No. 33 "Personal Ration 2" 19/10/1942 ?]

Full description

(Flash 13 - 318 ft) Hands leaf through tear-off calendar, to where the date Sunday 18th October is ringed. "Two old friends turned up again last week. Here's one for you..." little girl runs towards camera over tree-lined common with a can of dried milk in each hand - double rations for the under-fives"...and here's another one...dried eggs". Woman holds up two tins of dried eggs. Cut to man standing up in cinema, shouting "...and 'ere's one for you - dry up!" [UNIDENTIFIED]

Full description

(Flash 14 - 344 ft) Camera pans past smiling faces in farmyard. "Here's the man who ploughed the field, and here's the girl who lifted the yield. Here's the man who deals with the clamp, so millions of jaws can chew and champ." Brief shot of NAAFI canteen. "That's the story and here's the star - Potato Pete. Eat up. Ta-ta!" Final shot of Pete, who closes his eyes at the end. [No. 27 "Potato Pete" 7/9/1942 ?]

Full description

(Flash 15 - 375 ft) "There - see that?" Knife slips off a stale loaf, which is put in the waste bin. "...There are more ways than one of wasting bread. Keeping it in an airtight crumby tin, for instance". An example of such a tin is shown, as is the correct way to store bread: "wrap it in a cloth so it can breathe. Take trouble with your bread, it's worth a lot of dough." [No. 38 "Waste Bread" 23/11/1942 ?]

Full description

(Flash 16 - 402 ft) "You go shopping for your rations without forgetting any" (shop keeper hands rations to woman with string bag) "then don't forget your share of these two" (tins of dried eggs and household milk). "One pays good dividends in taste" - burly man at table finishes his meal and grins - "the other comes in useful in case - this one". The man pours milk into his tea; brief close-up of tin of dried milk. [No. 45 "Dried Milk and Eggs" 11/1/1943 ?]

Full description

(Flash 17 - 432 ft) Speeded-up film of people waking down street - "It's quick, isn't it? Like a food flash". People walk pat National Savings office, including many women with prams. "...You can always get fuller food details from 'Food Facts' in the papers [example shown] and from the radio every morning at 8:15." Shot of clock (at 8:15) and calendar showing the date 14th December. "So look out."[No. 42 "Food Information" 21/12/1942 ?]

Full description

(Flash 18 - 458 ft) "Now here's a date for you" - a pretty young woman, dolled up - "No I'm sorry - this is the date I meant - December 14th - that's when you can get your dried eggs." Shot of calendar and tin of dried eggs. "And there's our other date - " the young woman steps out of a greengrocers and smiles at the camera, holding up a tin of dried eggs. Wolf whistle is heard as she skips away. [No. 41 "Dried Eggs No 3" 14/12/1942 ?]

Full description

(Flash 19 - 484 ft) "You add water to this [spent firework], you add water to this, too, I hope [White Horse whisky] but this - household milk - you add to water." A jugful is seen being made; "water first, then sprinkle with the powder". The milk is stirred "Catch on?" [No. 39 "Milk and Water" 30/11/1942 ?] (see COI 1229 for better quality copy).

Full description

(Flash 20 - 512 ft) "Good farming and good weather mean rotten fine grub. [Close-up of field of root crops.] There's more than two veg in this joint - [Covent Garden Market] - and we've got to eat them up. It's the fourth year of war and we're asked to eat more. Any complaints?" Family sits down to eat meal; all smile as the serving dishes are opened. [No. 49 "Covent Garden" 8/2/1943 ?]

Full description

(Flash 21 - 538 ft) "...fish, flat fish and round fish." Shots of fishmonger's shop; on display are various eels and flat fish: some are labelled 'Megrim' and 'Witch". "Never mind the odd names - if they're new to you, it's because the new zoning structure takes them to your town instead of another closer to where it's landed". Stock shots of Atlantic convoys, and shots of fish crates being unloaded from lorry. "This saves transport." Final close-up of box of fish. [No. 50 "Fish" 15/2/1943 ?]

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(Flash 22 - 567 ft) "You know him - [Potato Pete, this time an actual potato with a face added] - and you know this [sign saying 'Potato Plan']. It's a four-part plan [Pete is sliced into four labelled parts] all in Food Facts. And now five..." Hand holds up a leaflet saying "THIS is the food fact we must never forget! Your bread costs ships. Eat home-grown potatoes instead!" Using potatoes to make flour makes sense "and makes lovely grub" - a spread of foods (including jam tarts, puddings and cake) are shown on a table. [No. 51 "Potato Dishes" 22/2/1943 ?]

Full description

(Flash 23 - 598 ft) Hand reaches for a roll in a bread basket "Now wait a minute!" The hand stops - "thank you". Cut to woman cutting a loaf. "You too! Stop that! Don't start cutting bread when there's potatoes on the table!" Film reverses; the slice of bread re-unites with the loaf. cut to steaming dish of mashed potato. Help yourself... and you're helping to save ships too." [No. 54 "Eat More Potatoes" 15/3/1943 ?]

Full description

(Flash 24 - 625 ft) Long shot of a man walking past a restaurant. "At a lot of restaurants you'll see this [a poster advertising 'Victory Dishes'] and you'll see it at your restaurant or canteen if you ask for it". Close-up of finger pointing at menu: prices such as 'Green vegetables 3d, Curried Vegetables and rice 7d'. A Victory dish is "made from ship-saving foods - foods we grow at home". Shots of works canteen; girls smile for the camera. Two women study a menu. "That's right! So, next time, stop her [shot of middle-aged waitress] and try one!" Flash ends with 'V' logo. [No. 55 "Victory Dish" 29/3/1943 ?]

Full description

(Flash 25 - 657 ft) Harassed shopkeeper scratches his head and counts on his fingers. "This unhappy man has just been asked for the four hundredth time today 'How many points would I have left if...' Well, you can cut that out by cutting this out." Food facts column in newspaper; dates shown are April 4 - May 1. "So come on, Dad, what have you done with Mum's scissors?" [No. 56 "Help the Grocer" 5/4/1943 ?]

Full description

(Flash 26 - 691 ft) "This is one kind of waist you can get round [leering man, sitting on riverbank, puts his arm around girlfriend's waist] but this kind of waste [food being binned] you want to watch out for and avoid. Food doesn't grow in the shops, you know... try and think of ways to avoid waste". On a kitchen worktop, cabbage leaves are cut and put into a pan; final caption declares DON'T WASTE FOOD. [No. 60 "Waste" 3/5/1943 ?]

Full description

(Flash 27 - 721 ft) "There it goes [an enemy torpedo] and there goes one of our ships with tons of wheat inside [Montage of stock footage showing damaged ships and lifeboat in the Atlantic]. You can help save our ships - eat home grown potatoes instead of bread." [No. 46 "Bread Costs Lives No 1" 18/1/1943 ?]

Full description

(Flash 28 - 753) Montage of German film of Atlantic convoy under attack. "German raiders took these pictures and sank these ships, some of them carrying wheat. Help to save these ships by using potatoes instead of bread." [No. 47 "Bread Costs Lives No 2" 25/1/1943 ?]

Full description

(Flash 29 - 785 ft) "In weather like this [montage of footage of Atlantic convoys showing storms at sea], under attack from torpedoes and guns, come the wheatships. Some go down [merchant vessel blazes]. You can help to save the ships by eating food grown here; more potatoes, less bread." [No. 48 "Bread Costs Lives No 3" 1/2/1943 ?]

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