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Keep Calm and Carry On, The Story: VIDEO


A brilliant mini-documentary on the famous 'Keep Calm and Carry On' World War II poster, which has become one of the most iconic images of the 21st century after being rediscovered in a second-hand bookshop in 2000.


(via the daily what)

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  1. Nice. Never heard of the poster, but I love it. Guess it's only iconic on the east side of the pond. I want one. Surprised they didn't use it during the blitz.

    Posted by: jim | Mar 7, 2012 1:37:01 PM

  2. Nice

    Posted by: Alan | Mar 7, 2012 1:40:34 PM

  3. Great words for any time or people. And what a bookstore. Where? I want to go there.

    Posted by: uffda | Mar 7, 2012 1:56:47 PM

  4. Oh no, I knew about this poster. It's fantastic. And it's amazing how many times we have to remind ourselves to do just that, whether the Luftwaffe are dropping incendiaries on us at the time or not! :)

    Posted by: The Milkman | Mar 7, 2012 2:06:33 PM

  5. I have a "keep calm and carry on" coffee mug, it's my favorite. One of the guys I work with is from the UK, he gave it to me last Christmas.

    Posted by: fred | Mar 7, 2012 2:10:43 PM

  6. For those interested, this poster (unframed) and a coffee mug (or beaker as the Brit's call them) are both available for sale via the Barter Books UK website. The poster is about $5.69 US and the mug just under $10 I believe, plus S&H of course. There are other WWII era posters and mugs available, and of course a variety of books.

    I plan to order both a poster and a mug, since I really think I need that reminder expressed to me almost daily.

    Thanks for the story behind the icon.

    Posted by: Bob R | Mar 7, 2012 2:56:48 PM

  7. @Jim, not saying you're out of touch but it's iconic in most of the Commonwealth Countries (Australia, Canada, etc) and it's iconic in parts of LA, NYC, and Seattle where expats or hipsters live. So more than just the "east-side of the pond"

    Posted by: unruly | Mar 7, 2012 2:57:16 PM

  8. I've had that poster hanging in my apartment for a few years. The statement never gets old.

    Posted by: Brian | Mar 7, 2012 3:09:22 PM

  9. I have a poster in my home office, a coffee mug, a "KC&CO" bookmark hanging over my desk, notecards, and, recently, a friend gave me a "KC&CO" notepad.

    Of course, I keep my "Freak Out and Throw Things" notecards close by just in case :)

    Seriously, I learned about this some years ago from Andrew Sullivan and have found it to a helpful motto. I kept repeating to myself when Prop 8 passed.

    Posted by: jpeckjr | Mar 7, 2012 3:20:04 PM

  10. This is such a very British sentiment. Love it.

    Posted by: Jim | Mar 7, 2012 3:22:54 PM

  11. Hey Unruly, you're right, I'm def out of touch with what's iconic in the Commonwealth, sadly. Stuck in the midwest here (but hey, at least Santorum didn't win Ohio yesterday), haven't even made it up to Toronto in over a decade. I did have a couple of dates with a Brit here, a few years ago, but don't recall seeing the poster in his apt. ;) I do love it tho, as the other Jim said, "such a very British sentiment," and will definitely be ordering one.

    Posted by: jim | Mar 7, 2012 3:32:50 PM

  12. Anyone know who gets the royalties for this? If it's the bookstore,
    they must be making millions in royalty payments.

    Posted by: gr8guyca | Mar 7, 2012 4:31:37 PM

  13. Completely agree that this is utterly British. The attitude of "just get on with it". The American equivalent would be "freak out/get offended/have a public meltdown and sue someone".

    Posted by: Alex | Mar 7, 2012 4:43:26 PM

  14. @GR8GUYCA -- when they found the poster in 1999 it was more than 50 years old and was in the public domain--that's why Barter's was able to make copies and sell it originally. I am sure they make money on the mugs, posters, and other paraphernalia they sell, but it's not in the form of royalties, just profit on the merchandise. Lots of other companies are using the image--I have a KC & CO skin on my iPhone made by GelaSkins.

    Posted by: Dev | Mar 7, 2012 4:48:10 PM

  15. if you're ever in northumberland, visit alnwick, home of alnwick castle (which was a stand in for the exterior and interior of hogwarts in the first films and stuffed with great art) and a few minutes away this charming bookstore, maybe my favorite. i was only able to go once, but i remember it fondly.

    Posted by: rouquinricain | Mar 7, 2012 4:48:32 PM

  16. Can I just say as a Brit - we don't call them beakers, we call them mugs.

    Posted by: Den | Mar 7, 2012 5:09:23 PM

  17. Just wanted to back Den on this. I'm British too and we definitely say coffee mugs. Beakers are used in laboratories.

    Posted by: Paul | Mar 7, 2012 7:01:59 PM

  18. It is not just British anymore. I have adopted it as my personal mantra and I am an American living in Baltimore, Maryland.

    Posted by: Sean | Mar 7, 2012 7:12:06 PM

  19. God, I miss bookstores.

    Posted by: bcarter3 | Mar 7, 2012 7:14:13 PM

  20. Last fall, when our beloved quarterback Peyton Manning was not allowed to play with the Colts due to major neck fusion surgery, they brought in another quarterback named Kerry Collins. For about a hot minute. He lost game after game, adding to our frustration and reminding us how far we had fallen from the glory days of Peyton. One day, "Keep Calm and Kerry On" posters (exactly same design, but with Kerry's name) popped up all over town mysteriously. Trying to convince us to get behind the new guy and move on from Peyton, I guess. Didn't work. Kerry continued to suck, Peyton didn't recover in time to play last season, and the Colts finished dead last in our division. And today, Peyton was released as the ultimate sad chapter has finally played out in the saga. Keep Calm and Kerry on, indeed. Ha!

    Posted by: Indy Bill | Mar 7, 2012 9:45:37 PM

  21. What a charming bunch of posts! As for the American equivalent it would be something like these many good choices which have been so often well used: get over it, get used to it, move on, take it easy, easy does it, simmer down, calm down, and in Seattle (the kinda stupid) "keep clam."

    Posted by: uffda | Mar 8, 2012 2:59:03 AM

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