Found Item: Paper Prop

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Sr Member
This is my first “found item” post to the RPF. The item may well have been posted here before, but I figure that it will still be new for a lot of members (as it is for me), so here goes.

I first saw Silent Running during its original theatrical run in 1972. I saw it at a drive-in with my dad, which (apart from the virtues of the film itself) is one reason that the picture has always had a special place in my memories.

A couple of months ago, I saw the DVD on the shelf in a local video store and bought it on impulse.

IÂ’ve watched it several times since then. Having it on DVD has allowed me to pore over the film as never before. IÂ’m sure you all know what IÂ’m talking about. :)

Anyway, there’s a montage, set to the song Silent Running sung by Joan Baez, right after the scene in which Lowell teaches Huey and Dewey to plant a tree. At one point in this montage, we see Lowell in his cabin, looking wistfully at the “Conservation Pledge” taped to the wall beside his bunk. He reaches out his fingertips to touch the Pledge.


Later in the same montage we see him in his bunk sewing a Saturn patch to his robe, with the Conservation Pledge on the wall in the background of the shot.


Anybody who knows the film will remember the Conservation Pledge as a pretty good summary not only of what makes Freeman LowellÂ’s character tick, but also of the film's theme in general.

Inspired by the great “free paper prop” thread that has been going strong on the RPF for weeks, I wondered if I might be able to come up with an accurate version of the Conservation Pledge to post here. I froze the DVD frame on a close shot of the Pledge and got my first really good look at it. When I noticed Smokey the Bear in the lower left corner, I realized that the Conservation Pledge was very likely a found item.

One eBay auction and several days later, this arrived in the mail:


Strictly speaking, this is not an exact duplicate of the screen-used Pledge, because the copyright notice on mine says “1982,” which was ten years after Silent Running was released. But, of course, the copyright date never appears onscreen. For all practical purposes, this looks to me like an identical and authentic copy of the Conservation Pledge used in the film. Framed together with a screen cap or two, I think it would make a nice display.

As a bonus, the flipside of the Conservation Pledge has the music and lyrics to “Smokey the Bear,” by Steve Nelson and Jack Rollins. There’s a scene in the film in which, lonely and bored, Lowell amuses himself by singing into an oscilloscope: “You can take a tip from Smokey that there’s nothing like a tree...”


Yup, that song is “Smokey the Bear.”


I plan to scan this item (have to come up with a scanner first :$) and post it to the free paper props thread within a few days. In the meantime, if you want one, rather than printing one up, you might do as well or better to look for an authentic one off of eBay. If your timing is right, you can get a real one for 99 cents plus postage, and there seems to be no shortage of supply.

Many thanks to phase pistol for the screen caps. :D

{EDIT} PDF files posted for reference. :)

Conservation Pledge (front)

Conservation Pledge (back)

Thanks to FMC for hosting. :thumbsup

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Prop Runner

Sr Member
VERY cool find - Silent Running is one of my favorite movies and first sci-fi films. I saw Joan Baez in college and screamed at the top of my lungs during the concert breaks to get her to sing the theme song from the movie. Well, she did. :D

And a couple of years ago I became acquainted with her tour manager, who lives nearby, and he burned me a bootleg DVD of the movie's soundtrack LP. :p

So thanks for the walk down memory lane and here you go for your initiative:


- Gabe


Sr Member
Originally posted by Prop Runner@Mar 10 2006, 07:27 PM

Gabe: Two firsts for me in one day.

As I have a great deal of respect for your work, receiving the coveted Prop Runner Seal of Approval is quite a thrill for me. :D :$ :D

(Okay, I admit it. I quoted the Seal in my response just so I could see it again.)

Hearing Joan Baez sing Silent Running live must have been amazing. I've played that part of the DVD over and over just to listen to the song. The lyrics are an intriguing mixture of elation and sorrow. I never really noticed until I got the DVD and was able to hear the song repeatedly.

Thanks for sharing your Joan Baez story... and thanks again for the honor of the Seal.

-- Gary

{EDIT} What were the conditions at the venue where you heard her perform? Do you think she sang Silent Running in response to YOUR screams in particular? How cool would that be.


Sr Member
Originally posted by SurferGeek@Mar 10 2006, 11:34 PM
Sorry temponaut... I found that last year.
That's cool, SurferGeek. No need to be sorry.

Unless it means I lose my Prop Runner Seal of Approval. :D

{EDIT} Just checked out your old thread. I'm a little surprised that it got so few responses. I would have thought Silent Running had more fans on the RPF. :confused

P.S. Did you already post this prop to the "free paper prop" thread? If so, I won't repeat the post. It will save me the trouble of finding a scanner. :)

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division 6

Master Member
I'd be interested in clean scans of it, both sides.

I bet I had some of those when I was a kid.
Back in the 60 - 70's they always has a wild life presentation in school, in Ca at least.
There was also a lot of this sort of thing in the parks.



Sr Member
Originally posted by turok96@Mar 11 2006, 07:20 PM
That is a cool find indeed, I'm starting to like these paper props, hardly expensive and easy to frame. :D
You said it. Cheap and good. What's not to like? :D

Some RPF members have been using "two-sided" frames, which look good from both front and back, to set up their displays. The frames sandwich the prop between two clear panes so that it can be viewed easily from either side. Great idea for displaying props that have images on both faces.

I've got a lead on a scanner now and expect to have the Conservation Pledge in the "Free Paper Props" thread within a couple of days. :)


Legendary Member
Man this thread brings back memories.

I saw Silent Running on its first release and remember the seeing Pledge

but what really has jogged my memory is the Smokey The Bear lyrics you posted.

I had an exact copy of those and I have not seen or thought about those since, well, for many years. :lol

Thanks for the trip down memory lane temponaut. :)


Sr Member
Sorry about the delay.

I've got the front and back of the Conservation Pledge prop scanned now.

The only thing is, it's a PDF file. When I tried to upload it, I got a warning message saying that PDFs are not allowable.

Same thing at Wackychimp.

Any suggestions?


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Sr Member
Prop Runner to the rescue yet again. :D

Thanks for the great link, Gabe. That's a terrific service that FMC of the Blaster Builders Club is offering... inspired by our own Wackychimp. :thumbsup

And now, thanks to the above model citizens, I am happy to announce that PDF files of the Conservation Pledge are available for the reference of the RPF. Please see the end of Post #01.

Enjoy. :)

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