In one of the opening scenes of Dr. Strangelove general Turgidson says to colonel Puntridge on the phone:

You better give Elmo and Charlie a blast, and bump everything up to Condition Red and stand by the blower.

What does he actually mean by this sentence? Is Elmo the character from 'Sesame street'? Is he saying that the colonel should watch an episode of the show?

Please bear in mind that I am not American and never watched that show.

  • 2
    Dr Strangelove: 1964. Sesame Street: 1969 to present. Elmo’s first appearance: 1980 Dec 13 '19 at 3:09
  • Weird. The quote seems to be all over the net, yet no one seems to have even wondered who Elmo and Charlie were.
    – JollyJoker
    Dec 13 '19 at 10:55

This means, “Notify Elmo and Charlie by telephone, move to condition Red and wait by the phone.”

We don’t find out who Elmo and Charlie are because it is not relevant to the plot. But given the 1964 release date of Dr Strangelove is 16 years before the Sesame Street character Elmo was introduced, there is no way it is referring to that Elmo.

  • Probably codenames. Charlie is the usual spelling alphabet for C, but I don't think anyone was officially using Elmo for E. In the '60s it would've been Easy.
    – OrangeDog
    Dec 13 '19 at 11:22
  • I would say “possibly” rather than “probably.” It isn’t clear why he would use codenames instead of real names.” Dec 13 '19 at 11:24
  • Because you don't use real names in military communication.
    – OrangeDog
    Dec 13 '19 at 11:25
  • Ok. I was worried I was missing an obvious cultural reference here.
    – VM4
    Dec 13 '19 at 11:58
  • 2
    You would be wise to wait at least a day before accepting an answer. Someone could easily present one better than mine today; North America is just waking up now and the movie has a lot of fans here. Dec 13 '19 at 12:00

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