The Real Story Behind “Keep Calm and Carry On”

Keep Calm and Carry On.  It’s on everything–posters, mousepads, coffee mugs, sorority mixer shirts, campaign posters, Target ads.  The original poster was British war propaganda:


Once this meme took off, we saw it reversed:

calm panic

Merged with other memes:

calm grumpy cat

Turned into bad puns:

calm carrie

calm kansas

And used to make fun of the Cubs:

calm cubs

The Star Wars geeks got hold of it:

calm yoda

And the “Big Bang” theorists:

calm kitty

And the people who hate Christmas trees?:

calm christmas


Until we all agreed that it was kind of DONE: (dead horse)

calm dead horse

Have you ever heard the story behind the original poster?  We associate it now with Britain in WWII, standing against the Nazi onlslaught–but this poster was never circulated to the people of England.  It was a secret weapon, only to be deployed in the event of utmost distress.  Watch this video to learn the true story behind the lost poster and  the couple who rescued it from the forgetfulness of time.

Keep Calm and Carry On from Studiocanoe on Vimeo.

7 thoughts on “The Real Story Behind “Keep Calm and Carry On”

  1. debrahelwig

    This is the sort of stuff I adore – knowing where things come from and a sense of the history. So very wonderful how some things come to light at just the right moment.

  2. Chris

    Great bit of history. Also want to check out vimeo and studiocanoe, but if I have to get any more passwords, i’m going to be looking for one of those password keeping apps. I got hacked once and had to change everything. Nightmare. I’m in a bad mood, too, because I went back to Sound and the Fury to read the last half. I want to scream. I’m going to get one of those high school yellow cheat books to see what I’m reading. Can we trade? I’li read Rachel’s book again and you read Furry.

    1. Baddest Mother Ever

      I think the patient is a teeeeeeeensy bit cranky this morning. But S&F should be read with guidance–cheat sheets are a great idea! I read the Cliffs Notes before I attempted Ulysses for the first time and I think it made all the difference.

  3. Mary-Helen Clark

    What an interesting fact! I have always seen it as part of that stupid website “The Chive” and thought it was a douchebag thing. Nice to know it’s an interesting part of history! Thanks for sharing this with us!


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