Outstanding panel from True Comics issue #47 (March 1946) showing a scene from the Trinity atomic bomb blast in New Mexico on July 16, 1945 (artist unknown). Less than one month after this successful detonation, the United States dropped atomic bombs on Nagasaki and Hiroshima, Japan. With this test, the Atomic Age began.
I wasn't around to witness the fallout -- no pun intended -- of the Soviet Union's detonation of Tsar Bomba on October 30, 1961. It was and still is the biggest test of a nuclear weapon, in terms of explosive yield. It packed a destructive force approximately 1,400 times the combined power of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki atom bombs. Needless to say, America was a little spooked. So in its November 10, 1961 issue, Life magazine ran a story on the bomb, and a companion piece on nuclear fallout. To demonstrate the effect of radiation on a human body, a plastic skeleton partially filled with fluorescent fluid was used. Here's the photo of the dummy used in the article: As the article explains, [the] thyroid gland in neck becomes a repository of iodine 131. Strontium 90 lodges in th
Here's a totally fascinating and somewhat disturbing image from the early days of the Atomic Age and the Cold War (click for a larger copy). As you might be able to guess, this is a family nuclear fallout shelter, made out of steel and full of all the home comforts of 1950. I spot two board games -- Life and Chutes & Ladders, a Reader's Digest book, a box of macaroni dinner, a block of Velveeta, some Ajax cleaner, and assorted other sundries. Why, in the event the Soviet Union ever drops the Big One I would expect to live comfortably in this thing for at least a week before going insane. (Source -- National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center) Related articles July 16, 1945: Trinity Blast Opens Atomic Age (wired.com) Dinosaurs of the Atomic Age! (
Here's what I remember about Godzilla -- a guy wearing a rubber suit fought another guy wearing a rubber suit, or maybe a fake monster suspended on some wires. There was a lot of really earnest-looking Japanese actors moving their mouths, but instead I heard really melodramatic English voices. In some of the movies, Godzilla was even a good guy of sorts, to the point that little kids were sad to see him go at the end of the film. I knew all about the subtext for Godzilla, which is that he was some kind of symbol for the anxieties of the Japanese over atomic bombs and radiation. But to me, very little separated Godzilla movies from American-written, period movie monster fare like Them! or The Day of the Triffids. I mean, who hasn't had a little fun yelling "Gozirraaaa!" while mimicking b...