If an A-Bomb Falls… Will You Know What to Do?


If An A-Bomb Falls was an 8-page Instructional comic published in 1951 (see comic pages below). It is in the public domain and can also be viewed on-line at various sites like Archive.org. Summary from My Comic Shop: “If an A Bomb Falls… Will You Know What to Do? (1951), published by Commercial Comics. 8 pages, full color, standard comic book dimensions, all newsprint, no cover price. This promotional educational giveaway comic book describes what to do in the event of an atomic blast. Includes: 1) How important it is to know the signals of an impending atomic attack; 2) The meaning of the different tones of air raid sirens; 3) What to do if you are attacked without warning ; 4) How to react to the brilliant flash of an atomic explosion; 5) How to find the safest place in your home; 6) The equipment you need for a home safety and emergency kit; 7) How to store a good supply of canned goods and water for extended sheltering; 8) How to prepare for an attack if you have advance warning How to seek protection from an impending attack; 9) Remembering to keep calm to stifle panic during an attack ; 10) How people caught outdoors will suffer the greatest casualties; 11) What to do if you are on a car, bus, or train during an attack; 12) How the worst danger from atomic attack is radiation in the air and water; and 13) How to decontaminate yourself if you think you have been exposed to radioactive dust or mist. The back cover features a chart showing the number of deaths and the number of injured people that can be projected if an A-bomb explodes in a populated area.” Additional pages below from Ethan Persoff.

The H-Bomb and You was an educational 16-page comic published by the government in 1954. Page #1 reproduced below from Ethan Persoff. We’ll take a closer look at what these educational comics tell us about the era in the future.


Sometimes You Just Need A Counterspy Outfit

Official U.N.C.L.E. Counterspy Outfit Packaging

Official U.N.C.L.E. Counterspy Outfit Packaging

The Marx 1966 Man From U.N.C.L.E. Counterspy Outfit had it all. Check out this elaborate store display up for auction at Hake’s.

U.N.C.L.E. Counter Espionage Oufit Store Display

The Official Man From U.N.C.L.E. Counter Espionage Outfit Store

The Special Equipment: handcuffs, a bullet shooting lighter, a nerve spray camera, a cool walkie talkie, a bullet shooting knife, a flat hand grenade, and ammunition.

Special Equipment

Sometimes you need Special Equipment

The Disguise Kit includes: an eye patch, makeup, eye glasses, mustaches, two beards, and a badge case (just in case you need to show your real identity).

Sometime you need to change identity...

Sometimes you need to change identity


The All Purpose Gun includes: a missile grenade, a scope, a silencer, a sonic pistol, a barrel extension, and a stock extension.

You always need a good gun...

You always need a good gun

And, of course, what self-respecting counterspy would leave home without the obligatory attache case?

The Weatherproof Trench Coat With Secret Pockets includes a Special Squirting Button for creative use.

So there ya' have it - you're dressed for any mission.

So there ya’ have it – you are dressed and equipped for any mission.

When ‘Duck & Cover’ Isn’t Enough – Harold Tifft’s ‘Portable Shield’


Incredibly strange, but oddly sensible, Cold War shelter invention: Patent images for Harold C. Tifft’s ‘Portable Shield’ originally filed on 17 April 1956.


Fig. l is a perspective view of one form of such a shield when in use by a wearer; Fig. 2 is a side view of the shield shown in Fig. 1; Fig. 8 is a front detailed view of face protective means which may form a part of the shield of this invention.


Fig. 4 is a front perspective view of a second possible embodiment of the shield of this invention Patent ice Fig. 5 is a perspective view of the embodiment shown in Fig. 4, showing how the several sections can be telescoped together; Fig. 6 is a view in perspective of a carrying case with the handle for the head section extending through the cover thereof.


Fig. 7 is an illustration showing how the shields of this invention would actually be put to use in vertical and horizontal positions during times of danger.

The bottom image shows two possible positions for the wearer: face first flush against the wall, or face first flush against the ground (or floor).

The main object of this invention is to provide a portable shield which will serve to guard the human body from the injurious or lethal effects of a nuclear explosion.

A second object of this invention is to provide a portable shield against nuclear explosions which can be easily and quickly placed around a considerable portion of the human body.

Another object of this invention is to provide a shield which can be adjusted so that it will substantially cover the entire body of the wearer, regardless of whether the wearer is in a standing, sitting or reclining position.

A further object of this invention is to provide a shield for the body which, in addition to being portable, also can be readily adjusted by the wearer so as to permit him to run from one place to another and yet still have a substantial measure of protection on the upper portion of his body.

(Complete patent available at Google Patents)

The Classic Sound Of The Cold War – Brought To You By Chrysler


What you hear at the start of this video is the sound of a Chrysler FirePower Hemi V8 engine start and rev-up. Afterwards comes the old familiar wail of the cold war nuclear attack warning.

Its six horns were each 3 feet (0.9 m) long. The siren could be heard from a distance of 20 to 25 miles (32 to 40 km) away and had an output of 138 dBC (30,000) watts. They were 12 feet (3.7 m) long, built atop a quarter section of a Dodge truck chassis rail, and weighed an estimated 3 short tons (2.7 t).

The main purpose of the [‘Big Red Whistle’] siren was to warn the public in the event of a nuclear attack by the Soviets, during the Cold War. The operator’s job was to start the engine and bring it up to operating speed, then to pull and release the transmission handle to start the wailing signal generation. The Chrysler air raid siren produced the loudest sound ever achieved by an air raid siren. – SuzukiBlaze

When the Chrysler Air Raid Sirens were being retired during the 1970’s a number of car enthusiasts sought out the Hemi V8s for use in bracket racing and street rods.

Get To Know Your Nukes – It’s Fun And Easy With The 2013 Monogram USA/USSR Missile Set

Monogram USA/USSR Missile Model Set Box Cover

Monogram USA/USSR Missile Model Set Box Cover – 2013 reissue of the 1985 Cold War Edition

They’re out-of-sight and out-of-mind these days but they’re still ready to do business when called. Yes, those Cold War classics, the U.S.A./U.S.S.R. nuclear missile collections, are still as relevant today as they were in the 20th century. Perhaps you’re part of the younger set who have no Cold War experience – the olden days of paranoia, crazy ideas like bomb shelters, and all that laughable stuff like ‘duck and cover.’ Yep, today we know that there’s not much to do in ‘the event’ and who would want to survive that stuff anyway? When we hear the clarion call of enemy missiles on the way, we’ll just climb up the highest hill, get a little drunk or high or both, and watch the freaky show as we evaporate into the All.

But wouldn’t it be fun to impress your friends and/or family during those last couple of hours or minutes? You can by knowing your nukes! Learning is fun and easy with the Monogram U.S.A./U.S.S.R. Missile set! The 2013 U.S.A./U.S.S.R. Missile Set is a reissue of the 1985 Cold War edition released shortly before the collapse of the Soviet Union. The name may have changed, but those missile classics remain in the attentive care of the Russian Federation.

1985 Monogram U.S. and U.S.S.R. Missile Display Kit Box Cover

1985 Monogram U.S. and U.S.S.R. Missile Display Kit Box Cover

As you build each model you’ll become familiar with the different size, shape, and look of each explosive missile. For the U.S. you get the mighty Titan II, the stylish Minuteman III, and the awesomely ironic Peacemaker, as well as the Pershing II. But that’s not all! There’s the sea-launched Polaris A3, Poseidon, and Trident. A pair of cruise missiles are also included – the ALCM (Air Launched Cruise Missile) and the sea-launched Tomahawk.

The U.S.A. Collection of Nine Nuclear Missiles

The U.S.A. Collection of Nine Nuclear Missiles

The Soviet set name classifications are a hoot. They include the US Department of Defense designations, consisting of ‘SS’ and a NATO codename. You get the massive SS-18 Satan, SS-4 Sandal, the stylish SS-13 Savage, the SS-17 Spanker, the SS-19 Stiletto, and the stubby SS-20 Saber. The sea-launched missiles include the SS-N-8 Sawfly, the SS-N-17 Snipe, and the SS-N-18 Stingray. And finally, you also get the classically designed air-launched AS-6 Kingfish.

The U.S.S.R. Missile Collection

The U.S.S.R. Collection Of Eleven Nuclear Missiles

If you’ve never worked with models before you’ll find that these missiles are fairly easy to construct with most consisting of only two halves and 45 pieces in all. Included with your kit you get a decal sheet to give those missiles an authentic touch, and a display base to show off your handiwork – this also makes for a nice quick-glance study guide.

The 2013 Monogram U.S.A./U.S.S.R. Missile Display Kit Components

The 2013 Monogram U.S.A./U.S.S.R. Missile Display Set Components

So there you have it! The 2013 Monogram U.S.A./U.S.S.R. Missile Display Set – The Fun Way To Get To Know Your Nukes!

The Complete 2013 Monogram USA/USSR Missile Display

The Complete 2013 Monogram USA/USSR Missile Display

Images via Scale Model News. H/T to Luis Cesar at Atompunk brasil on Facebook.

Seven Minutes Of Terror, or How Ed Sullivan Sent A Shock Wave Across America


From 1948 until 1971, Sunday nights were vaudeville nights on televisions across the U.S.. For twenty-three years Americans tuned in to CBS for Ed Sullivan’s ‘really big shooo…‘ From circus acts to ballet dancers, from ventriloquists to opera singers, from Elvis Presley and the Supremes, to the Beatles and The Doors, from classic vaudevillians to Broadway musicals, The Ed Sullivan Show meant variety.

Still, no one was prepared for the night of May 27, 1956. Scheduled to appear on the show were entertainment favorites like singer Kate Smith, and ventriloquist Senor Wences, as well as The Haslevs (tumblers & trampoline artists). Pretty normal fair for Sunday night – it would turn out to be anything but.

A Short Vision human meltdown.

… I’m gonna tell you if you have youngsters in the living room tell them not to be alarmed at this ‘cause it’s a fantasy, the whole thing is animated…It is grim, but I think we can all stand it to realize that in war there is no winner. – Ed Sullivan, 27 May 1956

After referencing the first test drop of an H-bomb the week previous, and giving a subtle hint of what was to come to the parents who might have been viewing the show with their children, Sullivan introduced the animated short film, A Short Vision. The live television audience were then shown the horrific vision of a nuclear apocalypse created by husband and wife team, Peter and Joan Folde:

A Short Vision (1956) | BFI National Archives

Needless to say, the airing of the film sent a shock wave across the country. The next morning the news and entertainment media enthusiastically covered the event and the reactions from the public. The New York World-Telegram and Sun reported that, (f)or some it was ‘seven minutes of terror.’ For others it was ‘the best piece of anti-war propaganda ever shown.’

With how tightly television is controlled these days, it’s highly unlikely that such a stunning surprise would ever be allowed to jump out at viewers today. The images played over and over again on September 11, 2001 were/are indeed ghastly, but that event was an unpredicted disaster. What occurred during The Ed Sullivan Show in May of 1956 was a grim warning about the all too predictable horror and destruction that awaits the world with the release of that Thing.

To Look A Demon In The Eye: Nuclear Tests and Rapatronic Imaging


For the early nuclear weapons scientists, being able to observe the rapidly changing matter in nuclear explosions was vital to their understanding of the phenomena and the effects. Several aspects of the blast (e.g. the blinding light, the speed of the nuclear reaction in the bomb, and the need to be miles away from the detonation) made it very difficult to capture the initial stages on film.

In 1947 the Atomic Energy Commission contracted innovative photographic engineer Harold ‘Doc’ Edgerton and two colleagues, Kenneth Germeshausen and Herbert Grier – their mission, improve imaging results.

By 1950 EG&G, Inc. had invented a device capable of capturing images from the fleeting instant directly following a nuclear explosion. Enter the rapatronic (for Rapid Action Electronic) shutter – a shutter with no moving parts that could be opened and closed by turning a magnetic field on and off.

Magneto-optic shutter, for micro-second photography (e.g. Rapatronic camera); 1952

Magneto-optic shutter, for micro-second photography (i.e. Rapatronic camera), 1952 – Photograph via Edgerton Digital Collections (cc)

The single-use rapatronic cameras were able to snap a photo one millisecond after detonation – at times even less – from about seven miles away. The duration of the exposure was as little as two microseconds.

The resulting images were eerie and fascinating.

This is an image of a 'shot cab' - the housing at the top of the tower that contains the explosive device.

This is an image of a ‘shot cab’ – the housing at the top of the tower that contains the explosive device. (Photo via Edgerton Digital Collections)

This is a rapatronic image of a at the moment of atomic bomb explosion. The cab appears to be fluorescing with X-Ray energy making it transparent. (Taken at Eniwetok, ca. 1952)

This is a rapatronic image of a ‘shot cab’ at the moment of an atomic bomb explosion. The cab appears to be fluorescing with X-Ray energy making it transparent. Blogger James Vaughn at ATOMIC-ANNIHILATION made this comment: …the most prominent feature is in the middle-upper (left) which looks like a giant friggin’ eye! Is that the ‘device’ caught in some weird moment of percolating itself into and out of existence before it becomes an … atomic explosion?  (Photo via Edgerton Digital Collections, taken at Eniwetok, c. 1952)

The explosion of  Boltzmann (30 K) during Operation Plumbbomb.

The detonation of Boltzmann (12 kt)) during Operation Plumbbob – 28 May 1957. In this rapatronic image the spikes below the fireball are the shot tower support cables vaporizing as they absorb thermal radiation – known as the ‘rope trick’ effect. (Photo via sonicbomb)

Operation Plumbbomb's Priscilla Detonation Image

The detonation of Priscilla (37 kt) during Operation Plumbbob – 24 June 1957. Instead of being housed in a shot cab, the Priscilla device was held 700 feet aloft by a balloon with steel cable mooring. This rapatronic image captures the burst of explosive and thermal energy equivalent to 37.000 tons of TNT. The ‘rope trick’ spikes are prominent and dramatic. The spots are fragments of the bomb casing ‘splashing’ against the inside of the expanding shock front. (Photo via sonicbomb)

The detonation of How (14kt) during Operation Tumbler-Snapper - 5 June 1952.

The detonation of How (14 kt) during Operation Tumbler-Snapper – 5 June 1952. This rapatronic image captures the expanding plasma ball in all its monstrous majesty. The heat generated through the ‘rope trick’ effect caused the desert floor to turn to glass. (Photo via sonicbomb)

The detonation of How (14kt) during Operation Tumbler-Snapper - 5 June 1952. In another millionth of a second after the previous rapatronic image, a planet of fire exists,  silhouetting and dwarfing the Joshua Trees.

The detonation of How (14 kt) during Operation Tumbler-Snapper – 5 June 1952. A millisecond after the previous image, another rapatronic captures a different picture of the detonation. A globe of fire emerges. The Joshua trees silhouetted at the base of the rapidly expanding explosion will quickly be engulfed by the shock and heat waves and incinerated. (Photo via sonicbomb)

The detonation of Mohawk (360 kt) during Operation Redwing - 3 July 1956.

The detonation of Mohawk (360 kt) during Operation Redwing – 3 July 1956. The thermonuclear Mohawk was a more powerful device than the above three combined. This rapatronic image captures the burst of explosive and thermal energy equivalent to 360.000 tons of TNT. The cloud rose to 65,000ft/~20km. The plasma colossus resembles some sort of strange living organism. (Photo via AtomCentral)

The Mohawk detonation heavily contaminated the island (of Eberiru /Ruby) and strong radiation was detected on the north end of the (Enewetak) atoll, strong enough to fog the film of photographs taken by aircraft in the area. Recovery operations were delayed for several days as a result of the high radiation levels.  – sonicbomb

With the assistance of EG&G’s rapatronic shutter the scientists studying the Mohawk blast were able to clearly see the embryonic demon that was unleashed that day. The experiments continued on with the discharge of devices even more powerful. The scientists had become like wizards, charmed by their own sorcery.