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The Daily Need

Blasts from the propaganda past

Children cowering under desks! Cartoon atoms! Tricked-out shelters! The awesome power of the nuclear bomb, the towering promise of the nuclear reactor — in researching tonight’s report on radioactive waste storage, we came across some blasts from the propaganda past:

This little gem was funded by General Electric — a company with admitted interests in promoting the super exciting fantastic phenomenon of nuclear power! Said their vice president of public relations: “I would be naive, indeed, if I suggested that these presentations of General Electric’s did not have a particular point of view. But I believe that the point of view that our free enterprise system is the best economic system ever devised is so compelling that it deserves the strongest possible presentation.” According to the National Film Preservation Foundation, “A is for Atom” was seen by more than 12 million people in its first three years of release.

Fallout Shelter Handbook (1962)
“Card playing is a pastime that can easily occupy the whole family.” For the tens of thousands of years that fallout will irradiate the land above you.

Gilbert U-238 Atomic Energy Lab (1950-1951)
Contents include: Geiger-Mueller Counter; alpha, beta and gamma radiation sources; radioactive ores; and a government manual, “Prospecting for Uranium” Fun for kids of all ages!

Excerpt from If the Bomb Falls (1961)
Side 2 of this LP provided a shopping list of must-haves when attempting to survive a nuclear Armageddon. Matches, extra batteries and … “some tranquilizers to ease the strain and monotony of life in a shelter. A bottle of 100 should be adequate for a family of four. Tranquilizers are not a narcotic and are not habit forming. Ask your doctor for his recommendation.”

For more, check out the great online resources at Oak Ridge Associated Universities (ORAU) Health Physics Historical Instrumentation Museum Collection and Conelrad.

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