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Posts Tagged ‘LIFE’

  1. Soviet Cosmocritters

    November 4, 2011 by The Belated Nerd

    In 1961 the Soviet Academy of Sciences held a news conference in Moscow to display an assortment of animals that the USSR had launched into space and safely returned to Earth. Space-faring dogs, mice, rats, and guinea pigs were put on display; the rabbits and various insects that flew the previous year were unable to attend.


  2. The Three Eyed TV Monster

    October 28, 2011 by The Belated Nerd

    In 1961, Chicago TV pioneer Ulises Sanabria tested the market for a three-screen television with a photo spread in LIFE magazine. I suppose the advantage it had over simply owning three individual TVs in different rooms of the house is that it kept the family together – at least, physically. A hi-fi record player is concealed behind the center speaker panel. Apparently, it was inconceivable that two or more members of a family would want to listen to different records at the same time.


  3. Mobot the Magnificent Mobile Robot

    October 20, 2011 by The Belated Nerd

    In 1961, the Hughes Aircraft Electronic Labs introduced the world to Mobot the Magnificent Mobile Robot. Mobot had about the same mass as all of the appliances in your kitchen combined (assuming you owned two refrigerators) and was designed to automate tiresome household tasks like zipping a dress or doing your nails. The only drawback was that  an on-staff PhD in electrical engineering had to be sitting behind a nearby control board to make it work.

    I wonder if Ed Emshwiller’s illustration for the January, 1955 cover of Galaxy Science Fiction was an inspiration for this wildly impractical household appliance.

    Whenever I’m short on ideas for this blog, I can always count on the  LIFE photo archive hosted by Google.


  4. Gimme Shelter!

    September 8, 2011 by The Belated Nerd

    Soviet spacemen were flying overhead. The Berlin Wall had just gone up. The moratorium on nuclear testing had  abruptly ended with the detonation of  hydrogen bombs that could unleash ten times the explosive force of  all the bombs used in World War Two combined! It’s almost impossible to describe how close the end of the world felt to Americans in September 1961. The government and media were doing nothing to allay those fears save the faint hope offered by a cozy hole in the ground. In the September 15 issue of LIFE magazine appeared a letter from President Kennedy and designs for building a fallout shelter. Later that month, CBS aired an episode of the Twilight Zone entitled “The Shelter”. Bob Crane on Radio KNX would ask Rod Serling about the episode a few weeks after it aired.


    A Message to You from the President
     
    The White House
    September 7, 1961

    My Fellow Americans:

    Nuclear weapons and the possibility of nuclear war are facts of life we cannot ignore today. I do not believe that war can solve any of the problems facing the world today. But the decision is not ours alone.

    The government is moving to improve the protection afforded you in your communities through civil defense. We have begun, and will be continuing throughout the next year and a half, a survey of all public buildings with fallout shelter potential, and the marking of those with adequate shelter for 50 persons or more. We are providing fallout shelter in new and in some existing federal buildings. We are stocking these shelters with one week’s food and medical supplies and two weeks’ water supply for the shelter occupants. In addition, I have recommended to the Congress the establishment of food reserves in centers around the country where they might be needed following an attack. Finally, we are developing improved warning systems which will make it possible to sound attack warning on buzzers right in your homes and places of business.

    More comprehensive measures than these lie ahead, but they cannot be brought to completion in the immediate future. In the meantime there is much that you can do to protect yourself — and in doing so strengthen your nation.

    I urge you to read and consider seriously the contents in this issue of LIFE. The security of our country and the peace of the world are the objectives of our policy. But in these dangerous days when both these objectives are threatened we must prepare for all eventualities. The ability to survive coupled with the will to do so therefore are essential to our country.

    John F. Kennedy


     

     



  5. Revell Sells Secrets to the Soviets…for $2.98

    July 31, 2011 by The Belated Nerd

    revelluss george washingtonIn the summer of 1961 the New York Times ran a front page story entitled: ADMIRAL RICKOVER SAYS REDS LEARNED SECRETS FROM TOY SUB.  In that story the father of the US Navy’s nuclear submarine program claimed that the hobby company Revell’s model of the USS George Washington nuclear-powered Polaris missile submarine had given away classified information to the Soviet Union. “If I were a Russian,” declared Rickover, “I would be most grateful to the United States for its generosity in supplying such information for $2.98.”

    Under the helm of its president, Louis (“Lew”) H. Glaser, Revell’s PR department went into combat mode to not just defend its reputation as a patriotic American hobby company, but also to exploit Vice Admiral Hyman G. Rickover’s backhanded endorsement of their models’ authenticity (“Accurate to one thousandth of an inch” was Revell’s claim).  A photographer and writer from LIFE magazine were invited to the company’s headquarters so Glaser could counter that the charges were absurd and demonstrate that the details of the submarine were easily obtainable from unclassified trade and technical journals.  A photo taken of Glaser holding the submarine model was the 1960s equivalent of a  captain of industry flipping the bird to a military hero.

    Once the small feature appeared in the magazine, the Admiral refused to speak further of the incident. Revell on the other hand used the brouhaha to sell record numbers of the Polaris submarine kit.