1964 ... 'The Last man on Earth'

... although not technically a post-nuclear apocalypse; a spooky and well done, early sixties end of the world movie never the less!

... 'The Last Man on Earth' was the first cinematic version of Richard Matheson's 1954 novel "I Am Legend". The second was 1971's 'The Omega Man' and most recently 'I Am Legend' starring Will Smith in 2007.

... In 1971 I got my first job as an usher in a movie theater. I saw 'The Omega man' 67 times!

... Underground World Home Inc.

 ... gotta have a nice shelter/home bar to lean on as 'the last man on Earth'. Toss back a few triple Martinis and then break the glass on your reflection in the mirror. or whichever movie scene you prefer!

... an advantage of a bunker in the Las-Vegas area would be a lack of ground water problems. Most deactivated shelters turn into mossy, slimy half-flooded caves within a few years.

... these few shots seem to be from the early 'archeological period' of the repossession.
When the real-estate agents were wandering around with flashlights saying 'holy-shit' over and over. 

... Underground World Home Inc.

 ... brochure from World's Fair exhibition.

 ... view of the above ground 'house' and environs. Nevada landscaping is already fairly post -apocalyptic.

... artificial rocks and trees partly camouflage ac and exhaust vents. Make not to contractor to harden with reinforced concrete box structures! The office building in the background housed Henderson's business concerns and could be accessed from a tunnel.

news link

... here begins the first installment in our salute to the late captain of industry Jerry Henderson and his palace of a fallout shelter!

... the links at each post will provide most of the background information. But to sum it all up quickly: Jerry was an enterprising fellow who started selling the idea of large, comfy retreats from Doomsday with a walk-through exhibition at the 1964 World's Fair. This personal was built by Jerry in the 1970's in LasVegas. Jerry died in 1980 and the shelter with it's land and above ground dwelling went to relatives.

... recently- through a foreclosure, the 'estate' has seen the light of day!

... what we are seeing is a 16,000 sq ft hardened room 26 feet below level.
It has been built and extensively decorated to give the impression of a suburban home and guest house with surrounding yards, gardens and pool. Murals on the walls depict favorite pastoral scenes from the Henderson's travels. There is an ambient lighting system which can simulate different times of the day or evening complete with clouds and stars in the 'sky'.

God bless you Jerry Henderson for giving true substance to the best of Dr. Stranglovian fantasies!

... now we have to wonder how many other of Jerry's 'Underground World' projects were contracted and remain behind secret vault doors across America?!

* ... as an important reminder of FACT: although this 'shelter' was built and equipped to house up to ten people completely independent from the surface for one year; official estimates of fallout radioactive 'half-lifes' allow shelter 'decant' after less than a month.

1957 ... better living through SCIENCE!

The Story of: The Sputnik Moment

... nothing to it!

Tactical Nuclear Warfare- Atomic Battlefield -The Big Picture- US Army 29min



1959 ... atomic proof tank!

... during the 1950's everybody was gung-ho for duking it out on the 'nuclear battlefield'.
After all; if your troops couldn't survive on the charred plains of Armageddon what was the point in having an Army? Much of the bluster about the tactical nuclear weapons was part of the poker game to counter how outnumbered the NATO ground forces were versus the Warsaw Pact. War plans for fighting the a Communist invasion of Western Europe all involved a scenario of "we get pushed back to this point and then we use our nukes!"  Some of it made sense in the early 50's when the Soviets possessed no real ability to strike the United States directly. Then after the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis US and NATO leaders began to look toward World War Three options that were a little more-open minded than 'destroy the entire world or surrender!'.

... anyway- it was apparent from all of those fun nuclear tests where they got to blow-up everything from planes, trains and split-level house (including the kitchen sink) that while heavily armored tanks got rolled over by the blast wave they otherwise were still usable.
You could ride out a small atomic bomb in the battlefield 5-20 kiloton range behind the
6 to 12 inch steel of a heavy tank. Outside would be a charred, radioactive mess. But you could drive around and shoot things until the radiation killed you in a day or two.

Hence the invention of the 'funny shaped blow-over proof' Russian tank. Ominously christened 'Object 279'. They only built one. Turned out to be too heavy to really go anywhere- tended to sink into the ground and collapse any bridge it tried to cross.

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1947 ... Tupolev Tu-4 NATO Code: Bull

1947 ... Soviet Superfortress!

... if 'imitation is the sincerest form of flattery' than Boeing should be proud!

At the end of WWII the Soviet Union had no real modern long range bomber. At least nothing that was even close to the Boeing B-29 'Superfortress'. So in a back-braeking feat of 'reverse-engineering' Stalin had several US B-29's, that had landed on Soviet soil because of engine problems, taken apart and copied down to the smallest nut and bolt. 847 copies were made and they were given the NATO code-name 'Bull'.

These bombers could carry an early generation Soviet A-bomb to strike targets in Europe but would not have been able to reach the United States - even on a one-way mission.

As a part of the combined NATO force Being B-29's were loaned to the British. So for a time in the early stages of the Cold War- everyone had the same strategic bomber!

1956 - 1959 Convair Delta's

... in the 1950's it was long range bombers that would deliver nuclear weapons. Shooting down those bombers was extremely important. Millions of lives depended on it. Both the US and USSR put huge emphasis on the development of jet 'interceptors'. These aircraft were designed to climb very high, very quickly and go very fast. All in hopes of catching the bombers.

Surface to Air Missiles [SAMs] were not yet advanced or plentiful. The best technology available was to use an aircraft and pilot as a weapons 'platform'. Get the airplane close to the target and then use short range guided missiles; probably with small nuclear war-heads to destroy the H-bomb carrying bomber.

For the US Air Force; the Delta Dagger, and later Delta Dart, were the backbone of this air defense system. Both were built by Convair and both were supersonic and equipped with radar that would guide them to the target.

Catching up to and destroying attacking bombers proved to be much harder than first expected. Overcoming the physics of extreme altitudes and speeds and the vast distances and territorial area involved continually pushed the boundaries of technology.

Both sides new that many of their bombers would be shot down - but some would get through!

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... foreclosure reveals fallout shelter 'world' !!

... many more photos to come. Here is a link to one of many write-ups on the Internet.
And yes- those are 'stars' twinkling in the ceiling!

... stay tuned!

... I have been not as regular in my posting as I would like to be. Truth is that I have been running a little thin on resources. But, just as I think I've found the last Cold War relic... some old guy in a pith helmet crashes through to another tomb filled with treasure!

In this case two archeological finds in one week. The first is a Russian sight with hundreds of illustrations of aircraft. Secondly, an amazing underground luxury bunker has been 'discovered' in a suburb of LasVegas - see post above this one - stay tuned!

1984 ... 'Star Wars' PR film.

1961 ... orbital bomber!

 ... before the 1963 'Test Ban Treaty' and 'The Outer Space Treaty' the idea of throwing atomic bombs down on your enemy from orbit seemed like a groovy idea! Fears of bombs from outer-space, or even the moon, were part of what fueled the early 'Space Race'.

... the above concept of a manned, orbital bomber, goes down as one of those pieces on the chess board of constantly shifting atomic weapons systems. Bigger and better ICBM's were cheaper and did not require a bathroom.

... of course, banning nuclear weapons from outer space was one of the best ideas of the twentieth century! It eliminated a whole new arena of cold-war dangers and kept space exploration on a more friendly 'Star Trek' sort of footing. It also nixed the chance of using nukes for space-based defensive systems like President Reagan's Strategic Defense Initiative (better known as 'Star Wars')  

[Zorching an enemy missile at the top of it's ballistic arc in space with a big H-bomb is pretty effective. You don't need to make a bulls-eye; just fry it with x-rays from your big atomic firecracker.]
The mad-scientists had to find more complex and less effective technologies like particle beams, plasma lasers and the Easter Bunny.. 

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1954 ... end of the world comics!

... post World War II. post romanticism, post Hiroshima. Creepy comics were a new modern art-form in the fabulous-fifities. For those who were not there; it is hard to comprehend the pall of dread that hung in the back of everyone's minds.

1956 .... high adventure!

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... intelligent air!

1964 ... be an atomic-scientist!

1956 ... military industrial complex!

... during the Cold-War, General Dynamics often had a virtual monopoly on many areas of national defense- from bombers to atomic submarines.

1953 ... bombardment from sea!

... radar directed Naval gunfire- Korea.