1951 ... fill-er-up!


... XC-99 (cargo version of the B-36 bomber) imagined as a gigantic tanker airplane. Never happened. The first USAF tankers in service were converted B-29 Superfortresses. Then a bloated version of the B-29 the KC-97. All the while the prop driven tankers were way too slow for the early jets they were refueling making the procedure dangerous and cumbersome. In spite of adding jet pods to help the props the system did not find perfection until the 1957 introduction of the famous KC-135 all jet tanker. This was the military version of what would go on to become the Boeing 707; America's first jet airliner. The military and the nuclear deterrence came first. Tourists and businessmen had to wait another year (1958) for 707 and American jet-travel.

note: refueling passenger jets in flight was too dangerous and expensive to ever be seriously considered.

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... colorful atomic bombs!





1952 ... ooo- that's a big one!


... full concept painting for a 1952 issue of 'Weird Fantasy' comics. Love how the Hudson River is starting to fill in the crater.


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1958 ...sex, spark-plugs and missiles!


... leave it to Madison Avenue to infer that this winsome queen of domesticity will be waiting for you when you get home from a long day of planning on how to blow-up the world!


 

1951 ... dreams of atomic flight!


... still hard to wrap my head around the idea of no fuel being burned- just lots of hot air! Atomic reactors and airplanes do not mix. One is crazy heavy and bulky! The opposite of what you want an airplane to be! The idea of flying around forever on a handful of uranium pellets sounds very cool! But more efficient jet engines and (the less crazy idea) of transferring fuel from a tanker airplane won out.

Also; nobody really needs to fly around the world several times without landing. The need is to go to a destination; to visit or bomb. The need for this type of technology was short lived. Soon surpassed by the range and speed of missiles.

The more I look at Cold War nuclear war technology, the more I find myself repeating the phrase "it only has to work once!"


(note: this illustration clearly shows the British Saunders-Roe 'Princess' flying boat. Though obsolete before finished, it was of interest to American mad-scientists who saw it's vast size as possibly able to accommodate a nuclear power plant.)

... new super-hero?


... obviously; when exposed to radiation you will become gigantic, naked and emit an eerie blue glow!

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... a very big door!


... stumbled across this photo; perhaps form the Acme Very Big Door Company?
Not sure they make doors like that unless they have something to do with really big atomic explosions. 



 

... Titan; up close and personal !



and here is a Link to the PBS 'American Experience' Command and Control .
A documentary about the 1980 accidental explosion of a Titan missile in it's silo. Provides a lot of excellent background info on just how much work it is to babysit a giant rocket in a hole in the ground! 




... something silly!




... a humorous take on two well-worn favorites!

B-47... a beautiful beast! (my art)



... for a Dr. Strangelove wann-be like me; it has been a childhood dream come true to realize I have considerable talent in the Aerospace-Defense illustration field. I started out as a photojournalist, went on to spend a couple of decades shooting commercial studio work and fashion ans (somehow) in the past two years have fallen into cranking out 'photo-illustrations' of airplanes and rocket-ships. So going from hot-babes in next to nothing outfits to atomic-bombers and moon rockets is a fair trade!

The point is that it's great fun to be able to imitate and create anew the king of 'G-Whiz' illustrations that I remember from my Cold-War/ Space-Age youth. It is a chance to make the sort of images that I wish existed - and now do!

...can't resist a post of 'Dutch' Holland and the 'Stratojet' for 'Strategic Air Command' 





... scarin' the snot out of NATO (my art)


... the M-50 'Bounder' was as a desperate attempt to produce a Soviet supersonic-bomber. Only two prototypes were built. They were very big, cool looking and had very under-performing engines. But; Boris and Natasha (after large amounts of Vodka were consumed) managed to convince an editor for 'Aviation Week' that the 'Bounder' was really a Nuclear-Powered strategic bomber. Ha-ha- stoopid Capitalist Pig Fools!

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1947 ... Berlin Airlift - RAF Coastal Command (my artwork)


... yes - the Short-Solent did not actually participate in the Berlin airlift. Sunderlands did; but there were no high quality photographs to use as reference.
So squint your eyes a little- or have a stiff scotch - and pretend it's a Sunderland!

 

... Buy My Art!

... here's a shameless self-promotion for all of you Cold-War buffs out there to Buy My Art!
You can get it in beautiful framed art pieces for your wall - or totally crass sell-out commercial forms like t-shirts, coffee cups and shower curtains! (shower curtains?) Be the first on your block to have a B-52 shower curtain!



... loading new stuff every week- so come back often!



 

... know your doomsday alphabet!


... trying to figure out the original publication date of this book is difficult - apparently it is still in print!

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1949 ... Red peril rides the Heavens!


... from a time that was vastly different- men wore bow-ties!


... more Atomic Comics!




... mad scientists (atomic) wanted!



... come to beautiful New Mexico; land of enchantment, 110 degrees in the shade, scorpions and tarantulas! Recruitment ads for the nuclear weapons and research industry (early 1950's?). Originally started as a super-secret collection of super-brains in the middle of god-foresaken nowhere; Los Alamos National Labs is just the place for you and the wife and kids to pack-up and settle! 

images from the excellent site- 'Restricted Data'  http://blog.nuclearsecrecy.com/

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Nagasaki, Japan 1946, by Robert Graham




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... Let Your Neighbors Know!


... a lot of Cold War blogs have come and gone. This one keeps going. Spread the good word. Let your fellow odd and idiosyncratic comrades know of this site and the wondrous treasures within!  


 

B-52 - my artwork


... did several new pieces to be included in a new video of my Cold-War artwork that I am putting together. These are part of my promotions for my commercial work. Yes- art imitates life - or is it the other way around? 

Once upon a time I had the second best job in the world; photographing beautiful women for magazines and department stores. Now I have the number one job in the world; making artwork of rocket-ships and airplanes!

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my photo-illus work - NOW AVAILABLE as Posters, Prints, Etc.




... after much public clamoring ( crowds of grumbling peasants with torches at the door) I have a place that you can go to get very nice prints of my artwork. You can also order fun things like t-shirts, coffee mugs and ... shower curtains(?)

use the LINK above



F-104 ... "the missile with a man in it!" - my illustration work


... another of the pieces I created for a promotional video of my commercial illustration work. The Lockheed F-104 'Starfighter'. One of designer Kelly Johnson's brainchildren. Often criticized as being dangerous to fly. It very successfully achieved it's design parameters: climb very quickly and go very fast. The most desired attributes when you want to shoot down Soviet bombers.

Somewhere underneath all of that digital paint is a photo of a gaudily painted 'gate-guard'.  wiki



1984 ... first we get Big-Macs!


... in the heyday of the Regan era (1984) the movie 'Red Dawn' was released. Basically a souped up made for TV movie. But it hit a resonant nerve in millions of teenage boys who fantasized that battle with the Evil Empire of the bear would bring them glory... and even possibly sex! And who can resist the idea of Russkie paratroopers blowing-up your high school?

 

... find your seat!





1950 ... more death and destruction!


... who knew that Nuclear War gave you a bad case of acne!

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1957 ... all the little details!


... back in 1957; Boris and Natasha would have been in a heap of trouble for publishing this on the Internet!

 

1951 ... gee-whiz Cool!



... what little kid or his Dad can resist an article about giant prop planes landing in the backyard and disgorging life-size Tonka trucks!

... conspiracy theorists take note: maybe it was POP Science and Mechanics that financed Stalin and the Reds in order to sell more issues!

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1951 ... know and know!


... why am I more scared of that school janitor with the hammer than the Russkies and their atomic bombs?!



 

1951 ... no safe place!


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1954 ... Atomic Humor Attempted!


... silly movie- but the source of a lot of childhood nightmares of being stuck in the wrong place at the wrong-time during an atomic test!

... no trailer is available but  here's a short review by 'Matinee' director Joe Dante.

... and for the truly brave - the whole movie in murky YouTube-O-Vision.







1952 ... 'Dangerous Assignment!'


... if you are a fan of this blog- then it's a safe bet that you have fairly eclectic tastes. So I'll share with you my enthusiasm for a wonderfully cornball early Cold-War adventure series- 'Dangerous Assignment'.

Not only does it star stalwart and stout character actor Brian Donlevy; he also produced both the radio and TV series. It's full of heartfelt but hapless melodrama, cheap sets and a cavalcade of fellow character actors. Long before James Bond, two-fisted government agent Steve Mitchell fights the Communist menace all over the globe. Women find his well trimmed mustache and steely eyes irresistible.

(Donlevy was a real life adventure manly-man and an Ace during WW1)

... here is a Link to the 90 radio episodes

... and the Link to the follow-up TV episodes - have fun and tell "The Commissioner" howdy for me!


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1955 ... lot's of B-47 crews!


... it is often overlooked just how many B-47 'Stratojets' were produced ... 2,032!
Almost 3 times the number of B-52's.


 

1950 ... those pesky "yellow-hordes" at it again!

... interesting map of Asia - viewed through the perspective of the beginning of the Korean War; a very hot chapter of the Cold War.

1951 ... you need Atomic Oil!


... from kid's candy to very small bathing suits; anything can benefit from advertising associating your product with nuclear destruction! 

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..."aircraft number one"






... the Russian equivalent of Air Force One is referred to as 'aircraft number one'. There are several models performing similar functions. The largest and newest is a Ilyushin 96-300 wide body. These images are screen-caps from a Russian TV documentary. LINK




 

... death wears bunny-slippers!


... interesting article written by a man who knows. LINK

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... under your local prairie!


... US Minuteman ICBM command center. On the first drawing 'not to scaqle' means the command capsule is 100 ft underground!

 

1953 ... make it small and fast!



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1954 ... me and my Sabre-Dog!





... the world below our feet!


... I live in a college town. The large university (25,000 students) is in the center of the town. The original ivy covered buildings were built in the early part of the 20th Century. The rest of the sprawling campus was added over the ensuing decades. Like most such large institutions it had it's own 'power plant' for heating and some of the electric demand. The old soot belching smokestacks and archaic machinery have long since been replaced by one of the most modern buildings on campus. But the basic infrastructure is still in use. This means that there is a myriad of tunnels running back and forth deep under the campus transporting hot and cold water and electricity.

Colloquially referred to as "the steam tunnels"  they are the stuff of legend. Lurking mass murders, English dept. orgies and marijuana farming are some of the tamer stories. One sure thing; they were at some time, a part of the universities cold-war fallout shelter plan.

To what extent they could still be utilized depends on a willingness to restock them with rations and other amenities. Meanwhile they sure would be a nice location for a cheap zombie movie! ( photo: Kate Medicus)