The Atomic Frontier Meets Slim Pickens at the Boy Scout Circus

Juli Kearns Hanford Declassified Leave a Comment

Staged Mock Air Raids on the Atomic Frontier Were for the Purpose of…?

For education, entertainment, and a likely badge, Boy Scouts of the Richland, Washington Atomic Frontier engineered the spectacle of a mock air raid for the Boy Scout circus in 1952. Though Camp Hanford was installed in 1951 to provide air protection for the Hanford Project and area, there was always the possibility a few army pilots could be out on a cigarette break and Slim Pickens might make his way through on the bomb. What would happen if he did? We learn in these two historic photos from the Hanford declassified archives.

Richland seems to be envisioned by the town youth as a strange combination of a few non-regular pyramids, some comparatively large house trailers, and a single cardboard prefab.

Oh, wait, I get it. The split pyramids are probably mountains. Don’t you like the trees painted on the cardboard house? I think of the child–or his mom or dad–who spent time putting together this house for the Boy Scout circus mock air raid, and all the while they built it and decorated it with trees they thought of the bomb that could make it through and destroy their sweet home.

This is high drama, folks. People are seated on the edges of their bleacher seats watching their worst nightmare unfold and wondering how many pieces there will be to pick up afterward. Tonight, they will learn.

1952 MOCK AIR RAID - BOY SCOUT CIRCUS
Enlargement
DDRS Record Details for Record Accession Number
“N1D0042124”
Accession Number N1D0042124
Document Number 4071-1-NEG-A
Alternate Document Number 4071-1-NEG
Title Description MOCK AIR RAID – BOY SCOUT CIRCUS
Number of Pages 1
Key Word(s)
Author(s)
Company(s)
Document Date 24-May-1952
Public Availability Date 14-Feb-2002

1952 MOCK AIR RAID - BOY SCOUT CIRCUS
Enlargement
DDRS Record Details for Record Accession Number
“N1D0042132”
Accession Number N1D0042132
Document Number 4071-1-NEG-I
Alternate Document Number 4071-1-NEG
Title Description MOCK AIR RAID – BOY SCOUT CIRCUS
Number of Pages 1
Key Word(s)
Author(s)
Company(s)
Document Date 24-May-1952
Public Availability Date 14-Feb-2002

Oh! Slim Pickens got the church! That’s at least 100 points out of a 100 possible score, don’t you think? Plus he’s radiated the neighboring cemetery for a bonus of 200 future flesh-eating zombie points.

“Operation Cue” in Nevada had better production values, but then they used real houses for their models. Richland, however, it toasted the church, because this wasn’t just about physical preparedness (how did they demonstrate that in their mock air raid) but about the threat to god (equals country) and the whole spiritual universe.

Read the introduction to the Remixing the Hanford Declassified Project series of posts and digital paintings. View all digital paintings here.

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