Homer Moulthrop and the Hanford Project’s Plastic Man
A couple of weeks ago, I suggested to the always interesting website Retronaut that photos of Plastic Man, from the Hanford declassified archive, might be of suitable interest to them and readers, and a few were posted. Plastic Man remains one of the more curious looking Hanford creations, though society is a few generations beyond being accustomed to the appearance and necessity of protective gear. Plastic Man was and remains a curiosity because he was a futuristic collision with farmers and sheep ranchers. He promised clean, safe energy while so hidden in his protective suit that his individual humanity was easily displaced by that which shielded him from radiation contamination. Several years ago I put up this blog post on that collision, with photos of him, and had also done a digital painting based on a photo from the early Richland Atomic Frontier parades in which he was featured on a float (see prior link).
Recently going through the archives again, within the last two weeks I came across a photo of Plastic Man coupled with then name Homer Moulthrop. No explanation was given, and the name Homer Moulthrop wasn’t consistent, sometimes spelled differently.
Shortly thereafter I found in the April 5, 1954 issue of “Life” magazine an article on Homer Moulthrop, who turns out to have been the creator of Plastic Man.
Plastic Man is also weirdly endearing because of the unwieldy appearance of the suit, presenting the appearance of a plastic toddler, muscles not yet finely tuned, legs stiff and splayed. In certain poses he looks as though he should be playing with blocks, and was perhaps less alarming than amusing, though we shall see below he was dubbed Homer’s Hideous Hallucination.