An atomic scientist is found floating in a river with a bullet in his back and a radioactive halo around his body. The radioactivity has put him seven-and-a-half seconds ahead of us in time... See full summary »
After taking 20 dollars from his employer to go on a date with plans to repay it the next day, an auto mechanic falls into increasingly disastrous circumstances for more and more money which rapidly spirals out of his control.
Although allergic to kissing girls, Seaman Melvin Jones, through a fluke TV appearance, gets the undeserved reputation of a great kisser dubbed "Mr. Temptation" and is pursued by amorous young females.
Ventriloquist Jerry Morgan has to see another love affair fail. The reason: when the relationship reaches the point when it is time to discuss marriage, his doll Clarence becomes mean and ... See full summary »
The nuclear test at the beginning of the film in the title sequence is the iconic shot 'Baker' from the 'Crossroads' test series on Bikini atoll in 1946. See more »
Prior to the test, Dr. Rodell states it was 'the most powerful weapon yet developed'. The film makers might not have been aware of this, but the most powerful device up to that time was the 'George' test of Operation Greenhouse, a boosted fission device with a yield of 225 kt, about ten times the yield of the Nagasaki bomb. Even with much lower yields, like the 15 kt of the Hiroshima bomb, it would not make sense to put up a house made of 'regular brick and shingle' at a distance of a mere 200 feet from ground zero for weapons effects testing, because no remains would be found to examine afterwards. That house would hardly be out of the fireball radius, experience more than 25 psi overpressure and wind speeds upwards of 2500 mph. It goes without saying that the detonation would not have been survivable at that range in such a structure. See more »
What better way to start a movie and grab your audience's attention than with a nuclear blast? THE ATOMIC KID does just that, arriving in movie theatres and drive-ins at the height of cold war fever and Joe McCarthy looking for communists everywhere. How many card carrying members' names did 'Tail-gunner Joe' have inside that well worn briefcase? Anyway, Mickey Rooney stars as Blix Waterberry, the man who survives an atomic explosion at Ground Zero, located in a remote area of Nevada. Above ground testing of atomic and hydrogen bombs were standard operating procedure during the 1950's as long as the detonations were far removed from any populated areas. Still, the sight of military personnel gazing at the blast wearing 'protective' eye goggles in a fully exposed trench just a few miles away is quite hard to forget. A full fifteen seconds after the mushroom cloud ominously rises, the "All Clear" is sounded and the soldiers move briskly toward the bomb site.
Mickey Rooney as 'Blix' emerges as the human remnant of the test house designed to prove what would happen to a prefab structure against a nuclear explosion. Blix is really none the worse for wear, a bit singed from head to foot and wisps of smoke swirling from his hair. The only immediate side effect is a speech abnormality causing him to speak like audio tape on fast forward. Thankfully, this is temporary. He is also holding on to a peanut butter sandwich which is still intact, just a bit on the toasted side.
The plot then gravitates to 'Blix' undergoing a battery of tests by the military and scientists. The love interest is filled by comely Elaine Davis (then wife #4 to Mickey Rooney) who portrays a nurse at the hospital where 'Blix' is being held for observation. Miss Davis' (aka Elaine Devry) most memorable on screen moments occur with a series of appealing smirks directed at Blix. She does light up the screen when it's lights down low for some pitch and woo in the parlor with THE ATOMIC KID. Or maybe it's because Blix becomes phosphorescent, as he's all hot and bothered after a smooch from his after hours nurse. Miss Davis would parlay those sexy smirks as well as her hour-glass figure into a lucrative motion picture and television career.
Robert Strauss is ideal as 'Stan Cooper', burly best friend to Blix and always with an eye to get rich quick. This is where cold war spy antics become involved as an unnamed foreign country (presumably the Soviet Union) tries to get to Blix through Stan offering him instant wealth for instant pictures of THE ATOMIC KID. Strauss is hilarious as the unknowing dupe to Peter Brocco, the spy in the gray flannel suit.
The Saturday matinée atmosphere gives itself away throughout this flick. One can easily imagine this as a perfect vehicle for Abbott & Costello or, perhaps, Martin & Lewis. Jerry could easily play it over the top as the radio-active kid and Dino would play it straight when not crooning his velvet voice toward Elaine Davis.
With a competent supporting cast including Hal March as an FBI agent and Whit Bissell as Dr. Edgar Panghorn, THE ATOMIC KID is the brainchild of none other than Blake Edwards. Directed by Leslie H. Martinson in his first foray behind the camera, (he would later helm vehicles as diverse as P.T. 109 and BATMAN with Adam West) THE ATOMIC KID is worth a peak just before you 'Duck and Cover.'
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