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Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Amazing 1950s Illustrations of American Cities Destroyed by A-Bombs

Posted By on Wed, Aug 17, 2011 at 7:00 AM

click to enlarge studies_in_crap_pagaent_cover_a_bombsa.jpg

Your Crap Archivist brings you the finest in forgotten and bewildering crap culled from Golden State thrift stores, estate sales, and flea markets.

Pageant Magazine

Date: February, 1951

Discovered at: Old Towne Antique Mall, Pleasanton

The Cover Promises: "If A-Bombs Blast U.S. City." Also: "Homosexuality Can Be Cured."

Representative Quotes:

"When true human relations are obtainable, the person no longer needs homosexual relationships -- which are, after all, only sick substitutes for real friendship and love." (page 90)
"Why hasn't the Great Sea serpent been caught before? Scientists say one rarely comes to the surface, and when it dies, it sinks to hitherto impenetrable depths. But there's an even simpler reason: No one has ever tried to trap the monster." (page 45)

Chuck your history texts and your Rabbit Runs, world. It turns out that the best way to understand mid-20th-century America is to grab any 1950s issue of Pageant, a digest-sized rag crammed to bursting with every virtue and vice that once distinguished this great nation.

There's our can-do spirit (We can catch sea-monsters!), our can-do belief in normative behaviors (We can cure homosexuality!), and our can-do soul-terror about the things we actually can do (We can blow up a major city!).

The feature piece about the atomic destruction of an America city is a marvel. Pagaent contracted Alexander Leydenfrost to "'photograph' the scene in terms of his famous realistic impressions."

The usual Studies in Crap nonsense will follow. First, though, here are Leydenfrost's impressions of catastrophe in "City X":

click to enlarge studies_in_crap_pagaent_atomic_explosion.jpg

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click to enlarge studies_in_crap_pagaent_atomic_bomb_3.jpg

Yes, these are the storyboards for Children of Men.

Next: More Pageant craziness.

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Alan Scherstuhl


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