Number 311: Atomic Pig And All Things Porcine and Epicurean – America Eats And Giggles In 1946 – Past Daily Gallimaufry
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Since the Atom Bomb was here to stay, and in 1946 we, as a species, were getting used to it – radio routinely broadcast tests in the Pacific and in Yucca Flats Nevada and we were becoming more familiar with this potentially terrifying new weapon each passing day. It wound up becoming part of our Popular Culture – songs about the Atomic Bomb – newsreels, the aforementioned reports of testing – the naming of a new genre of swimsuit after the South Pacific atoll hosting the tests (Bikini).
On this particular broadcast, a “food and commentary” program Comments And Condiments, the subject of Pig 311 comes up. Of all the 3,352 animals exposed to the atom-bomb blast and radiation in the 1946 Operation Crossroads series of Atomic tests, none won greater fame than Pig No. 311. A wriggly, 50-lb. shoat, No. 311 was locked in the officers’ head (toilet) of the Japanese light cruiser Sakawa. Hours later, after the Sakawa had sunk, No. 311 was found swimming gamely in the radiation-polluted waters of Bikini Lagoon. She was irritable, and had a low blood count, but ‘within a month she seemed to have recovered.
Needless to say, it was a huge topic of conversation and commentary, not only on this program but many others like it. But oddly, rather than talk about Atomic testing in general, it paves the way for a discussion of recipes for Pork, which gives you some idea how we really weren’t all that concerned over the potential doomsday scenarios this new piece of weaponry could unleash. Well . .we were, we were just in denial. The broadcast is from September 1946, a little over year after the war was over. The Cold war wouldn’t get rolling for a few months, the closely guarded Atomic secrets would be leaked and the Soviet Union would join the nuclear club, and then things would change and fear would take center stage.
But for Comments and Condiments from a fledgling ABC Radio in September of 1946, everything is breezy and folksy and light – and that’s just the way it was.
Hit Play for a sample.