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 Chapter Eight Illustration
Chapter Eight

ATOMIIC EXPERTS COME TO HOLLYWOOD

COL. CHARLES SWEENEY,
who piloted the B-29 "The Great Artiste," that dropped the bomb on Nagasaki. was just one of many men closely associated with the atom homb who visited Hollywood during the making of "The Beginning Or The End,' and commented on the imperativeness of the film story. Others included General Groves, when he inspected ships in Southern California as they were about to leave for the Bikini Atoll tests, Dr. Harold C. Urey of the Institute of N Nuclear Studies at the University of Chicago, Dr. Leo Szilard, prominently connected with the early stages of the project, and Dr. Oppenheimer.
 
In addition to Col. Sweeney, seven other atomic experts came to Hollywood as technical advisors on every phase of the atomic development. They were the assurance of an authentic film.
 
The first to arrive was the man whose letter had started the whole thing, Dr. Edward Tompkins. the scientist who had written his suggestion for an atom bomb picture to Donna Reed, was sent to Hollywood by the Association of Oak Ridge Scientists. He remained ten weeks, rendering advice throughout the writing of the script. Joining him at the studio was another scientist, Dr. W. Bradford Shank of the Federation of American Scientists, who was associated with the development at Los Alamos.
 
Just prior to the start of filming, two new arrivals from Washington. D. C. were Dr. Henry T. Wensel, on leave from the Bureau of Standards, and Col. William Consodine. who, as a deputy in charge of Security and Public Relations, served as an aide to General Groves. Later they were joined by a fourth scientist, Dr. David Hawkins, an associate of Dr. Oppenheimer at the University of California and at Los Alamos. His advice on the filming of the atom bomb explosion on the New Mexico desert, as well as on vital research scenes in the Los Alamos laboratories, was considered invaluable.
 
An Army foursome to work alongside scientific advisors, in much the same cooperative manner that they did during the war, was completed with the appearance of Major Glen W. Landreth, who was on Tinian when the bombers took off for Japan, Major Paul Van Sloun, who visited Hiroshima and viewed what remained of the Jap city, and Col. Sweeney.
 
This corps of technical advisors, believed the largest ever employed on a motion picture. was unanimous in commending Hollywood for its all-out effort to make a picture in keeping with the importance of its subject. Dr, Wensel, who as Chief of the Technical Division of the Manhattan District and Technical Aide to the Chairman of the Office of Scientific Research and Development toured every major atomic installation in the country, was particularly impressed, both with Hollywood's effort and with the urgent need for such a film..

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