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georgeo76
10-13-2004, 11:40 AM
Some of you may notice that I'm a fan of the movie "Dr. Strangelove, or how I learned to stop worrying and love the bomb".

Well I ran across an article in the NY times that surprised even me, and it has just enough relevance to aviation to be on-topic. You can click the link in my sig to read the original article (free registration required) or I'll post the entire text below:

georgeo76
10-13-2004, 11:41 AM
Truth Stranger Than 'Strangelove'
By FRED KAPLAN

Published: October 10, 2004

"Dr. Strangelove," Stanley Kubrick's 1964 film about nuclear-war plans
run amok, is widely heralded as one of the greatest satires in
American political or movie history. For its 40th anniversary, Film
Forum is screening a new 35 millimeter print for one week, starting on
Friday, and Columbia TriStar is releasing a two-disc special-edition
DVD next month. One essential point should emerge from all the hoopla:
"Strangelove" is far more than a satire. In its own loopy way, the
movie is a remarkably fact-based and specific guide to some of the
oddest, most secretive chapters of the Cold War.

As countless histories relate, Mr. Kubrick set out to make a serious
film based on a grim novel, "Red Alert," by Peter George, a Royal Air
Force officer. But the more research he did (reading more than 50
books, talking with a dozen experts), the more lunatic he found the
whole subject, so he made a dark comedy instead. The result was wildly
iconoclastic: released at the height of the cold war, not long after
the Cuban missile crisis, before the escalation in Vietnam, "Dr.
Strangelove" dared to suggest - with yucks! - that our top generals
might be bonkers and that our well-designed system for preserving the
peace was in fact a doomsday machine.

What few people knew, at the time and since, was just how accurate
this film was. Its premise, plotline, some of the dialogue, even its
wildest characters eerily resembled the policies, debates and military
leaders of the day. The audience had almost no way of detecting these
similiarities:Nearly everything about the bomb was shrouded in secrecy
back then. There was no Freedom of Information Act and little
investigative reporting on the subject. It was easy to laugh off "Dr.
Strangelove" as a comic book.

But film's weird accuracy is evident in its very first scene, in which
a deranged base commander, preposterously named Gen. Jack D. Ripper
(played by Sterling Hayden), orders his wing of B-52 bombers - which
are on routine airborne alert, circling a "fail-safe point" just
outside the Soviet border - to attack their targets inside the
U.S.S.R. with multimegaton bombs. Once the pilots receive the order,
they can't be diverted unless they receive a coded recall message. And
0nly General Ripper has the code.

The remarkable thing is, the fail-safe system that General Ripper
exploits was the real, top-secret fail-safe system at the time.
According to declassified Strategic Air Command histories, 12 B-52's -
fully loaded with nuclear bombs - were kept on constant airborne
alert. If they received a Go code, they went to war. This alert
system, known as Chrome Dome, began in 1961. It ended in 1968, after a
B-52 crashed in Greenland, spreading small amounts of radioactive
fallout.

But until then, could some loony general have sent bombers to attack
Russia without a presidential order? Yes.

In a scene in the "war room" (a room that didn't really exist, by the
way), Air Force Gen. Buck Turgidson (played by George C. Scott)
explains to an incredulous President Merkin Muffley (one of three
roles played by Peter Sellers) that policies - approved by the
president - allowed war powers to be transferred, in case the
president was killed in a surprise nuclear attack on Washington.

Historical documents indicate that such procedures did exist, and
that, though tightened later, they were startlingly loose at the time.

But were there generals who might really have taken such power in
their own hands? It was no secret - it would have been obvious to many
viewers in 1964 - that General Ripper looked a lot like Curtis LeMay,
the cigar-chomping, gruff-talking general who headed the Strategic Air
Command through the 1950's and who served as the Pentagon's Air Force
Chief of Staff in the early 60's.

In 1957 Robert Sprague, the director of a top-secret panel, warned
General LeMay that the entire fleet of B-52 bombers was vulnerable to
attack. General LeMay was unfazed. "If I see that the Russians are
amassing their planes for an attack,'' he said, "I'm going to knock
the [expletive] out of them before they take off the ground."

"But General LeMay," Mr. Sprague replied, "that's not national
policy." "I don't care," General LeMay said. "It's my policy. That's
what I'm going to do."

Mr. Kubrick probably was unaware of this exchange. (Mr. Sprague told
me about it in 1981, when I interviewed him for a book on nuclear
history.) But General LeMay's distrust of civilian authorities,
including presidents, was well known among insiders, several of whom
Mr. Kubrick interviewed.

he most popular guessing game about the movie is whether there a
real-life counterpart to the character of Dr. Strangelove (another
Sellers part), the wheelchaired ex-Nazi who directs the Pentagon's
weapons research and proposes sheltering political leaders in
well-stocked mineshafts, where they can survive the coming nuclear war
and breed with beautiful women. Over the years, some have speculated
that Strangelove was inspired by Edward Teller, Henry Kissinger or
Werner Von Braun.

But the real model was almost certainly Herman Kahn, an eccentric,
voluble nuclear strategist at the RAND Corporation, a prominent Air
Force think tank. In 1960, Mr. Kahn published a 652-page tome called
"On Thermonuclear War," which sold 30,000 copies in hardcover.

According to a special-feature documentary on the new DVD, Mr. Kubrick
read "On Thermonuclear War" several times. But what the documentary
doesn't note is that the final scenes of "Dr. Strangelove" come
straight out of its pages.

Toward the end of the film, officials uncover General Ripper's code
and call back the B-52's, but they notice that one bomber keeps flying
toward its target. A B-52 is about to attack the Russians with a few
H-bombs; General Turgidson recommends that we should "catch 'em with
their pants down,'' and launch an all-out, disarming first-strike.

Such a strike would destroy 90 percent of the U.S.S.R.'s nuclear
arsenal. "Mr. President," he exclaims, "I'm not saying we wouldn't get
our hair mussed, but I do say no more than 10-20 million killed,
tops!" If we don't go all-out, the general warns, the Soviets will
fire back with all their nuclear weapons. The choice, he screams, is
"between two admittedly regrettable but nevertheless distinguishable
postwar environments - one where you get 20 million people killed and
the other where you get 150 million people killed!" Mr. Kahn made
precisely this point in his book, even producing a chart labeled,
"Tragic but Distinguishable Postwar States."

When Dr. Strangelove talks of sheltering people in mineshafts,
President Muffley asks him, "Wouldn't this nucleus of survivors be so
grief-stricken and anguished that they'd, well, envy the dead?"
Strangelove exclaims that, to the contrary, many would feel "a spirit
of bold curiosity for the adventure ahead."

Mr. Kahn's book contains a long chapter on mineshafts. Its title:
"Will the Survivors Envy the Dead?" One sentence reads: "We can
imagine a renewed vigor among the population with a zealous, almost
religious dedication to reconstruction."

In 1981, two years before he died, I asked Mr. Kahn what he thought of
"Dr. Strangelove." Thinking I meant the character, he replied, with a
straight face, "Strangelove wouldn't have lasted three weeks in the
Pentagon. He was too creative."

Those in the know watched "Dr. Strangelove" amused, like everyone
else, but also stunned. Daniel Ellsberg, who later leaked the Pentagon
Papers, was a RAND analyst and a consultant at the Defense Department
when he and a mid-level official took off work one afternoon in 1964
to see the film. Mr. Ellsberg recently recalled that as they left the
theater, he turned to his colleague and said, "That was a
documentary!"

Fred Kaplan is a columnist for Slate and the author of "The Wizards of
Armageddon," a history of the nuclear strategists.

georgeo76
10-13-2004, 12:05 PM
It's also worth noting that some scenes in the movie, showing a b-52 crew going to strike their targets is also disturbingly accurate. Not only is the interior of the AC shown in detail, but also the procedures of the crew. Most notably the radio (the one that must receive the failsafe codes), and the contents of the survival package each crewman receives in case of a bail-out.

Quoting the character Maj TJ "King" Kong (pilot of the B-52)

"Survival kit contents check. In them you'll find: one forty-five caliber automatic; two boxes of ammunition; four days' concentrated emergency rations; one drug issue containing antibiotics, morphine, vitamin pills, pep pills, sleeping pills, tranquilizer pills; one miniature combination Russian phrase book and Bible; one hundred dollars in rubles; one hundred dollars in gold; nine packs of chewing gum; one issue of prophylactics; three lipsticks; three pair of nylon stockings. Shoot, a fella' could have a pretty good weekend in Vegas with all that stuff."

FI-Aflak
10-13-2004, 12:24 PM
One of the best films ever. Kinda scary thats its accurate.

jensenpark
10-13-2004, 12:47 PM
Thanks for the info.

What a fantastic movie. Always loved your sig.

Great stuff you've pass on.

sunflower1
10-13-2004, 12:50 PM
S!

Fantastic reading, thanks for posting.

We need a poll, "Favorite line from Dr. Strangelove"

Some candidates:

"You said, 'feed me!' and I was feeding you Jack!"

"Colonel Batguano, if that really is your name"

and of course the classic, "there'll be no fighting in here, this is the war room!"

steve_v
10-13-2004, 12:56 PM
Saw the movie as a kid when it was released and continued enjoying it as an adult. The article provids a unique insight that is still chilling.

Chuck_Older
10-13-2004, 01:12 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by georgeo76:


"Survival kit contents check. In them you'll find: one forty-five caliber automatic; two boxes of ammunition; four days' concentrated emergency rations; one drug issue containing antibiotics, morphine, vitamin pills, pep pills, sleeping pills, tranquilizer pills; one miniature combination Russian phrase book and Bible; one hundred dollars in rubles; one hundred dollars in gold; nine packs of chewing gum; one issue of prophylactics; three lipsticks; three pair of nylon stockings. Shoot, a fella' could have a pretty good weekend in Vegas with all that stuff." <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

This is perhaps my favorite Slim Pickens line of all time. It's pretty much a tie between that and

"One gen-u-wine harry-carry knife. Pass it around, boys, maybe somebody has a use for it"

georgeo76
10-13-2004, 02:01 PM
My two favorite quotes (other than the one in my sig)

"Well, I, uh, don't think it's quite fair to condemn a whole program because of a single slip-up, sir."

and
"That's right, sir, you are the only person authorized to do so. And although I, uh, hate to judge before all the facts are in, it's beginning to look like, uh, General Ripper exceeded his authority. "


<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by sunflower1:
S!

Fantastic reading, thanks for posting.

We need a poll, "Favorite line from Dr. Strangelove"

<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

georgeo76
10-13-2004, 02:03 PM
My only question is what are the lipsticks and nylons for? I would hope for trade and not disguise http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif

<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Chuck_Older:

This is perhaps my favorite Slim Pickens line of all time. It's pretty much a tie between that and

"One gen-u-wine harry-carry knife. Pass it around, boys, maybe somebody has a use for it" <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Yellonet
10-13-2004, 03:04 PM
"Well I've been to one world fair, a picic and a rodeo, and that's the stupidest thing I ever heard come over a set of earphones!"

nickdanger3
10-13-2004, 03:08 PM
I wanna know who is the real life Col. Bat Guano

tHeBaLrOgRoCkS
10-13-2004, 03:49 PM
Classic film I understand He made some folks in government quite 'uncomfortable' with the whole b-52 scene. Didn't they have him under investigation for that ?

Chuck_Older
10-13-2004, 05:35 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by georgeo76:
My only question is what are the lipsticks and nylons for? I would hope for trade and not disguise http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif

<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Well, they could be an inticement that is complementary to the prophylactic kit http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/16x16_smiley-wink.gif

My all time favorite line from Dr Strangelove is:

"Do you know what's gonna happen if you don't get the President on that line? You'll have to answer to the Coca-Cola Company."


Other things about the movie not mentioned in that very interesting article.

For one, I wonder whay it was not contrasted with the movie "Fail Safe" which it heavily satirizes

For another, no mention of Sterling Hayden's Hollywood background.

The guy was blacklisted at one time because he was suspected of being a Communist! And yet he played Jack D Ripper. "Ever see a Commie drink a glass of water, Mandrake?" Brilliant casting.

Also, the guy kidnapped his own son http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/16x16_smiley-surprised.gif

georgeo76
10-13-2004, 05:57 PM
One of the reasons that other movies of the kind are not mentioned is that they are dated and irrelevant to a modern audience. Strangelove is as funny and topical today as in '64; timeless. Failsafe is forgotten.

<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Chuck_Older:
For one, I wonder whay it was not contrasted with the movie "Fail Safe" which it heavily satirizes
<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

sunflower1
10-13-2004, 06:07 PM
Seller's midwestern accent doing Merkin Muffley. Priceless.

"Dmitri! Now Dmitri!"

sunflower1
10-13-2004, 06:15 PM
Depending upon your politics, you may also enjoy Ambassador Kissov's:

"Our source was The New York Times"

Cmte. Carvalho
10-13-2004, 06:21 PM
I agree that the aircraft interior is very accurate, otherwise the exterior... In my oppinion, the Thunderbirds wins... http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif

Chuck_Older
10-13-2004, 06:25 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by sunflower1:
Depending upon your politics, you may also enjoy Ambassador Kissov's:

"Our source was The New York Times" <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

The Soviet's source was often the New York Times!

LEXX_Luthor
10-13-2004, 06:31 PM
georgeo:: <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>One of the reasons that other movies of the kind are not mentioned is that they are dated and irrelevant to a modern audience. Strangelove is as funny and topical today as in '64; timeless. Failsafe is Forgotten. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>
Perfectly said.

A significant theme of Dr. Strangelove is SEX is WAR. Sexual imagery played a part, most notably the beginning credits showing the erotic "refueling" scene. Sexual inuendo, timeless social/psycho stories, and deeply satirical characters are only 3 reasons that Dr. Strangelove fans should enjoy science fiction show LEXX, at least the first 3 seasons before the Canadian writers went "Camp" during season 4 Earth setting.

ps...Kaplan botched his review. Turgidson did the "20 million killed" scene early in the War Room debate, before the recall code was sent. http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/16x16_smiley-wink.gif

The Dr. Strangelove character names all were satirical...including the drunk Russian Primier Kissoff--and the Commie Ambassador really did try to take sneaky pictures of the War Room. Turgidson was right about that at least. Turgidson was a brilliant name for George C. Scott's character, all had brilliant satired names. Great mass acting cast not equaled until Kelly's Heroes.

ah georgeo, if our USA Hollywood could still make movies like that. The last decent Hollywood production was Babylon~5, although JMS would never agree he was ever part of "hollywood." http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_smile.gif

sunflower1
10-13-2004, 08:01 PM
I can tell I picked the right game off the shelf. You guys are ok. http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/35.gif

WUAF_Badsight
10-13-2004, 10:20 PM
General Lemay was a nutcase

WE IS SO LUCKY HE NEVER GOT HIS CHANCE !

The_Ant
10-14-2004, 03:24 AM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by WUAF_Badsight:
General Lemay was a nutcase

WE IS SO LUCKY HE NEVER GOT HIS CHANCE ! <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

in the movie 13 days (about the cuban missile crissis)
He is portayed as you write about him, a complet nutcase.
If this is true whats portrayed in that movie how could Jfk have such an advisor.

ELEM
10-14-2004, 03:51 AM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by georgeo76:
Some of you may notice that I'm a fan of the movie "Dr. Strangelove, or how I learned to stop worrying and love the bomb".

Well I ran across an article in the NY times that surprised even me, <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

I'm surprised you were surprised. Did you not realise how accurate it was at the time? The scary thing is, nothing has really changed. There are still men in high places of American politics and the military with the same, or similar, dangerous ideas.

ploughman
10-14-2004, 05:41 AM
LeMay was fantastically aggressive, a complete rottweiller. During WWII the crews of his B-24 group were aborting about 25% of the time, analysis showed that fear was the reason. He threatened to court-martial any aborting crew and flew with his group to re-instate a sense of backbone. It was LeMay's almost genocidally destructive fire-bombing campaign against Japan, launched from the Bonins, that brought Japan to its knees (both physically and psychologically) with 90+ cities partially or totally destroyed in a relatively short period of time. LeMay himself recognised that his actions would be interpreted as war crimes, but he felt that, within the context of the war he was fighting, his actions were justified. The A-Bomb attacks launched under his aegis were the coup de grace that brought the slaughter to an end.

LeMay's extremely belligerent position on Cuba during the Missile Crisis is pretty well established. Considering LeMay's temperament was to escalate any confrontation, and that he was in postions of significant influence within the US military, it is perhaps fortunate that we are still here.

Top film.

georgeo76
10-14-2004, 06:33 AM
What surprised me was how the details of the movie was accurate, not the overall theme. Kubrick, remember, started out making a serious film. Being the utterly thorough man that he was, researched the subject and the more he learned, the more lunatic the whole idea became.

And that is extremely accurate. The Cold War was insane. Hell, we didn't even conceal that fact. Our stated foreign policy was named MAD.

I knew that Ripper was a caricature of LeMay, and I knew that like MacArthur, LeMay thought that national policy was something under his discretion. What I didn't know how much power someone like LeMay actually had. There have been several presidents who I felt couldn't be trusted w/ the bomb. It's outrageous that generals were that close. I guess I shouldn't be so surprised since computer error brought us to the brink...twice!

And your right, there are still ppl in power w/ ideas that simontaniously dangerous, lunatic, and funny. That's what gives the movie it's immortal relevance.

I think the only thing lost on a modern audience is how outrageous it must have seemed @ the time to make fun of something so serious. But you can get that felling by going and seeing "Team America", apparently even the war on terror is hilarious.

<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by ELEM:
I'm surprised you were surprised. Did you not realise how accurate it was at the time? The scary thing is, nothing has really changed. There are still men in high places of American politics and the military with the same, or similar, dangerous ideas. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

LEXX_Luthor
10-14-2004, 06:58 AM
Well, since our first Bush/Kerry Debate, I don't see any more "antiwar" talk. I guess cos Kerry is the more pro~war candidate. http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/icon_twisted.gif Almost as if there never was any "antiwar." After the first Debate, everybody focus on Bush facial expressions and speech, avoiding Kerry's out-warring the war president in the Debate transcript. http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_cool.gif

georgeo76
10-14-2004, 07:53 AM
Come on Lexx, why are you trying to get my thread locked?? http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif It's the Hollywood thing isn't it? http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_wink.gif

sunflower1
10-14-2004, 09:46 AM
Ok, how can I do this without getting the thread locked?

Pablo Lobowitz

Richard Oyster-Sphere

LEXX_Luthor
10-14-2004, 08:20 PM
georgeo:: <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Come on Lexx, why are you trying to get my thread locked?? http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>
I stopped it from being locked. http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/16x16_smiley-wink.gif I saw where you were slowly trying to go with the "terror" thing, so I cut you off. http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/16x16_smiley-happy.gif Actually, if you saw the first TV Debate it was even more satire and comedy than Kubrick's WAR ROOM script. Bizzaro, but better than Hollywood.

CNN Debate 1 transcript http://www.cnn.com/2004/ALLPOLITICS/09/30/debate.transcript.1/

My faves...

John Kerry (transcript):: <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>

Page 2
And I will hunt down and kill the terrorists, wherever they are.


Page 4
And now we see beheadings. And we got weapons of mass destruction crossing the border every single day, and they're blowing people up. And we don't have enough troops there.


Page 11
What I want to do is change the dynamics on the ground. And you have to do that by beginning to not back off of the Fallujahs and other places, and send the wrong message to the terrorists. You have to close the borders.
<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>
Kubrick would have had a ball with this. I single out the Page 2 quote because Kerry repeated "I will kill the terrorists" about 5 times in the next Debate (5 is estimate).

....what you said about the war on terror being apparently hilarious at times turned out right here....

sunflower1
10-14-2004, 08:53 PM
Yes! There is much humor of this ilk to be found in this issue. Mssrs. Oyster-Sphere and Lobowitz have both been on the tube in the last year saying things that simply now cannot be heard without a guffaw. Kubrickian, we'll call it.

georgeo76
10-15-2004, 06:05 AM
Lexx, I was just saying that @ the time, Dr. Strangelove was making fun of something very serious. I drew a parallel to to "Team America" because it's making fun of something serious in current events.

I didn't mean to draw the Pres. race into this. I make no secret what side of the fence I'm on, but I *try* keep that stuff off these boards. :P

Maybe it was my comment about current world leaders being funny, crazy, and dangerous. Yea, I did have Dubya on my mind, but I'm sure almost any person, in any county, in any period of history, could say the same about their leader and not be wrong. I was ambiguous on purpose, leaving others to draw their own conclusions.

Anyway, If you want to discuss the Pres. Race, or the Debates, PM me. I'd love to discuss that further w/ you. http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif