Published on August 21st, 2010 | by Chris0
Radio Bikini (1988)
Radio Bikini is a short documentary that explores the "able" and "baker" nuclear weapons tests at Bikini Atoll in 1946. Actually the movie is sort of a two-fold documentary.
One part examines the "takeover" of the atoll by American forces and the subsequent "relocation" of the native peoples. Basically they fed them a bunch of hooey and afterwards none of them were very pleased about it. Can you really blame them? What were they going to do? "Oh, hai. We're here to blow up your island, you'd probably better leave." I mean, really. It's an unfortunate but unsurprising story.
Then, there's the second part. Probably the most disturbing. What happens to you after you're exposed to metric sh*tloads of atomic fallout and radiation. In hindsight its shocking to think that the military would just hand these guys a set of welding glasses and say, "hey, watch this!" But, on the other hand we really didn't have a clue exactly *what* would happen. To listen to these guys, it was pretty much a matter of daily business, and not until years later did the true effects manifest themselves. It's almost funny in an ironic sort of way, to watch these guys mulling about on the decks of the ships that were at the center of the blast, smiling as the doctors hold up the pegged Geiger counters....
Almost. Then you realize how completely screwed up it all was. Radio Bikini is a perfect companion to "Trinity and Beyond: The Atomic Bomb Movie", which shows in great detail the span of nuclear weapons testing on both sides from Trinity and Hiroshima up through the cold war. Including early 1950's tactical weapons tests where entire squads of troops were in close proximity to the blasts....
Insert facepalm picture here.
Radio Bikini culminates with the sad story of one of those sailors who was exposed at Bikini, and developed bizarre deformities in his hands, feet, and legs. Things that *should not happen* under normal natural circumstances. You really feel for him, feel angry that this could even happen, and yet somehow, sadly, you're not surprised. At all. That they were just told to get out there, and that "there's nothing to be afraid of".... When the reality is they were guinea pigs in a much larger picture.
Makes you wonder what else we *don't* know.
Doesn't look like this is in circulation anymore, but Netflix has it available via streaming, which is where I saw it....
A short clip, which pretty much sums up the "WTF?!" factor involved....
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Summary: Radio Bikini is a short documentary that explores the "able" and "baker" nuclear weapons tests at Bikini Atoll in 1946.