Who are these guys? And why is the narrator joyously shouting, “It happened! The mounds are vibrating. It is tremendous! Directly above our heads! Aaah!”
This footage was shot by the U.S. Air Force (at the behest of Col. Arthur B. “Barney” Oldfield, public information officer for the Continental Air Defense Command in Colorado Springs) to demonstrate the relative safety of a low-grade nuclear exchange in the atmosphere. Two colonels, two majors and a fifth officer agreed to stand right below the blast. Only the cameraman, George Yoshitake, didn’t volunteer.
The country was just beginning to worry about nuclear fallout, and the Air Force wanted to reassure people that it was OK to use atomic weapons to counter similar weapons being developed in Russia. (They didn’t win this argument.)