You Can Survive Atomic Fallout! A Mid-Century Survival Catalog

atomic fallout



WELCOME to Pleasant Valley USA.  Smell the freshly cut lawns and barbecue in the air.  Kids on bikes, dads reading the paper out on the patio, and moms taking the Studebaker out to the hair salon…. everything’s just dandy.

Except for one thing: If Khrushchev wakes up on the wrong side of the bed, this entire suburb will be reduced to radioactive cinder.  Mom, dad, the kids, even the poodle will all be disintegrated….. if they’re lucky.  If they’re not lucky, they’ll end up wandering the ravaged earth covered in festering tumors praying for death.

How about purchasing a fallout shelter and all the delightful fixings? While your neighbors are obliterated into vapor, you can be relaxing in the comfort of your own home!  Buy it today….. because there may not be a tomorrow!






These late 1950s catalog pages from the General Merchandise Company offer salvation from the dreaded A-Bomb.  According GMC, “97% can survive” if you prepare accordingly – just send them your money or use their new “Credit Command Plus” payment plan.  You might as well, as money will be utterly worthless after the attack – we’ll be probably return to the bartering system.  So, make sure you keep your daughter safe – she’ll be worth a lot in the post-apocalyptic world.

I especially love the frightening silhouette at the top of the page.  Dad suffers the full effect of the blast as mom reaches for her child who would seem to be saying, “Sorry, Mom, Dad, but I’m getting the hell out of here!”






The Coleman gasoline stove will work great for flame broil burgers while the surface of the earth is also aflame.  The lack of ventilation in your fallout shelter will also ensure that you have a nice long after-dinner nap – courtesy carbon monoxide.






What’s truly frightening is that the same basic survival merchandise is being peddled to this very day (most notably by the semi-insane Glenn Beck).  In other words, sixty years have passed and Americans are no less afraid of an impending Armageddon.  I suppose it doesn’t hurt to be prepared, but I’m inclined to think that the world that awaits after a nuclear holocaust wouldn’t be a very friendly place…. The ones without the fallout shelters and “convenient double decker folding cots” might be the lucky ones.

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