THE ATOMIC KID (1954)
Article #1307 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 10-12-2004
Posting Date: 3-11-2005
Directed by Leslie H. Martinson
Featuring Mickey Rooney, Robert Strauss, Elaine Davis
A man survives an atomic blast, and he becomes a national secret as scientists try to figure out what saved him from being destroyed.
Mickey Rooney was well into his thirties when this was made, so he’s really stretching it to play someone who could still be called a “kid”, but then Huntz Hall and Leo Gorcey were even older at the time, and they were still “boys”, so what do I know? Rooney produced this one himself, and the story (though not the script) came from Blake Edwards, but for all that, it largely feels like one of the weaker efforts from Abbott and Costello; in fact, it’s very easy to see Costello in the Rooney role and Abbott in the Strauss role. At any rate, this is one fairly weak comedy.
Now, given the fact that it is a comedy, you do expect them to play fast and loose with theories of atomic energy. Let’s take a look at the scientific phenomena on display here.
1) You can survive an atomic blast if you’re hiding in a closet with a peanut butter-sardine-banana sandwich. After your survival, you will be able to endorse peanut butter products.
2) Once you survive the blast, your neutrons will speed up. This will make you talk like one of the Goofy Gophers. This wears off after a while.
3) For your own protection, you must wear a geiger counter wristwatch to keep track of your neutrons. If you kiss someone, this will set them off. This will cause fires to spontaneously light up in the fireplace.
4) Another side effect of having survived a nuclear blast is that slot machines will automatically cough up all their winnings to you.
Foreign agents will want to know these secrets, so keep your mouth shut.