Cold war and nuclear fears had been ramping up for years, when President John F. Kennedy took to the tube on October 6, 1961, to suggest that American families build bomb shelters to protect them from atomic fallout when those pesky Communists of the Soviet Union attacked the Homeland with their nuclear missiles. Just a year later, the Cuban Missile Crisis raised the stakes even higher.
While folks like Nelson Rockefeller and Edward Teller were outlining grandiose plans for an enormous network of concrete lined underground fallout shelters to shelter millions of people, civil defense authorities were talking up concrete block basement shelters that could be constructed by home handifolk for a couple of hundred bucks. Exactly how much protection they might actually provide was an open question.
Most people calmed down during the mid-1960s, and fallout shelters pretty much went the way of duck and cover. They were converted into wine cellars, recreation rooms or mushroom gardens. For others, the fallout shelter notion has been kept alive by internet sites devoted to nuclear hysteria. You can survive a nuclear or dirty bomb attack, shouts one such site. It will not be the end of the world. But, you must be prepared!
Being prepared naturally involves purchasing a fallout shelter from one of the many firms that still market them — Acme Survival Shelters, Hardened Structures Inc., Safecastle. Taking it over the top is a company called Zombie Gear whose motto is Be prepared for anything.
This Train Don’t Carry No Robbers
The Ohio & Mississippi train was chugging along through Indiana on October 6, 1866, when it was boarded by a nefarious outlaw gang known as the Reno brothers. The gang wasn’t just hitching a ride, it was robbing the train. This was unheard of. Never before had a moving train been robbed; holdups had always taken place on trains sitting at stations or freight yards. This daring first netted the gang $10,000, and there would be more to follow.
The concept quickly caught on. There were vast isolated areas, plenty of places to hide, and little law enforcement in the U.S. West. Pretty soon everyone was robbing trains. Eventually, railroad owners got wise, using fortified boxcars and deploying armed guards, but the bad guys had a few very good years. The Reno gang which consisted of four Reno brothers and some of their pals had two good years before they were caught and came to an untimely end at the hands of a vigilante mob, another fun part of the Old West.
Gentlemen, you can’t fight in here! This is the War Room. — President Merkin Muffley (Peter Sellers) in Dr. Stranglove