COL. CHARLES SWEENEY, who piloted
the B-29 "The Great Artiste," that dropped the bomb on Nagasaki.
was just one of many men closely associated with the atom homb who
visited Hollywood during the making of "The Beginning Or The End,'
and commented on the imperativeness of the film story. Others included
General Groves, when he inspected ships in Southern California as
they were about to leave for the Bikini Atoll tests, Dr. Harold
C. Urey of the Institute of N Nuclear Studies at the University
of Chicago, Dr. Leo Szilard, prominently connected with the early
stages of the project, and Dr. Oppenheimer.
In addition to Col. Sweeney,
seven other atomic experts came to Hollywood as technical advisors
on every phase of the atomic development. They were the assurance
of an authentic film.
The first to arrive was the man whose
letter had started the whole thing,
Dr. Edward Tompkins. the scientist who had written his suggestion
for an atom bomb picture to Donna Reed, was sent to Hollywood by
the Association of Oak Ridge Scientists. He remained ten weeks,
rendering advice throughout the writing of the script. Joining him
at the studio was another scientist, Dr. W. Bradford Shank of the
Federation of American Scientists, who was associated with the development
at Los Alamos.
Just prior to the start of filming,
two new arrivals from Washington. D. C. were Dr. Henry T. Wensel,
on leave from the Bureau of Standards, and Col. William Consodine.
who, as a deputy in charge of Security and Public Relations, served
as an aide to General Groves. Later they were joined by a fourth
scientist, Dr. David Hawkins, an associate of Dr. Oppenheimer at
the University of California and at Los Alamos. His advice on the
filming of the atom bomb explosion on the New Mexico desert, as
well as on vital research scenes in the Los Alamos laboratories,
was considered invaluable.
An Army foursome to work alongside
scientific advisors, in much the same
cooperative manner that they did during the war, was completed with
the appearance of Major Glen W. Landreth, who was on Tinian when
the bombers took off for Japan, Major Paul Van Sloun, who visited
Hiroshima and viewed what remained of the Jap city, and Col. Sweeney.
This corps of technical advisors,
believed the largest ever employed on a motion picture. was unanimous
in commending Hollywood for its all-out effort to make a picture
in keeping with the importance of its subject. Dr, Wensel, who as
Chief of the Technical Division of the Manhattan District and Technical
Aide to the Chairman of the Office of Scientific Research and Development
toured every major atomic installation in the country, was particularly
impressed, both with Hollywood's effort and with the urgent need
for such a film..