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Walt Disney's Story of 'Our Friend the Atom' [1956] - click to enlarge

"Our Friend the Atom" by Heinz Haber
A DE LUXE GOLDEN BOOK
Simon and Schuster New York
Walt Disney Productions
First Edition copyright 1956
$4.95
Walt Disney's classic 1956 indoctrination tool that nearly every American of a certain age remembers reading in school (in between duck and cover drills, of course). One of the first examples of commercial "synergy," this book was a tie-in to the film of the same name as well as an exhibit at Disneyland's Tomorrowland. All three projects sought to present the cheerful, non-destructive side of the atom in entertaining and, in hindsight, absurdly naive ways.
CONELRAD is currently developing a new feature entitled "Kold War for Kids" in which "Our Friend the Atom" figures prominently. We encourage our readers to submit their cultural and educational recollections of growing up during this era. We'd particularly like to hear from those of you who remember the ways in which the Cold War was explained to you by parents, teachers, and, especially, Madison Avenue.
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From the Dust Jacket:

This book is the literary counterpart of the Walt Disney motion picture "Our Friend the Atom" which was first released on the Disneyland TV program. The story tells how atomic science began, and how knowledge of the atom's energy finally emerged as the result of much effort. The characters of the story are the great minds of the past who contributed to our modern atomic science. These men and women come to life, and they add a warm human feeling to the story. As the tale evolves, atomic science is handed down from one generation of scientists to the next, and as we follow their reasoning, the knowledge of the atom unfolds with compelling clarity. The atom is easily understood through this simple and fascinating presentation and the appealing illustrations. This book tells the story of the atom, from the first speculations of Democritus to the beginnings of atomic power today. It gives close-up views of

Roentgen seeing his hand in the first X-ray picture...
Rutherford bombarding the atom to find its nucleus...
The Curies searching for radioactive elements...
Einstein working out the equivalence of mass and energy...
...and, in more recent years, the scientists of many nations assembling atomic reactors for the world of the future.

About the Publisher and Author:

Walt Disney
The story behind Our Friend the Atom is connected with Tomorrowland - the section of Disneyland which is dedicated to the future. When Walt Disney created Disneyland Park at Anaheim, California, and launched his Disneyland TV program, he included in both an impressive projection of the future life of man as it would be shaped by the fabulous achievements of science. In Tomorrowland, Walt Disney intends to show the public--particularly the younger generation--that science is the new frontier of our time, capable of leading mankind along the peaceful paths of progress, and that man's recent mastery of atomic energy holds a most exciting promise for the future.

Dr. Heinz Haber
Dr. Heinz Haber was born in Germany, where he received his Ph.D. degree in physics and astronomy from the University of Berlin. In 1947 he came to the United States as a research scientist with the Air Force School of Aviation Medicine, where he won recognition as co-founder of the new field of research: space medicine. In 1952 he joined the University of Southern California faculty. The author of several books and numerous scientific papers, as well as a number of magazine articles, Dr. Haber is now associated with the Walt Disney Studio, working on Tomorrowland shows for the Disneyland TV program.


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