On This Day…

Live TV Coverage of Nuclear Blast

March 17, 1953

As part of Operation Upshot-Knothole, the Annie testAnnie test was broadcast live on national TV. Annie was detonated from a 300-foot tower with a yield of 16 kilotons in Area 3 of Yucca Flat, Nevada. Reporters were allowed to view the detonation from 12 kilometers (7.5 miles) south of the shot. This began a series of tests on the effects on people, housing, and automobileseffects on people, housing, and automobiles in the area of the blasts.
During this series of tests, more than a thousand U.S. troops were exposed to the nuclear blast tests. Their mission was to determine if solders would still take orders after begin exposed to an atomic explosion.
The movie The Conqueror, starring John Wayne as Genghis Khan, was shot downwind of one of the tests in this series, and has been blamed for the cancer deaths of its stars, including Wayne, and many others of the cast and crew. By 1980, of the 220 members of the cast and crew, 91 of them had developed some form of cancer and 46 had died of the disease.