Strategic Air Command


Dr. Strangelove
Dr. Strangelove
or how I learned to stop worrying and love the BOMB
      Dr. Strangelove is considered by many veterans to be the most accurate film every made about SAC, at least in terms of depicting air crews and how they respond to adversity.  Of course the pilot, Major Kong (King Kong), played by Slim Pickens, wears a cowboy hat.  It does not contain any whining wives, but does address the insanity of the Cold War.
       It begins with a B-52 on airborne alert.  The 24 hour flights were really boring!  Slim Pickens is almost asleep. Another crew member has his feet propped up while he scan the latest issue of Playboy. 
      Meanwhile, back at their base, the wing commander, Major Jack E. Ripper, played by Sterling Hayden, has gone mad.  Seems as if his sexual performance fell below customary standards and this led him to conclude it was the result of fluoride being added to our water.  He is convinced it is part of the communist conspiracy to take over the world. n our water.  He responds by ordering the six bombers of his wing on airborne alert to attack the Soviet Union.  He then calls SAC headquarters and tells the duty officer what he has done, then adds, "You can stop them, so you'd better send the rest of SAC in after them."
     The scene then switches to the Pentagon's huge underground War Room, a murky, cavernous room with a round conference table and a massive graphic display strategic map lit to indicate the progress of the bomber wing planes to their Russian targets. Lights illuminate the room from above in a circle, casting a glow over the assembled egghead 'Adlai Stevenson-like' President, Merkin Muffley and his idiosyncratic advisers at a huge round table. The President and his advisers, scramble to stop the impending nuclear Armageddon. Unfortunately, the bombers are ordered to maintain radio silence and the only man who can recall the planes is the insane general Ripper.
      The versatile English actor, Peter Sellers, plays Major Mandrake, an RAF attached to General Rippers headquarter, the President and Dr. Strangelove.
      Muffley then consults with a wheelchair-bound German nuclear scientist (ex-Nazi "kraut" formerly named Merwerdich-liebe, literally meaning "strange-love") and U.S. weapons strategist, Dr. Strangelove. With thick dark glasses, Strangelove, director of weapons research and development, also has a black-gloved mechanical, robotic right hand which shakily holds his cigarette. Strangelove, who epitomizes the mad scientist is often unable to control his body, especially his arm which jumps to attention at inopportune moments.
      Finally retaking the base, British exchange officer, Lionel Mandrake discovers the code to withdraw the B-52's and prevent the triggering of the "Doomsday Device." However one B-52 was damaged and it never receives the recall order. Unwilling to concede defeat the crew of the "Leper Colony" flies under radar cover to its target, only to be unable to launch its missiles. Finally, riding the missile to its target in Russia, Major Kong, exemplifies the American cowboy image. Unable to stop the Doomsday Device, the movie ends with numerous shots of mushroom clouds set to the light World War II song, "We'll Meet Again."

Quotes from the film

Dr. Strangelove: Based on the findings of the report, I concluded that such a device would not be a practical deterrent for reasons which at this moment must seem all too obvious.

Ripper: Mandrake, do you recall what Clemenseau once said about war?
Mandrake: No, I don't think I do, sir, no.
Ripper: He said that war was too important to be left up to the generals. When he said that, 50 years ago, he might have been right. But today, war is too important to be left to politicians. They have neither the time, the training, nor the inclination for strategic thought.

General Turgidson: Tell you what you do, baby: you just start your countdown, and old Bucky will be back before you can say "Blast off!"

General Jack D. Ripper: Mandrake, do you realize that in addition to fluoridating water, why there are studies underway to fluoridate salt, flour, fruit juices, soup, sugar, milk... ice cream. Ice cream, Mandrake, children's ice cream.
Group Captain Lionel Mandrake: Lord, Jack.
Ripper: You know when fluoridation first began?
Mandrake: Aye, no, no. I don't Jack.
Ripper: Nineteen hundred and forty-six. Nineteen forty-six Mandrake. How does that coincide with your post-war Commie conspiracy, huh? Its incredibly obvious isn't it. A foreign substance is introduced into our precious bodily fluids without the knowledge of the individual. Certainly without any choice. That's the way your hard-core Commie works.
Mandrake: Uh, Jack, Jack, listen, tell me, tell me, Jack. When did you first...become...
well, develop this theory?
Ripper: Well, I, uh...I...I...first became aware of it, Mandrake, during the physical act of love.
Mandrake: Hmm.
Ripper: Yes, a uh, a profound sense of fatigue...a feeling of emptiness followed. Luckily I...I was able to interpret these feelings correctly. Loss of essence.
Mandrake: Hmm.
Ripper: I can assure you that it has not recurred, Mandrake. Women uh...women sense my power and they seek the life essence. I do not avoid women, Mandrake.
Mandrake: No.
Ripper: But I...I do deny them my essence.

Major T. J. "King" Kong: Goldie, how many times have I told you guys that I don't want no horsing around on the airplane.

Major T. J. "King" Kong: Now I've been to one world fair, a picnic and a rodeo and that's the stupidest thing I've heard come over a set of earphones. Are you sure you got today's codes?

Major T. J. "King" Kong: Now boys I reckon this is it...nuclear combat toe to toe with the Ruskies.

Major T. J. "King" Kong: Look boys I ain't much of a hand at making speeches, but I got a pretty fair idea that something doggoned important is goin' on back there. And I got a fair idea the kinda personal emotions that some of you fellas may be thinkin'. Heck, I reckon you wouldn't even be human beings if you didn't have some pretty strong personal feelings about nuclear combat. I want you to remember one thing, the folks back at home are counting on you and by golly we ain't about to let them down. I tell you something else, if this thing turns out to be half as important as I figure it just might be, I'd say that you're all in line for some important promotions and personal citations when this thing is over with. That goes for ever' last one of you regardless of your race, color or creed. Now let's get this thing on the hump...we got some flying to do.

Major T.J. "King" Kong: Well boys, we've got three engines out, we've got more holes in us than a horse trader's mule, the radio is gone and we're leaking fuel and if we was flying any lower why we'd need sleigh bells on this thing...but we've got one thing on those Ruskies. At this height why thy might harpoon us but they dang sure ain't gonna spot us on no radar screen!

Mandrake: Colonel! Colonel, I must know what you think has been going on here!
Guano: You wanna know what I think?
Mandrake: Yes!
Guano: I think you're some kind of deviated prevert. I think General Ripper found out about your preversion, and you were organizing some kind of mutiny of preverts. Now MOVE!!

Mandrake: Colonel...that Coca Cola machine. I want you to shoot the lock off it. There may be some
change in there.
Guano: That's private property.
Mandrake: Colonel! Can you possibly imagine what is going to happen to you, your frame outlook way of life and everything, when they learn that you have obstructed a telephone call to the President of the United States? Can you imagine?! Shoot it off! Shoot! With a gun! That's what the bullets are for you twit!!
Guano: Okay. I'm gonna get your money for ya. But if you don't get the President of the United States on that phone, you know what's gonna happen to you?
Mandrake: What?!
Guano: You're gonna have to answer to the Coca Cola company.

General Jack Ripper: I can longer sit back and allow communist infiltration, communist indoctrination, communist perversion and the international communist conspiracy to sap and impurify all of our precious bodily fluids.

General "Buck" Turgidson: I don't think it's quite fair to condemn the whole program because of a single slip up.

General "Buck" Turgidson: I'm not saying we wouldn't get our hair mussed. But I do say no more than ten to twenty million killed, tops. Uh, depending on the breaks.

Major T. J. "King" Kong: Survival kit contents check. In them you'll find: one 45 caliber automatic, two boxes of ammunition, four days concentrated emergency rations, one drug issue containing antibiotics, morphine, vitamin pills, pep pills, sleeping pills, tranquilizer pills, one miniature combination Russian phrase book and Bible, one hundred dollars in rubles, one hundred in gold, nine packs of chewing gum, one issue of prophylactics, three lipsticks, three pairs of nylon stockings. Shoot! A fella could have a pretty good weekend in Vegas with all that stuff.

General "Buck" Turgidson: Gee, I wish we had one of them doomsday machines.

The President: That's mass murder, not war!

The President: You can't fight in here, this is the War Room!

The President to the Soviet Premier over the red phone: Hullo? ... Ah ... Hello, Dm... ah ... Hello, Dmitri? ... Listen, ah, I can't hear too well. Do you suppose you could turn down the music just a little? ... Oh-ho, that's much better. ... yeah ... ha ... yes ... Fine, I can hear you now, Dmitri. ... Clear and plain and coming through fine. ... I'm coming through fine, too, eh? ... Good, then ... well, then, as you say, we're both coming trough fine. ... Good. ... Well, it's good that you're fine and ... and I'm fine. ... I agree with you, it's great to be fine. ... a-ha-ha-ha-ha.   Now then, Dmitri, you know how we've always talked about the possibility of something going wrong with the bomb. ... The bomb , Dmitri. ... The hydrogen bomb! ... Well now, what happened is ... ah ... one of our base commanders had a sort of ... well, he went a little funny in the head ... you know ... just a little ... funny. And, ah ... he went and did a silly thing. ... Well, I'll tell you what he did. He ordered his planes ... to attack your country... Ah... Well, let me finish, Dmitri. ... Let me finish, Dmitri. ... Well listen, how do you think I feel about it?! ... Can you imaginehow I feel about it, Dmitri? ... Why do you think I'm calling? Just to say hello? ... Of courseI like to speak to you! ... Of courseI like to say hello! ... Not now, but anytime, Dmitri. I'm just calling up to tell you something terrible has happened... It'sa friendly call. Of course it's a friendly call. ... Listen, if it wasn't friendly ... you probably wouldn't have even got it. ... They will not reach their targets for at least another hour. ... I am ... I am positive, Dmitri. ... Listen, I've been all over this with your ambassador. It is not a trick. ... Well, I'll tell you.   We'd like to give your air staff a complete run-down on the targets, the flight plans, and the defensive systems of the planes. ... Yes! I mean i-i-i-if we're unable to recall the planes, then ... I'd say that, ah ... well, ah ... we're just gonna have to help you destroy them, Dmitri. ... I know they're our boys. ... All right, well listen now. Who should we call? ... Who should we call, Dmitri? The ... wha-whe, the People... you, sorry, you faded away there. ... The People's Central Air Defense Headquarters. ... Where is that, Dmitri? ... In Omsk. ... Right. ... Yes. ... Oh, you'll call them first, will you? ... Uh-hu ... Listen, do you happen to have the phone number on you, Dmitri? ... Whe-ah, what? I see, just ask for Omsk information. ... Ah-ah-eh-uhm-hm ... I'm sorry, too, Dmitri. ... I'm very sorry. ... All right , you're sorrier than I am, but I am as sorry as well. ... I am as sorry as you are, Dmitri! Don't say that you're the more sorry than I am, because I'm capable of being just as sorry as you are. ... So we're both sorry, all right?! ... All right. ...