The Atomic Kid

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The Atomic Kid
The Atomic Kid poster.jpg
Australian theatrical release poster
Directed by Leslie H. Martinson
Produced by Maurice Duke
Mickey Rooney
Written by Blake Edwards
Benedict Freedman
John Fenton Murray
Starring Mickey Rooney
Robert Strauss
Music by Van Alexander
Cinematography John L. Russell
Edited by Fred Allen
Distributed by Republic Pictures
Release dates
December 8, 1954 (1954-12-08)
Running time
86 minutes
Country United States
Language English

The Atomic Kid is a 1954 black-and-white science-fiction comedy film starring Mickey Rooney and directed by Leslie H. Martinson. While a uranium prospector is in the desert he is accidentally exposed to radiation from an atomic bomb test. He becomes radioactive and is recruited by the FBI to help break up a spy ring.

Based on a story by Blake Edwards, the film version was adapted into a comedy.

In this film, Rooney's character "Blix" Waterberry wanders into an atomic test site, and, as one reviewer describes, "Mannequins are depicted sitting around the dinner table in front of their plastic meal, awaiting the predetermined bomb drop... Rooney remains with the mannequin family and discovers at the last minute that an atomic bomb will be detonated over his head. In a deliberately humorous scene, Rooney frantically tries to find a place to hide from the approaching explosion, only to close his eyes and stick his fingers in his ears as the bomb goes off."[1]

Nurse Audrey Nelson (Elaine Devry), who marries "Blix" at the end, is the only female in the entire picture. At the time it was filmed, she was married to Mickey Rooney in real life. This fact appears in the opening credits and on promotional posters. Devry was billed as Elaine Davis.


In popular culture[edit]

  • This is the film showing at the Town Theater in 1955 Hill Valley in the 1985 science fiction comedy Back to the Future. In the original BTTF novel, the character Marty McFly decides to take in a movie when he finds himself transported back to 1955 and chooses The Atomic Kid as opposed to Cattle Queen of Montana at the nearby Essex Theater.


  1. ^ Joyce A. Evans, Celluloid Mushroom Clouds: Hollywood and the Atomic Bomb (Westview Press: 1998), p. 64.


  • Ted Okuda, "The Atomic Kid: Radioactivity Finds Andy Hardy" in Science Fiction America: Essays on SF Cinema (edited by David J. Hogan; McFarland, 2006), pp. 120–129.
  • David Wingrove, Science Fiction Film Source Book (Longman Group Limited, 1985).

External links[edit]