"Atomic Attack" is a Cold War/McCarthy Era gem that reflects the American mentality in the grip of Communist paranoia and daily fear of nuclear annihilation. Director Ralph Nelson uses this situation masterfully to dramatize that Americans have the "right stuff" and are strengthened rather than demoralized in times of great danger and hardship. It is a paean to the traditional American values that were put to the test in the "Nuclear Age" of 1954 just as again today in the "New Age of Terror". The typical -- and typically flawless -- American family in "Atomic Attack" confirms these traditional values as the initial shock of the atomic attack wears off and the terrifying reality of the radioactive aftermath sets in -- as evidenced by the chilling use of the daughter's stuffed animal as the "contaminator" in the family. Unwittinglythe girl has left her teddy bear outside and brings it into the house only AFTER the nuclear explosion -- unbeknownst to the family. A tense drama unfolds that tests the mettle of the family and the neigborhood. Of course, all are able to survive the catastrophe due to heroism, cooperation and patriotism. If anyone doubts that B&W TV of the mid-1950s can remain "current", one only has to substitute Arab terrorists for Soviet Communists and the screenplay is already written for an all too contemporary drama.
If you enjoy apocalyptic stories, you shold also watch the episode of the TV series "Medic" (also from the early 1950s) entitled "World War III" -- a precursor to the 1980s fiolm "The Day After" with Jason Robards. What goes around, comes around -- proof positive that TV does mirror its times and -- like history itself -- is doomed to repeat itself!moreless