In that Twilight Zone episode with the bookworm bank teller, why is--

  • #1
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Main Question or Discussion Point

--there no nuclear fallout after a bunch of nuclear detonations supposedly destroy the world? The man seemingly just walks out of the vault after having retreated to it to read a book on his lunch break, without being affected by any residual radiation. Was nuclear physics not well-developed enough in the late 1950s for the writers of this episode to know that it exists, or is my woefully scant knowledge of physics betraying me once more?
 

Answers and Replies

  • #2
PhanthomJay
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Oh that was a great episode, when he had all the time in the world now to read without being bothered, then he lost his (_______)! It's just a story, that can happen only in the Twilight Zone...….
 
  • #3
DaveC426913
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1. Fallout is fickle, dependent in winds and other factors.
2. Just because he didn't get sick in the story doesn't mean there wasn't fallout. The story ended.
3. It's fantasy.
 
  • #4
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images.jpg
 
  • #5
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Like most if not all Twilight Zone stories, Time enough at Last took rather extensive license regarding plausibility.
 
  • #6
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Last night I happened to see one of my favorite episodes, "Twenty Two." That one scared the bejeepers out of me as a kid. I looked on IMDB and was surprised to learn the creepy nurse was played by Arline Sax [Martel], later to play T'Pring on Star Trek.
 
  • #7
Ibix
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There's an episode of the Twilight Zone where Bill Shatner (and no-one else) can see a gremlin on the wing of the plane he's on. The episode later got remade with John Lithgow. So in the episode of 3rd Rock From the Sun when Dick Solomon (Lithgow) meets the Big Giant Head (Shatner) at the airport there's a brief conversation about seeing something on the wing - "that happened to me, too!"
 
  • #8
DaveC426913
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So in the episode of 3rd Rock From the Sun when Dick Solomon (Lithgow) meets the Big Giant Head (Shatner) at the airport there's a brief conversation about seeing something on the wing - "that happened to me, too!"
Did not know that!
 
  • #9
symbolipoint
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Hey you Twilight Zone and PhysicsForums enthusiasts! Try a search on YouTube for "Twilight Zone Burgess Meredith" and see what interesting videos you might find listed.
 
  • #10
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Pretty sure that the end of the episode happened a mere days after the nuclear war. All he seemed to have time to do was to organize the books he wanted to read. With the exception of acute radiation poisoning from huge doses at once, any negative effects would take a long time to develop, possibly even years.

Also, I think at the time, second generation thermonuclear weapons were much more common than the first gen fission bombs. Fallout only comes from fission, which in these new bombs were only used as a trigger mechanism for the much more powerful fusion stage. A powerful hydrogen bomb probably produces much less fallout than even the Hiroshima bomb.
 
  • #11
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Here's a link to the original story at the Gutenberg Project: Time Enough at Last, by Lyn Venable

[Notice: original 28-year copyright was expired in 1982; if renewed, 28-year renewal was expired in 2010.]
 
  • #12
OCR
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Henry Bemis said:
That's not fair. That's not fair at all. There was time now. There was—was all
the time I needed…! It's not fair! It's not fair!

Time Enough at Last - Wikipedia
.
 
  • #13
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It could've been much worse....

 

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