How the US government killed lots of American Citizens with cancer, while telling them all was well. Hollywood and the downwinders still grapple with nuclear fallout | Film | The Guardian.
This is a story about cancer. About how the United States turned swathes of the desert radioactive during the cold war and denied it, bequeathing a medical mystery which to this day haunts Hollywood and rural Mormon communities and raises a thorny question: how much should you trust the government?
The Hollywood connection is via the (really, really bad) John Wayne film, The Conqueror. And yes it is really bad. Almost as bad as Plan Nine for Outer Space. But the reason that it is famous, is for the number of people who came down with cancer. 41 percent of the cast and crew came down with cancer. So did both of John Wayne’s sons who were present during filming.
And then, as years passed and cast and crew fell sick, it acquired a darker reputation. Powell got lymph cancer and died in 1963. “It got him pretty quickly,” said Norman. The same year Pedro Armendáriz, a Mexican actor who played Khan’s right-hand man, Jamuga, shot himself after being diagnosed with terminal cancer. Hayward, who played a Tartar princess, died of brain cancer in 1975.
By the time Wayne succumbed to stomach cancer in 1979, The Conqueror had been dubbed an RKO Radioactive Picture. His sons Patrick and Michael battled – and survived – their own cancer scares. Whether out of guilt or some other reason, Hughes bought up all the copies of The Conqueror and reputedly watched it every night in his final, reclusive years.
Go read the whole thing. Then let’s talk about government truth-telling. (I’m sure the NSA stopped tracking all of that data that Congress told them to stop tracking. They said so.)
(Via Earth-bound Misfit.)