That’s how Gail Andress remembers the nuclear testing 65 miles northwest of Las Vegas in the early 1950s. He and his wife Donna, now both in their 80s, regularly watched the much-celebrated detonations that could be felt as far away as Los Angeles. There were blinding flashes, multi-kiloton fireballs, mushroom clouds and subsequent bursts of air skirting outward. The explosions became a tourist draw, and cars rolled in from far away to witness them.
“It was absolutely brilliant,” Andress says. “It looked like the sun come up again. It lit the whole area. We were assured there wasn’t going to be a problem. It was real interesting. It was an attraction.”