Living in a Nuclear Age

The following story is from the National Compendium of 4-H Promotion and Visibility on the National 4-H History website at

Nuclear_Age_Tri-Fold[1]“Living in a Nuclear Age” was the first national 4-H television series designed specifically for youth in their teens. It became available early in 1973. The high energy six half-hour shows featured animated cartoon characters and the atomic sounds of Herbie Mann, Ray Brown and Barney Kessel (Columbia Studios, Hollywood) in original music compositions such as “Neutron Analytics,” “Pieces of Atoms,” and “Isotope Walk.” The animated character “Ion” was voiced by Mel Blanc (also the voice of Bugs Bunny).

The series was designed to explore not only the scientific information but the problems resulting from our move into the “Nuclear Age.” The show titles included: Discovering the Atom, Power from the Atom, Radioisotopes, Nuclear Energy and Living Things, Society and Things Nuclear, and Bombarding Things. A members’ manual and leaders’ guide accompanied the series along with other supportive materials.

The series was planned and designed by the National 4-H TV Development Committee on Civil Defense, and The Kansas State University Development Committee. Films were produced by Extension Film Production, Kansas State University and promotional materials by KSU Extension Service. The film crew traveled to many sections of the country shooting the series, including the Atomic Energy Research Labs of Oak Ridge, Tennessee. The series was distributed by the National 4-H Service Committee, Chicago. The series fit well with the school system’s curriculum relating to atomic energy and also supported the growing national energy crisis, however never reached the viewership numbers of the earlier 4-H nutrition series, Mulligan Stew.

A more thorough history of the Living in a Nuclear Age series can be found on the 4-H History website in the segment on National 4-H Television Series in the National 4-H History Section.


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