Miss Atomic Bomb 1957
Inspired by the cultural phenomena, Las Vegas decided to combine two of its major attractions – nuclear bombs and showgirls – into a beauty contest.
Nevada became the center of the nation’s eye during the 1950s after President Harry S. Truman authorized a 680-square mile section of the Nellis Air Force Gunnery and Bombing Range for nuclear bomb testing. As each atomic blast lit up the Nevada scenery public interest increased. So much so that Americans around the country witnessed the first televised atomic blast in 1952. Atomic bomb fever began to infiltrate every aspect of society, from household goods to football teams naming themselves the “Atoms.”
Copa Room showgirl Lee Merlin, crowned “Miss Atomic Bomb 1957.”
Perhaps the most famous “Miss Atomic Bomb” was Copa Showgirl Lee A. Merlin. She was crowned, coinciding with Operation Pumbbob, while wearing a cotton mushroom cloud on the front of her swimsuit. The popular photograph by Don English was distributed nationally. She was the last “Miss Atomic Bomb.”