Manhattan; WGM’s New Original Series

the Let me start off by stating that Los Alamos is my hometown, it’s where I grew up, it’s where my family legacy is and I have spent many years diligently researching its history and that of its founder J. Robert Oppenheimer. I moved there when I was six years old in 1967 well after the Manhattan Project and Project Y but I have more than several social media friends who grew up there during this time and have personal knowledge of what it was like to live there  which I do not doubt nor question. That being said let me first say that I am not only disappointed but disgusted and angered with this television series. Now before anyone responds by commenting that this show is not supposed to be factual which it clearly advertises let me say this, then they should not use the name Los Alamos, PO Box 1663, The Manhattan Project or J. Robert Oppenheimer. They did state in their trailer of the show that the characters would be based on a combination of actual people and actual events however. But if this is supposed to be fictional then they should not mention Hitler or Japan or anything to do with actual events of World War II. On a side note why do they bother to use fictional names of all the other scientists working on the bomb if they use Oppenheimer’s. They also use the real names of The Gadget and Thin Man (which was the original name of the Fat Man bomb). If they went to the trouble of researching deep enough to know about Thin Man they could have done better elsewhere. They place the show in Los Alamos New Mexico and refer to the only known name of the town as the factual name of PO Box 1663. This makes no sense but on to more important issues. Because the do refer to the whole thing as The Manhattan Project and because they do have Oppenheimer as the head of it there is enough reference to factual events and persons that those that do not know the history of Los Alamos and the bombs are going to associate these non factual people and events with real ones and most will assume that this show at least loosely represents the truth when in fact the before mentioned names are the only facts and truth of the show.

I am going to specify events from the show and then present what really happened or what never did happen along with things that I don’t believe would have happened based on my knowledge of Los Alamos. I also must point out why I feel so strongly about certain misrepresentations.

1. – This personally the biggest offense of all, admittedly because I have such a fondness and a soft spot for the man us locals lovingly call Oppie. The character of Oppenheimer is presented as aloof and non approachable not to mention anything but hands on which is far from the truth. Oppie though notoriously arrogant and short of patience prior to his assignment as head of the Manhattan Project was a different man when he took his position there. He was known to be not only approachable by his fellow scientists but by their wives and children. He was known to officiate at weddings and host endless parties at Fuller Lodge where he was always surrounded by admiring females and friends who loved him for his charm, his wit and his undeniable charisma. He was known to have an open door policy for his fellow scientists absolutely practiced the philosophy that knowledge should be shared and he encouraged the asking of and answering of questions from everybody within the scientific community. What angers me about his portrayal is that one of Oppies greatest legacies was his ability to assemble a group of the greatest scientific minds from around the world and create a highly collaborative group that had a common goal that was unprecedented and never before or since accomplished.  This leads me to number two…

2. – The scientists in the show are constantly fighting, back stabbing, resentful and just plain nasty towards each other. It was the very fact that the real scientists that were worked on the bombs worked so well together that this project came to be completed so smoothly and so quickly. Now, the fighting and competition in the show is mainly between two groups who are competing with each other to have their design for a plutonium bomb become The Gadget and then be chosen to work on Thin Man’. These two groups are also fighting over the plutonium that they needed to build these bombs.  One of my biggest points of contention to do with the history of building the bomb or dropping the bomb  is the phrase ‘the bomb’.  More often than not it is only Hiroshima that is remembered and more often than not is the belief that it was Fat Man was dropped there when the fact is there were three bombs that were successfully built; The Gadget, Fat Man and Little Boy (Thin Man was abandoned due to contaminated plutonium and redesigned as Little Boy using Uranium).  The Gadget was the first atomic bomb ever used when tested in White Sands New Mexico at what is now known as Trinity Site and Little Boy was the first atomic bomb ever used in war when it was dropped on Hiroshima on August 6th 1945. Fat Man was the plutonium bomb and was dropped on the city of Nagasaki on August 9th 1945, 3 days after Little Boy. Now I don’t have any proof or even any documentation to prove this but I also have never read or heard that there was such fierce competition between teams of scientists of the Manhattan project let alone petty bickering and backstabbing.

3. – I highly doubt any Native American would have traded peyote for sanitary napkins, peyote is sacred to them.

4. – In episode 3 they had the wives working the switchboards and monitoring phone calls between residents to listen for ‘flagged’ words of phrases that they were to report to the powers that be if they heard them. I seriously doubt that surveillance jobs of phone conversations for protection of national security would have been entrusted to any civilians.


. – In episode 2 the Chinese American spy was shot by a Private at the gates of Los Alamos when trying to leave with classified documents. First I don’t believe that a Private would ever have been posted at the entrance gates. This was a town that even the President who though was aware of the project did not know of its location and nobody in his administration not even the vice president knew it existed. Everyone I mean everyone had to have a badge and security clearance to enter those gates and I highly doubt the responsibility of this would be given to a Private. Secondly I am pretty sure that once this supposed spy was accused of being a spy he never would have been left to leave at the very least without so much as a vehicle search. The character took a guards gun and escaped without so much as a fire alarm going off? Wouldn’t have happened I think it’s a pretty safe bet that the military would have had him down by the time he got to his room, got the documents he was taking, got into his car and then sat there and argued with the MP’s at the gate to let him leave. Now more importantly, it is my opinion that this character on a scientist named Wen Ho Lee, I say this because there is no record of any Chinese scientists ever working on the Manhattan Project or of being accused let alone convicted of being a spy except Lee  who worked at Los Alamos National Laboratories in the 90’s and was accused of espionage. He was however only convicted of one count of misusing classified documents and is still alive today. Those who may know of this man and his actions but not the details could easily confuse fact from fiction.

This show is simply put written by revisionist historians who, though their intent may not be to misinform are doing exactly that about a part of history that should never never never be anything but learned from.


Inglorius Bastards


As much as I love Quentin Tarantino I have major issues with this film. I will start with the end. SPOILER ALERT! Hitler is not murdered by a Jewish woman who traps him in a movie theater that she sets on fire resulting in burning Hitler to death.

There are certain historical events that no one should take artistic license with and anything to do with Hitler is no exception. I admittedly have issues with any filmmaker who rewrites history because in this day and age too many younger people, well people in general are lazy when it comes to learning things. In this I want information yesterday age movies and videos are often times the only source of historical information they will learn. Even many teachers use media as a teaching aid and would probably do so more if there were enough film that was historically accurate.

On with this film. There is no hint whatsoever of the crimes against humanity Hitler is guilty of, only one scene shows a farmer hiding a family under his living room floor who get gunned down save one when found by an SS officer. The survivor goes on to inherit a movie theater that you guessed it she uses to cook Adolph. I personally think it very much makes the Jews look like evil people. I think this is very dangerous, not just wrong but dangerous. It is brilliant as a new age propaganda film that Hitler would be proud of to tell you the truth.

I do not recommend this film.

The Movie Troy and where it went wrong

First off this war lasted for 12 years.

Second off, Particles is not the younger cousin or nephew of Achilles, he is an older man and Achilles best friend.

Third, Hector does not slay Menelaus after Paris is beaten by him. Helen reunites with him and the Gods send them to a remote Island where Menelaus is blind and there is no one to admire Helens beauty for the rest of her life.

Fourth, Achilles does not take Perseus as his captive he takes a slave girl from another village.

Fifth, Hector does not slay Ajax. Hector is severely injured by Ajax early in the first year of the war and does not recover for 5 years.

Sixth, Paris is poisoned by his wife and does not live to shoot the arrow into Achilles heal, The God Apollo disguised as Paris shoots the arrow, remember Achilles cannot be killed by a mortal man and he did piss Apollo off when he cut off the statues head.

Seventh, The Gods are very much in the middle of the entire battle.

The Disappointment of The Lord of The Rings

Where do I start….I understand when parts of a book cannot be put in the movie. I understand certain changes have to be made to go from novel to screenplay. What I DON’T understand is why they changed the story. I mean REALLY CHANGE the story.

I was hesitant when The Fellowship of The Ring came out. As a lifelong fan of Tolkien, I first read The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings at 12 and have reread them dozens of times in my life. I knew what an enormous undertaking it would be to make these books into movies that would do them justice. I loved it. I loved the casting choices, the location chosen, the costumes and the special effects. I was a little disappointed at the exclusion of Tom Bombadil, as he is one of my favorite characters. I noticed the exclusion of the time the hobbits spent ‘asleep’ in the Barrow Downs but that chapter wasn’t the most exciting so I didn’t miss it but I understood the time and length issue and saw the logic in the choices as neither chapters were crucial to the story, except that excluding these chapters did ‘shorten’ how long it took the Hobbits to get to Bree and how long Sauraman had to build his armies, how long Sauron had to spread darkness over Middle Earth and how long Gandalf was held captive at Orthanc, how long Elrond had been waiting for Frodo and how long Strider had been searching for them, which was about a year or so. I was again disappointed at the exclusion of Sam’s first encounter with the elves which was before they even left the borders of Hobbiton. This first encounter is the motivation for Sam because he realized that whatever evil was lurking out there it was driving the Elves to leave Middle Earth and Sam wasn’t going to let that happen. Seeing the elves is what got Sam to go along on this ‘journey’. This first encounter changes Sam’s childlike awe to a child’s worst fear. This encounter changes Sam from childlike gardener to Frodo’s protector. This encounters change’s Sam childlike trust and sets the tone for his encounter with Elrond, Legolas and Galadriel. This encounter changes Sam.

I Didn’t understand why they decided to change from Glorfindal being the one to ride Frodo across the river not Arwen, why they had Arwen summon the ‘horses’ in the river that washed the Riders away when it was Gandalf. I don’t know why they left out that Galadriel gives the Hobbits Elvin cloaks that make them seem invisible. I felt they should have at least mentioned Gwaihir’s name when Gandalf told of his rescue from the top of Orthanc and I felt that the story of how Samwise came to have Bill was important as it was the first harsh reality check for Sam as to the cruelty of man which made Sam feel guilty for sending Bill back to Bree on his own. Which is what happened, Bill didn’t get killed by the Monster in the Lake in from of Moria. And the time spent in the Mines was not a couple of days but weeks, weeks of fighting, no food or water and lots of encounters with Orcs and Trolls. Nevertheless I still thoroughly enjoyed the first movie.

I waited for the next year for The Two Towers. Let’s not sweat the small stuff, there’s too much big stuff here. First, the explanation of how Gandalf reappears in The Two Towers is nothing short of lame. I think it matters because it gives to the wisdom, power and authority of the Wizard within all of Middle Earth. Without it he seemed less prominent. Next is how Gandalf came to have Shadowfax, who was actually King Théoden’s horse. Théoden being thankful to Gandalf for freeing him from Sauraman and instead of riding to the defense of Gondor he tells Gandalf he will help by giving him any horse in the stables to speed his journey. Gandalf knowing which horse was the Kings chose the magnificent steed because Théoden would not ride into battle to defend Gondor.

The importance of the Palintir being found by Merry was completely lost. Then there is Sauraman and Grima Wormtongue. Sauraman does not die in the second book. They wrote falling to his death and killing Grima, it never happened. Gandalf takes pity on his old master and Grima and decides to exile them in each other’s miserable company leaving them to wander Middle Earth as beggars. Now this is where I realized that the ending could not be the same.

I went ahead and went to The Return of the King after waiting another year.

Aragorn decides to fulfill his destiny after Elrond presents him with the re-forged sword of Isuldur and takes The Path of the Dead on the eve of battle. This was completely understated. Aragorn went alone and was gone for a long time. Then when Ewoyn kills the Witch King she is severely injured. Aragorn, being the one true King was the only one who possesses the skill to heal her wounds. He spends days by her side sending lots of people to collect all the Kings Foil for miles and miles. Along with Eowyn was Merry laying injured besides her also needing Aragorn’s healing as his injury was also from the Witch King.

And now for the worst offense yet, the ending. The main ‘point’, ‘moral’, ‘theme’, whatever you want to call it, Frodo’s only motivation for his even leaving the Shire was very simple. He didn’t care about the rest of the World. He only cared about saving the Shire. The movie has a happy ending with all four hobbits returning home to the Shire and pretty much resuming their lives as though nothing happened, until of course Bilbo and Frodo do of the Nine Fingers, a name given him after Gollum bites of the ring finger, set sail across the seas with the Elves. That’s Hollywood’s ending.

Here’s Tolkien’s ending.

After Aragorn is crowned King of Gondor, Frodo and Sam begin their journey home. Pippin is now a Rider of Rohan under King Eomer and Merry is a soldier of Gondor and they are granted leave to protect the Ring Bearer on his journey home but are expected to return to duty right afterwards. On their journey Frodo and Sam hear rumors of an old man and a wretched companion wandering the lands begging. On the journey home they have a brief encounter with the raggedy old man of rumor, with Sauraman. Underestimating the hatred of the once powerful Wizard causes the two Hobbits to take pity on him and leave him to his punishment of beggary. The Hobbits finally reach the Shire. Or what was the Shire. All the Hobbits have been enslaved or slaughtered. Sam’s Old Gaffer has been chained and whipped, Rosie has become Sauraman’s slave, the hillsides and greenery have been burned away and Bag End is occupied by Grima Wormtongue. Two whole chapters it takes for the four companions to free the Hobbit slaves, and to do battle the angry Wizard. Frodo himself slays Sauraman. However the Shire isn’t the same and this is the reason Frodo and Bilbo decide to sail away with the Elves, they lost the heart for their home.

Frodo it turns out had saved the world but lost the Shire. The very heart of the story.

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