Larry Cassingham, Detectron and Hollywood

Movie Publicity Photo

Actors Mickey Rooney (right) and the late Robert Strauss clown around with a model DG-7 Geiger counter in this publicity still for Republic Pictures' 1954 sci-fi film "The Atomic Kid"

     "We even made it into the movies back then," continues Cassingham.  "They used Geiger counters as props in many sci-fi films.  Next time you see an old movie about a radioactive monster, meteorite, or atomic fallout, watch for our Geiger counters.  Sometimes they'll show a close-up.  In movies such as The Brain From Planet Arous, you can see the name Detectron when they show the count-meter reacting to the radiation.

     "I also served as Technical Director on some films, such as Zombies from the Stratosphere with Leonard Nimoy, and The Atomic Kid with Mickey Rooney and Robert Strauss.  I remember arguing with various movie directors. They often wanted more drama, and I wanted more technical accuracy. I usually lost!"

     By 1956 the uranium boom was pretty much over, and radiation detection equipment was in much lower demand.  However, the other metal detection products in the Detectron line were still selling well.

     "I received an urgent call from a manager at Los Angeles International Airport," Cassingham remembers. "Seems they were having a problem with a segment of runway lights, and wondered if any of our detectors could help them locate a broken power conduit.  I drove down there with a Model 505 Pipe and Cable Detector, and found the problem pretty quickly.  I don't remember what caused the break, but I remember my fee: $150!"

     Detectron did have a "first" of sorts, in one of its products.  That product, a transistor AM radio, was the first such radio that used standard, commonly available batteries: D cells.

     Though a talented businessman, Cassingham's education and career began in the journalism field.  Both to provide an outlet for his creativity and to promote Detectron products, he started a periodical Outdoor Times, which had many subscribers in the field of prospecting.  It contained photos and articles on the hobby, and of course news on the latest Detectron products.

     Cassingham and Rondou eventually branched out into other fields, including making testing equipment for another new field, computers, with the company Computer Measurements Corporation.  They sold the Detectron name and business in 1961 to Tinker and Rasor, who still have a line of Detectron products, including the original, distintive Detectron logo.

    Cassingham eventually got back into the Geiger counter and metal detector business as Rayscope, but that's another story...

Links to more information

An excellent layman's book on the atom and all things nuclear is available
Repair resource, brochures, schematics, instructions  --  When you click these links, new windows will open.
A great resource for repairs and battery replacement for Geiger Counters
Brochure for Detectron Nucliometer DR-299 220k
Brochure for Detectron Nucliometer 390-B 227k
Schematic for Detectron DG-9 107k
Schematic for Detectron PA-20 Deep Hole Probe accessory 73k
Schematic for Detectron 711 Metal Detector 97k
Detectron Geiger counter calibration source 14k
Brochure for Rayscope DG-2 (front) 180k
Brochure for Rayscope DG-2 (back) 182k
Rayscope Instructions - Models 27 and 27T and Deluxe Metal Detectors
Please note that these images and texts are provided for historical purposes only, and no warranty or other guarantee is given or implied.

Geiger counters on the web

The Internet Movie Database's entries on J L Cassingham contains links to the films he worked on

Tinker and Rasor's Detectron home page

Goldak's home page

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For information regarding the old Detectron, CMC or Rayscope, please drop me a line.

Copyright © 2000-2011 Curt Cassingham.  All Rights Reserved.
Last updated February 7, 2011