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The bomb bay

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Slim Pickens
Ken Adam Artist
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The important change that came about was after two days of shooting with Peter as the bomber commander, Peter, fortunately, whether he broke his ankle or sprained his ankle, I don’t know, and Stanley said, ‘I had a fantastic idea, Ken. While I was in... in Hollywood, on Spartacus, or something, I met this cowboy, Slim Pickens, and I rang him up last night and he’s willing to come over and play the part of the bomber commander. And it was a brilliant idea. I think it was probably the best idea Stanley had on the picture, and so the whole scene and tone of the scene changed.

Sir Kenneth Adam (1921-2016), OBE, born Klaus Hugo Adam, was a production designer famous for his set designs for the James Bond films of the 1960s and 1970s. Initially, he trained as an architect in London, but in October 1943, he became one of only two German-born fighter pilots to fly with the RAF in wartime. He joined 609 Squadron where he flew the Hawker Typhoon fighter bomber. After the war, he entered the film industry, initially as a draughtsman on This Was a Woman. His portfolio of work includes Barry Lyndon and The Madness of King George; he won an Oscar for both films. Having a close relationship with Stanley Kubrick, he also designed the set for the iconic war room in Dr Strangelove. Sir Ken Adam was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II in 2003.

Listeners: Christopher Sykes

Christopher Sykes is an independent documentary producer who has made a number of films about science and scientists for BBC TV, Channel Four, and PBS.

Tags: Dr Strangelove, Hollywood, Peter Seller, Slim Pickens, Louis Burton Lindley, Jr.

Duration: 1 minute, 2 seconds

Date story recorded: December 2010 and January 2011

Date story went live: 07 September 2011