Richland: Smalltown Americana – With an Atomic Twist

Image of students by Richland High School.

Image by Helki Frantzen.

At a decidedly leisurely pace, director Irene Lusztig painstakingly paints a portrait of an outpost of Americana in eastern Washington State, Richland where virtually all of the townsfolk, except for homemakers, worked since the 1940s at neighboring Hanford. By most economic indicators, those employed by Hanford’s industrial plant earned a decent if not opulent standard of living. The workers and their families enjoyed prosperity and a river in a lovely rural Northwestern setting, where these members of the proletariat could afford to buy consumer products, take their families on vacations and send their children to good universities.

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Ed Rampell was named after legendary CBS broadcaster Edward R. Murrow because of his TV exposes of Senator Joe McCarthy. Rampell majored in Cinema at Manhattan’s Hunter College and is an L.A.-based film historian/critic who co-organized the 2017 70th anniversary Blacklist remembrance at the Writers Guild theater in Beverly Hills and was a moderator at 2019’s “Blacklist Exiles in Mexico” filmfest and conference at the San Francisco Art Institute. Rampell co-presented “The Hollywood Ten at 75” film series at the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures and is the author of Progressive Hollywood, A People’s Film History of the United States and co-author of The Hawaii Movie and Television Book.    

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