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Written by Timothy Sexton
Brig. General Jack D. Ripper
Loosely based on real life American General Curtis LeMay, Ripper is the crazed catalyst that sets off the chain of events which culminates in global nuclear annihilation. Ripper is more than just a stereotypical extreme right wing anti-communist nutjob, however. His stimulus for creating the illusion that Burpelson Air Force Base is under attack and sending the Go-Code to a squadron of Strategic Air Command bombers is much more personal than mere commie conspiracy. Ripper is convinced that his recent lack of sexual prowess is the result of the communist infiltration of America’s water supply through the process of fluoridation.
Group Capt. Lionel Mandrake
A member of the RAF attached to Burpelson Air Force Base in the U.S., Mandrake believes that the Condition Red situation initiated by Gen. Ripper is the result of an authentic attack by the Soviets. Condition Red requires that the base cut off all communication coming in from the outside world and so it is only through the chance happenstance of coming upon a transistor radio that Mandrake comes to realize not only that no attack is imminent, but that Ripper has gone insane and is looking to personally start World War III.
Col. "Bat" Guano
After Mandrake learns that Ripper has gone mad and finally is able to escape and try to warn the President to issue the Recall Code to the bombers, for a brief period of time the only two things standing between him and nuclear annihilation are his lack of change allowing him to use a pay phone and Col. “Bat” Guano. Guano, fully committed to the belief that Condition Red is authentic, is distrustful of Mandrake’s foreign accent and unreasonably protective of the Coca-Cola vending machine that Mandrake is desperately trying to extract change from so he can make his phone call before the world ends.
Gen. Buck Turgidson
As Chief of Staff of the United States Air Force, General Turgidson is one of the top advisors called into the War Room to assist the President in determining the proper course of action to take following the revelations that General Ripper went crazy and issued the Go-Code to the squadron of bombers. Highly suspicious of the Russkies, Turgidson represents the hawkish spectrum inside War Room.
Major “King” Kong
Major “King” Kong is the Stetson-wearing native son of Texas who pilots the only bomber—as the result of an unfortunate accident--that fails to receive the Recall Code and thus continues flying to their target deep within the Soviet Union, completely oblivious to the reality of the situation that sent them on their fateful appointment with destiny. That destiny appears to be doomed by unforeseen complications when their nuclear payload becomes stuck in position and unable to drop. Seeing his mission through to the bitter end, Major Kong personally attends to the situation, riding the missile down through the sky like a rodeo bull, waving his cowboy hat and hee-yawin’ his way to oblivion.
Lt. Lothar Zogg
A member Maj. Kong’s crew, Lt. Lothar Zogg becomes an ironic reminder that with equality enjoyed by racial desegregation in the U.S. military by the 1960s comes the impartiality of victimization at the hands of crazy white guys. Zogg is most notable as a character due to it being James Earl Jones’ first role in a theatrical film.
Alexi de Sadesky
The Russian ambassador to the United States who becomes the first citizen of the Soviet Union to ever be allowed inside the War Room. This fact greatly disturbs Gen. Buck Turgidson who is sure that Sadesky is not just an ambassador, but a spy. The conflict between these two men lead to the most memorable quote of the film “Gentlemen, you can’t fight in here. This is the War Room.”
Pres. Merkin Muffley
Merkin Muffley is the President of the United States. An unusually soft-spoken politician and quite rare among both real and fictional latter 20ths century Chief Executives in that he is bald.
The title character of the film is among the former Nazi scientists who were working to help Adolf Hitler build his own nuclear weapon before the United States defeated their country in World War II. Following the fall of Nazi Germany, the United States government overlooked a number of potential war crimes charges which could have been brought against men like Strangelove in exchange for their help in developing greater weapons of mass destruction to potentially use against the Soviet Union. Strangelove is confined to a wheelchair until the very last scene and has a prosthetic hand which often seems to have a mind of its own.
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Dr. Strangelove Questions and Answers
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