No. 184 – Doctor Feeley Good

Beelte image ©Time

Dr. Feeley Good* from prog 108’s (1979) cover by Mike McMahon for the Ro-Busters story The Fall and Rise of Ro-Jaws and Hammerstein (progs 103115), written by Pat Mills v the [GE] Beetle, appearing here in Life magazine, 4 May 1962

The Beetle on display

The now defunct Beetle was the nickname of a large, pilot-operated mobile manipulator created by Jered Industries (now part of PaR Systems) in Detroit for General Electric, built to order by the USAF Special Weapons Center, designed to handle volatile material for nuclear bombers. Work on the Beetle began in 1959 and was completed in 1961. Built on a chassis from the M42 40 mm Self-Propelled Anti-Aircraft Gun, [or “Duster” – basicly a tank], the Beetle was 5.8 metres (19 feet) long, 3.7 metres (12 feet) wide, 3.4 (11 feet) high and weighed 77 tons, with a top speed of 13 km (8 miles) per hour. The manipulator’s pilot was protected by cockpit that included a 58 cm (23 inch) nuclear blastproof glass shield.

When the atomic aircraft project was cancelled in 1961, the Beetle was earmarked by the US military for a role in cleaning up nuclear explosion debris, but discontinued due to its size, speed and unwieldiness, eg. the pilot required several minutes to enter and exit the vehicle.

*The name refers either to British punk band Dr. Feelgood, formed in 1971 (and still going); or Doctor Feelgood, the alternative stage name of American blues musician Piano Red [Willie Lee Perryman] (1911–1985)

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