Mickey Rooney as 'Blix' emerges as the human remnant of the test house designed to prove what would happen to a prefab structure against a nuclear explosion. Blix is really none the worse for wear, a bit singed from head to foot and wisps of smoke swirling from his hair. The only immediate side effect is a speech abnormality causing him to speak like audio tape on fast forward. Thankfully, this is temporary. He is also holding on to a peanut butter sandwich which is still intact, just a bit on the toasted side.
The plot then gravitates to 'Blix' undergoing a battery of tests by the military and scientists. The love interest is filled by comely Elaine Davis (then wife #4 to Mickey Rooney) who portrays a nurse at the hospital where 'Blix' is being held for observation. Miss Davis' (aka Elaine Devry) most memorable on screen moments occur with a series of appealing smirks directed at Blix. She does light up the screen when it's lights down low for some pitch and woo in the parlor with THE ATOMIC KID. Or maybe it's because Blix becomes phosphorescent, as he's all hot and bothered after a smooch from his after hours nurse. Miss Davis would parlay those sexy smirks as well as her hour-glass figure into a lucrative motion picture and television career.
Robert Strauss is ideal as 'Stan Cooper', burly best friend to Blix and always with an eye to get rich quick. This is where cold war spy antics become involved as an unnamed foreign country (presumably the Soviet Union) tries to get to Blix through Stan offering him instant wealth for instant pictures of THE ATOMIC KID. Strauss is hilarious as the unknowing dupe to Peter Brocco, the spy in the gray flannel suit.
The Saturday matinée atmosphere gives itself away throughout this flick. One can easily imagine this as a perfect vehicle for Abbott & Costello or, perhaps, Martin & Lewis. Jerry could easily play it over the top as the radio-active kid and Dino would play it straight when not crooning his velvet voice toward Elaine Davis.
With a competent supporting cast including Hal March as an FBI agent and Whit Bissell as Dr. Edgar Panghorn, THE ATOMIC KID is the brainchild of none other than Blake Edwards. Directed by Leslie H. Martinson in his first foray behind the camera, (he would later helm vehicles as diverse as P.T. 109 and BATMAN with Adam West) THE ATOMIC KID is worth a peak just before you 'Duck and Cover.'