Trans-Oceanic spotted in 1959 film “On the Beach”

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Mario Filippi (N2HUN), who writes:

Maybe this is old news but in the 1959 film “On the Beach” which was from the book by Nevil Shute, there is a Zenith transoceanic shortwave radio in this clip from the film. It is inside the lighthouse and appears just about five minutes into the film.

Big stars in this one, Gregory Peck, Ava Gardner, Fred Astaire and Anthony Perkins.

Thanks for the tip, Mario! I love classic films, but I don’t think I’ve seen On the Beach. I’ll put this on my watch list!

I’ll add this post to our ever growing archive of radios in film!

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10 thoughts on “Trans-Oceanic spotted in 1959 film “On the Beach”

  1. Jeff Horner

    The Italian Job 1969 has a Zenith Trans-Oceanic shortwave radio 1000-1 model seen with actor John Forgeham who plays Frank. It’s seen just before they do the gold heist.

  2. jack dully

    I noticed in the photo that the whip antenna when extended sits on the right side of the radio (when facing the front of the radio). The model that I have which I purchased in 1973 model RD 7000-Y has the antenna located on the left side.I wonder what other modifications there are and what year the model in the film was made,it had to be before 1959.It was my first really good s/w receiver.I still have it and it works well for its time, in technology and always sounded great !

  3. Bernie Dodge

    Great book, great movie. Read the book first. As a 14 year old I fell in love with Moira Davidson/Ava Gardner and wept at the end.

    You’ll never hear Waltzing Matilda again without associating it with the movie.

    Here’s another radio connection: around the time the movie came out, Radio Moscow made a big deal of promoting it, stating unequivocally that World War III would ruin everybody’s day. A few years later I wrote a letter to Moscow Mailbag mentioning it (can’t remember why) and their attitude was decidedly cooler. I think the Soviet party line was that there would be no such war.

  4. Bert

    Great movie, great book, and great radio. My uncle had one and would let me operate the radio. He was a ham, also. I liked it so much, I found one online and bought it. Now I listen to Athens and Pyongyang.

  5. Ed

    The book by Sevil Shute sold more than 4 million copies, and is worth reading before seeing Stanley Kramer’s superb film adaptation. It’s basically an epilogue to the end of the post-nuclear apocalyptic world, and radio is repeatedly featured in it. There’s a tear-jerking scene near film’s end featuring a radio shack with an operating HF CW transmitter that the submarine crew DF’s to its QTH. Maybe some SWLing Post readers can identify the transmitter and receiver in the shack?

  6. Eric WD8RIF

    Both the book and the movie are fabulous and are amazing looks into a critical point in modern mankind’s history. In fact, this movie, “Dr. Strangelove”, and “Failsafe” are sometimes credited with really starting the anti-nuclear-war-movement.

    I own both the book (in paperback) and the movie (on DVD) but haven’t recently re-watched the movie because it’s far from a “feel good” movie 🙂 Maybe this coming week will be a good time re-visit it.

    1. Thomas Post author

      Honestly, when I first saw the title I assumed it was another ’50s beach/surfing movie. When I read the synopsis, it not only compelled me to add this to my viewing list, but I’m wondering now if I should read the book first.



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