CRM 114 (fictional device)

For the computer program, see CRM114 (program).
Two of Kubrick's uses of the number 114 — the CRM 114 discriminator in Dr. Strangelove (left) and Serum 114 in A Clockwork Orange

The CRM 114 Discriminator is a fictional piece of critical radio equipment in Stanley Kubrick's film Dr. Strangelove (1964), the destruction of which prevents the crew of a B-52 from hearing the recall code that would stop them from dropping their atomic bombs on the Soviet Union.

Real-life parallels

In Peter George's novel, Red Alert (1958), which was the basis for the film, the device is called the CRM 114.[1] Peter George was well-informed: Under the U.S. military Joint Electronics Type Designation System (The "AN" System),[2] CRM is the designator for an air-transportable cargo (C) radio (R) maintenance or test assembly (M),[3] and 114 is a feasible series number. If the CRM 114 were an actual U.S. military item, its official number would be designated as AN/CRM-114.

To ensure the enemy cannot plant false transmissions and fake orders, once the attack orders have been passed and acknowledged, the CRM 114 is to be switched into the receiver circuit. The three code letters of the period are to be set on the alphabet dials of the CRM 114, which will then block any transmissions other than those preceded by the set letters from being fed into the receiver.[4]

Prior to the introduction of addressed digital communications, some real-world analog communications systems performed a function very similar to the fictional CRM-114. Some aircraft radios used SELCAL (selective calling), which muted the receiver unless an assigned tone was received. Ground mobile radios used a similar system called CTCSS (Continuous Tone-Coded Squelch System).

Other uses

Kubrick also used a near homophone of "CRM 114", "Serum 114", for the name of a drug injected into Alex to help his reformation in A Clockwork Orange (1971).

Other non-Kubrick works contain references to "CRM 114", in apparent homage to Kubrick:

See also


  1. "What is the CRM-114 thing?". 2002-02-22. Retrieved 2014-02-18.
  2. "Designations Of U.S. Military Electronic And Communications Equipment". Retrieved 2014-01-05.
  3. "F-16 Armament - US Tri-Service Designation System Electronic Equipment". Retrieved 2014-01-05.
  4. "The Kubrick FAQ". External link in |website= (help);
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