Hilarious Civil Defense film: clean your house before an atomic blast?

The Civil Defense Film, “The House in the Middle” on Generations Found. YouTube Photo by Generations Founds YouTube

I love watching old Civil Defense videos from the 1950’s and 1960’s. But the 1954 film, “The House in the Middle” had me in stitches. The short film is a demonstration of how an atomic blast would affect your home if you were a slob.

Experiments were done during atomic blast tests at Yucca Flats, Nevada. They try to show the effects of a blast on orderly fences and well-kept homes as compared with damage done to property that is disorderly and in poor repair. But only the clean and well-kept fences and house in the middle survived the blasts. Where the two houses on either side were destroyed due to their poorly kept interiors and exteriors.

The film points out that trash and rubbish are fire hazards and stresses the importance of orderly housekeeping. It includes scenes of children collecting trash and of men painting and making home repairs. They are calling this “the importance of the local civil defense.” They even go as far to say this would make a great Scout project.

This film was sponsor by the “National Paint, Varnish, and Lacquer Association.” Which sounds a bit self-serving to me.

So, the question is: is your household going to survive a nuclear blast if you are a slob? I think we all know the answer to that.

Click to view film on Generations Found YouTube: Civil Defense Historical Film: THE HOUSE IN THE MIDDLE (1954)


National Paint, V. (1954) The House in the Middle. Second Version. [Video] Retrieved from the Library of Congress, https://www.loc.gov/item/mbrs02034317/.