1954 film claims a well-kept house could survive a nuclear attack

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Is good housekeeping important for civil defense? It is according to this 1954 film, produced by with the cooperation of the Federal Civil Defense Administration, which claims that a clean, nicely painted house is more likely to survive a nuclear attack than its dirty, run-down neighbors.

The House in the Middle uses footage from the Nevada Proving Grounds to make its point, with commonsense guidelines about combustible trash being more, well, combustible, on top of its assurances about the overwhelming importance of house paint—to keep your house standing while you're being incinerated. Evidently, we were all supposed to do our civic duty and keep our houses covered in fresh paint as some sort of talisman against nuclear annihilation. Forget fireworks; let us North Americans celebrate Canada Day weekend and Independence Day by cleaning and painting our homes.

It was produced by the National Paint, Varnish and Lacquer Association (no surprise there) and sponsored by the National Clean Up-Paint Up-Fix Up Bureau with the cooperation of the Federal Civil Defense Administration. This film was selected for the National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant."


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