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‘Atomic tests at the Nevada Proving Grounds (later the Nevada Test Site) show effects on well-kept homes, homes filled with trash and combustibles, and homes painted with reflective white paint. Asserts that cleanliness is an essential part of civil defense preparedness and that it increased survivability. Selected for the 2002 National Film Registry of “artistically, culturally, and socially significant” films.’
Originally a public domain film from the Library of Congress Prelinger Archives, slightly cropped to remove uneven edges, with the aspect ratio corrected, and one-pass brightness-contrast-color correction & mild video noise reduction applied.
The soundtrack was also processed with volume normalization, noise reduction, clipping reduction, and/or equalization (the resulting sound, though not perfect, is far less noisy than the original).
The House in the Middle is the title of two American documentary film shorts, respectively from 1953 and 1954, which showed the effects of a nuclear bomb test on a set of three small houses. The black-and-white 1953 film was created by the Federal Civil Defense Administration to attempt to show that a clean, freshly painted house (the middle house) is more likely to survive a nuclear attack than its poorly maintained counterparts (the right and left houses). A color version was released the next year by the National Clean Up – Paint Up – Fix Up Bureau, a “bureau” invented by the National Paint, Varnish and Lacquer Association trade group (now known as the American Coatings Association).
In 2001, the Library of Congress deemed the 1954 film “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant” and selected it for preservation in the National Film Registry.
…The test device, codenamed Encore, was detonated at 8:30 local time by performing an airdrop of a Mk-6D bomb from 19,000 feet with a B-50 Superfortress over Area 5 at the Nevada Test Site. At 2,423 feet, the bomb detonated, although it was fifteen feet west and nine hundred and thirty seven feet south of its designated target. The estimated yield of the weapon was 30-36 kilotons, although it yielded twenty-seven kilotons. In the codename “Encore”, the letter “E” was a reference to the “effects” of weapons testing.
As Encore was an effects test, multiple objects were subjected to the blast, including trees. Since the Nevada Test Site sits in a desert and does not contain trees, the United States Forest Service transported 145 Ponderosa pines from a nearby canyon to Area 5. The trees were then placed in holes at Frenchman Flat, and cemented into the ground, 6,500 feet from ground zero. The initial release of thermal radiation ignited many of the trees, and the subsequent blast wave blew them over. Model houses built for the test were recorded to produce the Civil Defense film The House in the Middle.
Soldiers were brought in to view the blast as part of the Desert Rock exercises. 3,500 soldiers from all over the country participated in the exercises, and were formed into Combat Battalion teams. In addition to this, six hundred high-ranking personnel and congressmen were on hand to view the exercises, which were aimed to “indoctrinate troops in atomic weapons in order that they will know how to protect themselves and their equipment in event of an enemy atomic attack in combat situations”.