CONELRAD Atomic Hygiene: Cold War Short Subject Films

Bombproof: 1956 civil defense short subject film


Some may have thought that it was wonderfully civic minded of the Burroughs Corporation to sponsor a film about vital records storage as a component of civil defense, but when 'Bombproof' suddenly turns into an infomercial for the microfilm industry, Presented by the Burroughs Corporationthe company's true motive becomes quite clear. Because Burroughs, in addition to being a producer of adding machines and, later, mainframe computers, also made microfilm equipment. The film's story opens in a civil defense command bunker eight days after an H-bomb attack. The bunker is run by responsible citizen, J.B. Donovan, the CEO of "Donovan Manufacturing." The set-up for the lesson of the movie is presented when Donovan calmly allays the fears of his nervous employees (who are also volunteers in the bunker) who complain about losing their pensions, investments, and wages. Bombproof's naysayerThe most vocal of these employees, Charlie, says: "Your factory's nothing but a big radioactive hole in the ground! You're through, I'm through, we're all through! We might as well go live in caves." Just what is Donovan's strategy to pacify his agitated workforce? He lights up a cigarette and, in flashback, recounts the story of how the company took the precaution of backing up all of its vital records to that modern marvel of business continuity: Microfilm! The thesis of the script is that while brick and mortar can be replaced, "records are the new foundation" and they must be duplicated and protected to ensure the survival of American industry. The movie concludes with Donovan holding up a cartridge of the miracle storage media as the hopeful statement "we can build again" is spoken like a prayer.

Bombproof presented by the Burroughs Corporation

Presented by the Burroughs Corporation
A Robert J. Enders Production
Produced in cooperation with the Federal Civil Defense Administration
Producer and Director: Robert L. Friend
Screenwriter: Will H. Connelly
Starring: Walter Abel


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