Rock Center   |  May 24, 2013

From the NBC Vault: Walt builds a fallout shelter

After the devastation in Moore, Okla., had us all talking about shelters, Rock Center mined the archives and found something related: the last time in our history when shelters were top of mind. For this holiday weekend edition of Rock Bottom, Brian Williams re-examines a Cold War clip from the 1960s called “Walt Builds A Fallout Shelter.”

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> week know, a holiday weekend edition of "rock bottom" for you tonight after where we've been and all we saw in moore, oklahoma, and all the talk about shelters to protect people from the violent el meants, we wanted to show you a find from the film archives on something related. the last time in our history when shelters were top of mind, because of the cold war in the early 1960s and the threat of a soviet attack that led to a run on home bomb shelters . we hope you enjoy this previously hidden away gem. the u.s. government news reel entitled " walt builds a fallout shelter ."

>> reporter: the first thing you notice is how convenient for the national concrete masonry association to partner with the good folks at the office of civil defense mobile inflation. the acting is atrocious and at least the directing is bad too.

>> you know, this shelter is a real good idea. if we should ever have a nuclear war , we could get a heavy fallout, even though we were not anywhere near the target area. so ruth and i got to thinking about it and we figured we'd rather be prepared than sorry.

>> reporter: they stop at nothing when trying to sell a fearful public on the idea of a home shelter.

>> you certainly have this well stocked, radio, extra batteries, fire extinguisher .

>> imagine the other uses.

>> walt , you could use this as an extra bedroom for company.

>> when the fwrand childrgrandchildren com e, it is a great place to put them.

>> how long did it take to build this?

>> a couple of nights and a couple of weekends. ith not hard to build. anyone who is not all thumbs can do it.

>> i would like to know how did you it. we'll listen. go ahead, walt .

>> this is a way anyone can do what i have done. to begin with, the best way to build anything is the right way.

>> reporter: 20 minutes of the film is devoted to walt 's meticulous instructions to build a structure, but they don't get into the pesky issues of fresh air to breathe or what you do to emerge from the shelter to a nuclear winter .

>> before completing the walls, it's necessary to lay all the ceiling blocks, otherwise afterward you wouldn't be able to get in. this finishes my fallout shelter . you don't really have to paint the walls, but my wife thought it would be nighce i did, so i better get busy and do it right now.

>> reporter: and then we hear from leo hoy, true believer and bomb shelter owner.

>> i have a shelter in my home. it offers my family good protection in case of a nuclear attack and serves a dual purpose, a spare bedroom. we know from tests and study and research that the single best action for the protection of the greatest number of people in case of a nuclear attack is a family fallout shelter . no home in america is modern without a family fallout shelter . this is the nuclear age .

>> of course, it's still the nuclear age and we survived that period without a nuclear attack , only to have the issue of shelters back in the news now, because of the folks in the path of some awful symptom storms in the midwest.