Louis C. Harris Home Movie Collection, 1942-1960

The collection consists of Louis C. Harris, Sr.'s entire home movie collection (1942-1960) of silent, black-and-white and color, camera-original, 8mm and 16mm home movie footage shot between 1942 and 1960 in Italy; Algiers; Augusta, Georgia; Florida; South Carolina; and Yucca Flat, Nevada; and three commercial 16mm films. The National Film Preservation Foundation generously funded full film preservation of several reels of Mr. Harris's home movies. Three reels of Kodachrome document a July, 8 1953 soap box derby sponsored by the Augusta Chronicle. But three months before this innocent American pastime, Mr. Harris was invited by the government, as a member of the press, to witness a 16-kiloton atomic blast at Yucca Flat, Nevada, on March 17, 1953. He made a short Kodachrome 16mm film of his trip west which includes scenes at the Phoenix, Arizona airport; day and evening shots of the Las Vegas Strip including the famous "Vegas Vic" waving cowboy neon sign erected in 1951 (the Pioneer Club casino which it advertised closed in 1995); at Indian Springs AFB where atomic bomb drop planes were being "decontaminated" with water and brooms after blast flyovers; at the test location with other journalists being briefed; the atomic blast itself; and colleagues present just after the test. His newspaper accounts of the events that week (available on microfilm in the UGA Main Library) describe the safety of the test and the need for Americans to prepare for potential nuclear war. The family's papers and Mr. Harris's home audio disc recordings are also at UGA.

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