In 1983, ‘The Day After’ was, as they say, a major television event. Like many other overly-imaginative youths of that time, I had major nuclear paranoia. I was pretty certain that I was going to die in a blazing mushroom crowd or become a deformed, staggering mutant in the aftermath. My parents wisely didn’t let me watch this TV movie, and I’ve never seen it. Now, twenty years later, here’s an article from the town where ‘The Day After’ was set:
Although ABC set up 1-800 lines and distributed half a million “viewer’s guides” as a way to help the Cold War-paranoid audience psychologically deal with the subject matter, even they couldn’t prepare for how much of a social impact the film would have. “The Day After” debuted on Nov. 20, 1983, to a maelstrom of publicity and controversy. Nearly 100 million viewers tuned in — a record audience for a made-for-TV movie.
There are even some video clips from the show, which helps those of us who were too young or paranoid to see it the first time.
UPDATE: John (not Irish John, another John) writes to recommend two British nuclear war films: Threads and The War Game. He also mentions the recent interest in mini-nukes as a ‘safer’ nuclear weapon.