Day by Day

Thursday, November 20, 2003

Twenty years ago "The Day After" aired on ABC.

"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.

Immediately after the broadcast, Ted Koppel hosted a live panel discussion to help viewers cope with what they'd witnessed. Dr. Carl Sagan, Henry Kissinger, Robert McNamara, William F. Buckley and George Shultz were among those who participated.

Representing the Ronald Reagan administration, Secretary of State Shultz was in full-damage control mode, making comments such as, "The only reason we have for keeping nuclear weapons is to see to it that they are not used."

It was also during this gathering where Sagan first introduced the phrase "nuclear winter" into the lexicon (an event actually depicted in the film). And he presented the vivid analogy that the arms race between the U.S. and Soviet Union was akin to "two men standing waist deep in gasoline -- one with three matches, the other with five."
This is a neat little article.

Fallout from "The Day After"

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