This is not a drill, I repeat, this is NOT a drill.
September 9, 2013 1:48 PM   Subscribe

What's on TV while the atomic bombs are in flight?

Looking for examples, video, audio, or text, of what the TV announcer/President/enemy might be saying to warn/appease/taunt soon-to-be victims of a full-scale nuclear attack. This is background A/V for a scene I'm writing. (i.e. playing on TV in the background) Looking for examples from TV or film of news anchors and such announcing an imminent nuclear attack. Also, any pre-prepared speeches, Emergency Broadcast System warnings, scripts, calls for prayer, etc, etc. The more turgid and cliche-ridden, the better. Do I duck? Or cover?
posted by sexyrobot to Media & Arts (14 answers total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
 
Conelrad!

And or, Conelrad!
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 1:54 PM on September 9, 2013 [2 favorites]


Oh! and a call back to THIS.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 1:56 PM on September 9, 2013


Before reading your more inside, my immediate gut reaction is that this or this is what would be on TV, implying that you're so fucked that the folks manning the station have all already ducked and/or covered themselves, or that interference from the bombs has wiped out the signal.
posted by phunniemee at 1:58 PM on September 9, 2013 [2 favorites]


If it's in the present time, I would imagine you'd see and hear an EAS bulletin (in the USA, anyway), followed by near-constant news.
posted by tckma at 1:59 PM on September 9, 2013




Does your scene take place now, 2013-ish, or a Cold War year like 1960?

It'll make a difference: fifty years ago, schools were teaching us to duck under our school desks to avoid nuclear fallout; nowadays, we know that ain't gonna work, and I'd expect something more like NYC on 9/11.
posted by easily confused at 2:06 PM on September 9, 2013


From The Dark Knight Returns.
posted by martinrebas at 2:07 PM on September 9, 2013 [2 favorites]


The US Emergency Broadcast System accidentally broadcast a national emergency alert in 1971. This is what listeners of one radio station heard.
posted by mbrubeck at 2:15 PM on September 9, 2013 [2 favorites]


Look at some info about Protect and Survive. This was the nuclear information campaign created in the UK, which included films to be broadcast if a nuclear attack was imminent. The BBC also had a plan for a radio Wartime Broadcasting Service consisting of recorded information. If you search YouTube for "Protect and Survive," you can find some of the films.
posted by ALongDecember at 2:19 PM on September 9, 2013


As others have mentioned, time period will make a huge difference here.

The largest amount of material comes from the 1950s - early 1960s. CONELRAD was the national program, but many local state or city governments prepared "this is not a drill" announcements. TV broadcasts are hard to come by for this time period; radio announcements are easier.

Los Angeles Civil Defense Alert

This is a CONELRAD Alert

From 1963 to 1997 the US had the Emergency Broadcast System.

Pre-recorded Philadelphia "attack warning" radio message, early 1970s

For a present day nuclear attack, all television channels would probably display a scrolling EAS alert at the top or bottom of the screen (similar to what you see for severe weather), followed by an audio address from the President during which a screen looking like this might display. After that would come messages from local authorities, probably in that distinctive digital voice, then the entire message would repeat.

States and cities may also activate their outdoor warning sirens. The correct signal to use would be the rising and falling "wail" tone, which traditionally means an attack is imminent.
posted by castlebravo at 3:51 PM on September 9, 2013


Does your scene take place now, 2013-ish, or a Cold War year like 1960?

I guess I should clarify...It's set now-ish but cold war era stuff is good too (it's fiction, so there's plenty of leeway)...late cold war (80s) is probably closest to the feel I'm going for...very The Day After'

I guess I'm looking for more fictional sources, though all this real stuff is good too (thanks!)...like stuff that really emphasizes the panic and mahem of the moment (thanks, easily confused, for reminding me to look up 9/11 news footage), as, in real life, this would be exactly the situation where not even the most professional anchor would be able to keep their cool. Like the kind of situation where even Tom Brokaw is telling you that you might as well freaking panic.
posted by sexyrobot at 5:14 PM on September 9, 2013


The Dawn of the Dead movie from the seventies starts off in an apocalyptic way.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 5:20 PM on September 9, 2013


(I.e. I'm definitely looking more for scenarios where there is an actual person on screen as opposed to an automated message...though there is good stuff in those too)
posted by sexyrobot at 5:31 PM on September 9, 2013


It depends on the breadth of the attack. If anhilation is likely, someone will make the call to say absolutely nothing, because the extra eight minutes of normalcy are the best present that can be given to the doomed. If not likely, one of the regular systems above will tip off news folks who would cut in to live TV with their inane chatter. I'll bet the higher cable channels wouldn't budge. Rachel Ray and the apocalypse. It works.

Source: two family members paid to build the military's nuclear systems.
posted by jwells at 6:03 PM on September 9, 2013 [4 favorites]


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