When the Soviets Attack

Town of Lawrence, after a nuclear war. As it did with Reagan, The Day After left a significant impression on me. I was eight years old, and knew nothing about the Soviet Union, nuclear weapons, or John Lithgow. (Although I recognized him later as the bad guy in Santa Claus: The Movie.) Watching it with my parents, however (with running commentary from my mom about atom bombs, radiation, fallout, and hair falling out) signaled the start of my fascination with things like nuclear explosion photos and hydrogen bombs. With those images in my head, I joined the rest of the world in morbid awareness of just how close we were to utter destruction in the days of the Cold War.

(Aside: So The Day After was directed by Nicholas “Wrath of Khan” Meyer! I did not know that.)