That panic and pandemonium was a sound-clip of imminent nuclear war from the movie “The Day After.” Released in 1983, the film is set in Lawrence, Kansas and Kansas, City Missouri. Chronicling life after nuclear war, the film showcased many scenes that featured well-known Lawrence and Kansas City locations destroyed and severely damaged by the global catastrophe taking place in the film. “The Day After” generated a fair bit of attention and controversy after its release, but thirty years later, do Lawrence citizens still remember the movie that showed their city in ashes? I sat down with two Lawrence residents to find out. First I spoke with Sabrina Marino. As an extra in the film, Sabrina discussed what it was like to see the movie upon its release.
I don’t know. In the heart of the United States having something like that happen, where you think it’s going to happen in the larger populations at the edge, I think that’s the startling thing, the difference. One of the most impressive scenes was the K-10 scene. They had all those cars out there and then just watched them like little toy cars just burst into flames and go flying. That was really cool, but it was also very shocking to think that you’re just going over to Kansas City for dinner and then you’re gone.
Secondly, I spoke to Michael Valk. Valk was living in Lawrence at the time of the film’s release, but refused to watch it. After listening to what he had to say, it wasn’t hard to understand why.
My generation grew up with nightmare visions of mushroom clouds on the horizon. When I was in grade school, I can remember wondering if the world was going to last long enough for me to get to junior high school. I really had no desire to see it happening, and then really just didn’t necessarily want to go back to revisiting that sort-of nightmare.
Though “The Day After” was released just over three decades ago, and the Cold War has long since passed, it’s clear that there are still some Lawrence citizens that remember the possibility of this film’s nightmarish apocalypse.
This is Alex Keenan from Inrealreeltime.wordpress.com