(VIDEO) ‘Special Bulletin’; 1983 Nuclear Terrorism TV Movie that Thousands Thought was Really Happening

“We interrupt our regular programming to bring you this Special Bulletin…”

I remember when my wife and I were stationed at Parris Island, SC, back in the early to mid 1980s. It was on March 20, 1983 that NBC aired as their Sunday Night at the Movies, a made for TV film titled Special Bulletin.

It was just a short eight months later that ABC aired the US foreign policy changing The Day After. Some say that The Day After effected Pres. Reagan to such a degree, it was then that he made the decision to never let the United States be attacked by the Soviet Union.

Thankfully, Pres. Reagan understood that taking down the USSR militarily would leave our own nation, even the entire planet, just a radioactive wasteland. Reagan knew that the Soviet Achillies Heel was their weak economy.

But all that aside, a few of the differences between the two movies was that we all knew that The Day After was just a movie, complete with well-known Hollywood stars such as Jason Robarts, John Lithgow, and JoBeth Williams.

On the contrary, at its best, Special Bulletin had 80s B and C list actors. For those too young to remember those days, Special Bulletin felt just like an honest-to-God actual news broadcast. To include news anchors and reporters talking over each other and the entire movie shot on video, not film.

Aired on WCIV in Charleston, the NBC affiliate made a point of running a chyron periodically across the bottom of the screen to alert the local viewers that the movie was just that… a movie.

Nonetheless, thousands flipped-out. To make matters worse, family members of the thousands upon thousands of servicemen stationed in the Low Country of South Carolina were making panicked phone calls to their loved ones.

If you’re fortunate enough to have the ability to broadcast whatever Youtube video playing on your computer or phone to your TV, below is the entire film.

Some things never change. Be it 1983 or 2023… be it a fictional account of Charleston or a factual account of Maui, the Establishment Media has the memory of a goldfish.

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