Parts of The Day After were filmed in Lawrence when I was in the fourth grade. Greg Proctor fancied himself a makeup artist and was obsessed with slasher flicks of the time. But watching Kansas City destroyed in the movie broadcast, families I grew to love in the first half hour of the movie turned to skeletons in one blinding flash, I was terrified more than I was watching Scanners or I Spit on Your Grave or any of the other movies Greg Proctor made me sit through with him. After the movie was over, my mother called the hotline ABC had set up for people who were traumatized watching it, then locked herself in her room. Greg Proctor told me it was just TV, probably made by the communists in Hollywood. The following week, a girl in my class gave a presentation on her performance as an extra in the movie. She was one of the thousands of radiation victims in the scenes at the KU Medical Center. I remember being jealous of her, and not knowing why. Sometimes when I tell this story now, I say I was an extra in the movie.

Just added to The List and the Story: Against the Eighties

Steven Church wrote an entire book on the fallout from his own experience watching The Day After  as a child in Lawrence, The Day After The Day After . You can read me interviewing him here

AuthorJohn Proctor