On the 8th Day – Nuclear Winter Documentary from 1984
April 4, 2016 Video
On a recent episode of Podcast at Ground Zero, Jarred mentioned that he was on the lookout for a British documentary called On the 8th Day, that had been shown in the US after the airing of Threadson TBS in 1984.
It piqued my interest not only because of it’s relation to Threads, which is my favorite nuclear war movie of all time, but because I had never heard of it, and I like to think I’m fairly well informed about media relating to the genre.
So I started doing some Googling, and quickly came across this lecture by Carl Sagan from around the right time, discussing nuclear winter, and also titled On the 8th Day. But it turns out I started my victory lap a little too early, because it wasn’t the one that Jarred was looking for.
I never did find it online, but some more searching turned up this listing on WorldCat.org showing a copy of what looked like the right On the 8th Day on VHS at a University of Hawaii library, just about 3 miles from where I was sitting at the time. It turns out that a coworker of mine also teaches a class at the University, and he was able to stop by the library and pick up the tape for me.
A borrowed VCR and a conversion cable later, and voila, On the 8th Day is on YouTube.
It was great fun tracking it down, and I’m glad to have provided a service of sorts to fans of the genre. It might not be the most exciting documentary, but it’s an interesting look at the kind of information provided to policy makers at the time, information that showed there was no way to win a nuclear war, a warning which might have helped prevent one from happening.