Friday, October 16, 2020

1994 Without Warning

Without Warning is an American CBS TV movie directed by Robert Iscove. Much like WNUF Halloween Special, Ghostwatch and The War of the Worlds, this film is presented as if it were an actual live event and featured veteran news anchor Sander Vanocur and reporter Bree Walker as themselves covering a breaking news story of three meteor fragments crashing into the Earth's Northern Hemisphere. The casting of recognizable actors, Jane Kaczmarek, John de Lancie, and Ron Canada as reporters in remote locations, plus a faux interview with noted author Arthur C. Clarke, was expected to alleviate any concerns that the story being shown was actually happening. The broadcast takes place on and premiered on Halloween night, October 31, 1994, with trick or treaters featured in several news reports within. The executive producer was David L. Wolper, who produced a number of mockumentary-style films from the 1960s onward.

To avoid the panic that surrounded Ghostwatch's 1992 airing in the United Kingdom and the War of the Worlds radio drama from 1938, CBS had warnings during the commercial breaks stating that the film was completely fictional. Despite this, CBS received dozens of calls regarding whether the events were actually happening. The area's ABC, Fox, and NBC affiliates were also flooded with complaints, asking them why they were not covering this event at the same time CBS was. In several other markets, including Detroit, Michigan's WJBK, and San Diego, California's KFMB-TV, refused to even air the movie. A DVD was released on July 8, 2003, nearly nine years after the film's initial, and only, showing on CBS. However, it has since been shown outside the United States, such as the UK where it aired on Sci-Fi, minus the commercial break warnings. Below is the broacast with commercials edited out.

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