A Day Called X

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A Day Called X is a dramatised Civil Defence documentary set in Portland, Oregon (“roughly the size of Hiroshima”), in which the entire city is evacuated in anticipation of a nuclear air raid, after Soviet bombers had been detected by radar stations to the north.

The film opens with an overhead shot of then-mayor Terry Schrunk striding purposefully into the old underground Kelly Butte Civil Defence Centre—a bunker-like structure built into a hillside. The film details the activation of the city’s civil defence protocols and leads up to the moment before the attack (the ending is left intentionally unknown). The operations were run from the Kelly Butte Bunker, which was the EOC during the time. It was filmed in September 1957 and shown in December of that year. Apart from presenter/narrator Glenn Ford, none of the people shown are actors. They are locals of Portland shown in their real jobs, including Schrunk.

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