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CBS News special report on September 25, 1983 (1983: Doomsday)

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This is a rough transcript of a special report carried over the CBS television network the night of September 25, 1983, as carried over CBS affiliate KOSA-TV in Odessa, Texas:

At 8:52 p.m. EDT (7:52 p.m. CDT), programming was interrupted. A CBS News Special Report graphic appears for two seconds; the picture then cuts to Morton Dean, the CBS Evening News weekend anchorman. Dean sat at the desk he usually did the weekend newscasts from.

MORTON DEAN: Good evening. This is Morton Dean in New York. CBS News has just learned of a matter of extremely grave national importance and we are now going live to the White House.

(CBS cuts to feed of Deputy Press Secretary Larry Speakes in the White House press room, at 8:53 p.m. EDT, giving the announcement of the incoming Soviet missile attack on the United States, and his subsequent collapse after stepping from the podium. The scene cuts back to CBS studios in New York at 8:59 p.m. EDT; sobs are heard in the background, and Dean sits there in stunned silence.)

UNKNOWN: Morton!...Morton!'re on! MORTON! YOU'RE ON!...MORTON!..

(Unknown man, presumably the one just shouting to Dean, runs up to Dean and slaps him across the face).

DEAN: My God...ladies and gentlemen, you have just heard the announcement from the White House of incoming missiles from the Soviet Union headed into the United States...I have just been handed a note, stating that...New York mayor Ed Koch has ordered an immediate evacuation of the city....I can only presume this is the case elsewhere.

(Dean clears his throat, wipes his eyes)

Ladies and gentlemen, we are going to comply with Mayor Koch's order and leave immediately, but to repeat: the White House has announced that the Soviet Union has launched a nuclear attack against the United States. A state of martial law is now in effect and citizens are urged to evacuate likely targeted areas immediately for safer areas. We will now turn over programming to our local affiliates. We wish you godspeed and safety.

The screen immediately went dark, replaced seconds later by KOSA anchorman Charles Little and reporter/anchorwoman Michelle Galloway, sitting at the KOSA newsdesk. Both looked stunned; Little began to repeat what Speakes had just said at the press conference. At this point, the tape cut off; this is when KOSA switched to the Emergency Broadcast System, as mandated by federal law. The tape picked back up at 8:06 local time, with the camera focusing solely on Little, who went on to repeat verbatim Speakes' announcement. At 8:09, KOSA, along with KRIG and KMID-TV, carried the audio feed of an impromptu press conference held by Mayor Thane Atkins in front of his office. An electromagnetic pulse several minutes later cut off electricity to the entire region and caused all radio and television stations to go dark.

This transcript is from video tape that KOSA technicians recorded as the events occurred. The tape managed to survive the electromagnetic pulse that detonated over the United States the evening of Doomsday; it was smuggled into Mexico in 1986 by KOSA technicians who had friends in the industry still alive in Monterrey. At a Monterrey station early on a Sunday morning in May, it was verified that the tape was still operational. A copy of the tape was made and kept by a Monterrey technician, and the original taken back to West Texas.

On September 25, 2009, the CBS/KOSA footage, and footage from ABC News captured by KMID, was replayed on ANZC, Mexican and West Texas television.

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