By Dawn's Early Light (TV Movie 1990) Poster

(1990 TV Movie)


James Earl Jones' character spends his entire time in the movie aboard a plane. This was also the case in Jones' first film, Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964). Both films were based around a nuclear confrontation between the US and USSR.
The role in a nuclear war of the SAC mobile command post, or "Looking Glass" airplane was previously shown in the Cold-War drama The Day After (1983).
This is the second Cold War-based nuclear thriller to derive its title from the lyrics to the song "The Star Spangled Banner". The first was Twilight's Last Gleaming (1977) starring Burt Lancaster.
The computer in NORAD is made up from components of an actual IBM AN/FSQ-7 Combat Direction Central, built in 1954 to protect the US from Soviet bomber attack. Components of decommissioned systems were sold for scrap and bought by film and television production companies that wanted futuristic-looking computers, despite the fact they were built in the 1950s. Components used in this film were previously used in The Time Tunnel (1966), The Towering Inferno (1974) and WarGames (1983), among many others, and later used in Fail Safe (2000).
The Emergency War Order code sent to launch the Strategic Air Command's long-range bombers depicted by the movie was "Alpha-Golf-Hotel-India-Delta" with an authentication time of "20:06:05 Zulu" and an authentication of "Sierra-Foxtrot."

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