Traumafessions:: Jason L. on When Havoc Struck and The Acid Queen

I’m sure you all are going to laugh but here’s my first (and probably worst) Kindertrauma.

In the late 70s, on Wednesday nights, my parents would go to church and leave me with my grandparents. I’d sit and watch TV with them for an hour until my parents came home. I remember watching The Muppet Show and this show right after called When Havoc Struck. That week my grandpa said “We’re gonna watch these bridges collapse on TV”. Sounded like a fun time (not). If you’ve ever watched WHS you know it starts with Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony (the familiar dun dun dun dunnnnnnn) with a fiery looking logo. Then Glenn Ford comes on and introduces various incidents of disasters/accidents, etc. The tone of the show is already scary from the images, movies, sounds and music.

This episode showed exactly what it said it would, bridges falling down. Halfway into it, they show the 1940 Tacoma Narrows bridge collapse. It’s the actual movie reel of the actual bridge collapsing. The bridge was susceptible to high winds and it would move up and down with the wind. Then one day it twisted itself to death and it collapsed. I remember being a little freaked out at this until they actually showed a picture of the roadway rocking back and forth. This (I don’t know why) scared the hell outta me. I ran into the kitchen and hid in the laundry room until it was over. I was shaking and my mom had to give me medicine to calm down so I could sleep. Then that night I dreamed about it.

It took a long long time before I could actually open a book about bridges and see the pictures of it. THEN in the early 90s, a commercial for Pioneer car stereo featured the bridge. At first I was shocked but then I enjoyed watching it and laugh about how I thought this was scary.

So, what brought me here is that episode is now on Youtube for all the world to see:

And the commercial:

And yes, The Acid Queen scared me too.

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Tomb (@gorfulator)
4 years ago

Loved that show as a kid. I used to hum the grim music; not Beethoven’s 5th, that spooky tune when they’d show destruction scenes. I loved anything to do with destruction, My mom would actually save press clippings of disasters for me.

Did they have an episode with a PANAM crash?

jasonl (@jasonl)
4 years ago
feverpitch96 (@feverpitch96)
4 years ago

Tomb, you HUMMED it? That ten-second sting of music freaked the hell out of me at the time… unkle, I had a very similar reaction to that bridge footage at the time. But the music was what did for me and gave me the sleepless nights. The whole atmosphere of every episode, as you say, was somehow grim and creepy from the ground up.