In honor of the following, I am listening to Orson Wells’ “The War of the Worlds” Radio broadcast recording.
Orson Wells was a trip. 😀
We interrupt this blog to bring you a special bulletin:
Martians have invaded New Jersey!
OK, as far as we know that hasn’t happened.
But we wanted to issue that faux alert because 75 years ago tonight, as our friend Korva Coleman pointed out on the NPR Newscast, Orson Welles and his troupe of radio actors interrupted the Columbia Broadcasting System’s programming to “report” that our planet had been invaded.
Ever since then, it’s been accepted as fact that the broadcast scared the dickens out of many Americans.
War of the Worlds Radio Broadcast by Orson Wells (Archive.org – audio available)
First Broadcast 73 year ago on October 30, 1938 by The Mercury Theatre on the Air
When first broadcast, some listeners heard only a portion of the broadcast, and took it to be an actual news reports. Newspapers reported that panic ensued, people fleeing the area, others thinking they could smell poisonous gas or could see flashes of lightning in the distance.
Source: The War of the Worlds (October 30, 1938)
H. G. Wells’s original novel relates the story of an alien invasion of Earth. The radio play’s story was adapted by and written primarily by Howard Koch and Anne Froelick with input from Welles and the rest of the Mercury Theatre on the Air staff. The setting was switched from 19th-century England to contemporary Grover’s Mill, an unincorporated village in West Windsor Township, New Jersey in the United States. The program’s format was a (simulated) live newscast of developing events. To this end, Welles played recordings of Herbert Morrison‘s radio reports of the Hindenburg disaster for actor Frank Readick and the rest of the cast, to demonstrate the mood he wanted.