Today marks the 75th anniversary of Orson Welles’ broadcast of THE WAR OF THE WORLDS.
Welles, and his Mercury Theater players, produced a radio play on October 30, 1938 based on HG Wells’ book. Though it was preceded by a disclaimer that it was a fiction, the play itself was interwoven with “fake” music from a ballroom band with break-in announcements — “We interrupt your regularly scheduled program to bring you this bulletin…”. Many listeners missed the introduction, or were convinced enough by the actors that they believed aliens had indeed landed just outside of NYC. Though it can be hard to imagine a time when people would have readily accepted this, your mind might be changed after listening to RadioLab’s fantastic contextualization.
Or you can listen to the entire original broadcast here: