War of the Worlds

This Halloween episode of Mercury Theater on the Air, directed and narrated by Orson B. Welles, aired 75 years ago on Oct. 30, 1938.  It was an adaptation of another Wells, H.G. Wells, of his 1898 sci-fi classic, The War of the Worlds.

Because the format of the show was presented as a live newscast as if the alien invasion was occurring as the radio audience listened, there were those who believed the broadcast was reporting a real event. Some have claimed that a real panic ensued, though most of the uproar occurred the following day when Welles was impugned at the deception he and the other Mercury players had perpetrated on the public. This pretty much secured his fame.

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