Tuesday, October 30, 2018

The 80th Anniversary of The Mercury Theatre on Air's War of the Worlds Broadcast

The Daily News, one of the news outlets that
exaggerated the panic.
It was 80 years ago today that The Mercury Theatre on Air broadcast what may be the single most famous (or perhaps "infamous" would be a better word) single episode of a radio show. It was an adaptation of H. G. Wells's The War of the Worlds updated to 1938 and executed as if it was a live newscast of a Martian invasion. While the panic caused by the broadcast was greatly exaggerated by the news media at the time, leading to urban legends that have persisted to this day, The Mercury Theatre on the Air's "War of the Worlds" broadcast did convince some people, if only for a short time, that the United States was being invaded by Mars. One thing is certain. Orson Welles pulled off one of the biggest Halloween pranks of all time.

Ten years ago I wrote a blog post on the occasion of the seventieth anniversary of "The War of the Worlds". Rather than revisit something I have already written about, I will then direct you to my post from 2008. You can read it here.

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