Today in History: War of the Worlds Radio Broadcast

On the evening of October 30, 1938, listeners to the Mercury Theatre on the Air sat spell-bound and horrified as initial reports came in of an alien invasion from Mars. With eyewitness reports from the landing site in West Windsor, New Jersey, this radio broadcast, heard across the continental United States, had more than a few panicky citizens heading for their basements. Based on the classic H.G. Wells novel – The War of the Worlds– this fictitious radio adaptation, proved the power of this nascent media. It also made the reputation of its presenter, one Orson Welles. You can read the radio script, hear an audio of the original program, or read the original 1898 novel. To listen to all the Mercury Theatre radio productions, please visit here. Read the New York Times report on reaction to the broadcast.

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