British Universities Film & Video Council

moving image and sound, knowledge and access

War of the Worlds Broadcast

Synopsis
The full 1-hour classic radio ‘Mischief Night’ that took place on 30 October 1938, in which Orson Welles and the Mercury Theater- On-The-Air produced a dramatization of H.G. Wells’ tale "War of the Worlds". The adaptation of the story which recounts a Martian invasion of the earth includes realistic radio news bulletins informing listeners of the developing saga. A music programme was interrupted to brief listeners that an alien object had landed in Grover’s Mill, N.J. "News Announcers" describe the terrifying events as they unfold.

Although Welles informed listeners at the start of the programme that they were listening to a fictional radio drama, thousands of listeners who tuned in late believed the Earth was indeed under alien attack and panic soon followed.

Welles claimed that the broadcast was never intended to fool people but wished to present a great Halloween tale. It was, he said, "the Mercury Theatre’s own radio version of dressing up in a sheet and jumping out of a bush and saying ‘boo!'" In either case it indeed turned out to be the greatest Halloween story ever told.
Language
English
Country
United States
Year of release
2003
Subjects
Media studies
Keywords
radio drama; science fiction; Welles, Orson (1916-1985); Wells, H G

Distribution Formats

Type
Audio
Format
CD
Price
$9.99
Availability
Sale
Duration/Size
60 minutes
Year
2003

Production Company

Name

Mercury Theater-on-the-Air

Distributor (Sale)

Name

MediaOutlet.com

Email
service@prosperohouse.com
Web
http://www.mediaoutlet.com/ External site opens in new window
Address
PO Box 1432
Bayonne
NJ 07002
USA
Notes
Specialises in US archival moving image and sound material, particularly vintage radio and public service films and broadcasts that have been digitally restored. Formerly known as Earthstation.com. Sale on multi-region DVD or CD.

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