The Blog Lagoon’s 31 Days of Halloween – Day Eight: Orson Welles’ Mercury Theater Presents “War of the Worlds”

Orson Welles scaring the beejeezus out of America on October 30, 1938

Orson Welles scaring the beejeezus out of America on October 30, 1938

On October 30, 1938 Orson Welles’ dramatic radio company, The Mercury Theater, broadcast their infamous “War of the Worlds” radio play adaptation of the H.G. Well’s classic on The Mercury Theater on the Air, to an unsuspecting, and I might add, moronic, general public. The format of the narrative was a “live radio broadcast” of the Martian invasion that was taking place all over the world. Anyone who might have tuned in on time would have (or SHOULD have) understood they were listening to a fictional drama. And even marginally sophisticated listeners would recognize it as an adaptation of H.G. Wells’ literary classic. But pity John Q. Public, who evidently is never on time and somewhat unsophisticated. HE thought the world was coming to the end and, as the story goes, scores of Mr. Public went into a panic. If reports are to be believed, lots of Mr. and Mrs. Publics locked themselves in the basement or ran into the streets screaming. The panic was reported internationally and even got a disparaging mention from Adolf Hitler in a public speech a few months later, when he cited it as “”evidence of the decadence and corrupt condition of democracy.”

Any time I find myself nostalgic for some other generation’s era, I remind myself of how John Q. Public made Halloween history by acting a damn fool and overreacting to a radio show. It’s a heckuva’ radio show though, and in all fairness, does sound fairly authentic.

For my second Halloween share, here’s the original Mercury Theater broadcast, written and directed by, and starring, Orson Welles. As an added Halloween treat, the Mercury Theater telling of Bram Stoker’s “Dracula” is included in the zip file. So download them, turn out the lights and pretend you’re living in a dumber more naive time.

DOWNLOAD MERCURY THEATER’S WAR OF THE WORLDS AND DRACULA HERE

~ by Number5ive on October 8, 2009.

2 Responses to “The Blog Lagoon’s 31 Days of Halloween – Day Eight: Orson Welles’ Mercury Theater Presents “War of the Worlds””

  1. This is a great site, great title too. I’m doing a similar thing on a smaller scale. One ghost story a day for 31 days. Am looking forward to digging into you Mac and Me review. Have memories of throwing things at the screen.

  2. er “your Mac and Me review.”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

 
%d bloggers like this: