War of the worlds, Orson wells Radio drama

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Contec

Master Member
Thanks to Spotify, I have been able to listen to the original radio drama that apparently freaked people out in the 1930s. I can now understand that people of that time could have believed that it was a real report from the frontline of an alien invasion. Orson Wells was a genius by doing the story this way.
If you have not heard it before, you should.:thumbsup
 

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TheDoctor

Sr Member
Yeah, I loved it but I'm still not sure how people believed it was "real". Unless they turned it on listed for 5 minutes, then turned it off. There were plenty of 'warnings' that it wasn't real.
 

Wes R

Legendary Member
I got a copy of it on cd years ago then i got a dvd of the 1951 movie and included on the extras is the radio drama.
 

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Trallis

Well-Known Member
I think the reason people believed it was because of one line: "We interrupt this program.." It came in the middle of a musical intermission and the reporter sounded urgent. I read that CBS was somehow banned from using the phrase for dramatic effect in the future. And yeah, most of it sounds way overdramatic by today's standards, but put yourself in the time. All radio broadcasts sounded like that, even the news.
 

SSgt Burton

Sr Member
Yeah, I loved it but I'm still not sure how people believed it was "real". Unless they turned it on listed for 5 minutes, then turned it off. There were plenty of 'warnings' that it wasn't real.
According to the Wiki entry there were only "three" warnings. At the start, at 40 minutes and 55 minutes.

Apparently there was a more popular radio broadcast playing on another station. When that broadcast had a commercial break, listeners began turning their dials to find something else in the meantime. Wells knew this and timed his broadcast so that these listeners would come in during the first Grover's Mill report. Some listeners came in just as the "Martians" emerge from their spacecraft.

However the entry also states that the widespread panic has been exaggerated as to how many people actually believed Martians had landed and the level of fear that had been created. Most people just called the authorities and didn't riot in the streets. Some believed the Germans had
invaded.

Given the atmosphere at the time (a year before WWII), I can understand the fear this radio drama created.

I actually witnessed a similar thing happen with a made for tv movie called "Special Bulletin." This was an early 80s fictional Newsroom broadcast done in real time in the same vein as WOTW. The plot revolved around American terrorists who threatened to detonate a nuclear bomb aboard a docked tugboat in a harbour of Charleston, SC. The entire film is done from the perspective of the Newsroom, with on the scene reporters who even manage to interview the terrorists (who are doing this in the name of Worldwide nuclear disarmament).

The film's climax is the tugboat being stormed by a Delta team and the terrorists being killed, however one terrorist starts the countdown before committing suicide. Depsite efforts to disarm the bomb, it detonates destroying the harbour and much of Charleston.

In spite of there being several warnings during commercial breaks and including the word "Dramatization" superimposed on screen during key moments, many people called the authorities and loved ones in Charleston.

I myself watched this movie when it was repeated on television with some friends. One friend 100% believed it was really happening (mind you we were just teenagers back then).


Kevin
 
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Probe Droid

Master Member
As far as believability, jumping into today's world, if someone started tweeting that there was a terrorist attack on a city or a single building and provided steady updates including things like, "heavy smoke, moving to another floor" "I hear gunfire, running for cover," etc., and timed the tweets right, thousands would completely buy into it.
 

Laspector

Sr Member
I wish they would put "The night that panicked America" on DVD. I haven't seen that in a long time. I would like to have that in my collection.
 

Too Much Garlic

Master Member
This radio show and Jeff Wayne's War of the Worlds rock musical are the best WotW dramatizations worth their salt. The fifties movie comes second.
 

Wes R

Legendary Member
Jeff Wayne's i'd never have known about if the local rock station hadn't played it one Halloween night when i was in 7th grade or so. I want to see the videogame he had planned to go with it and he had been wanting to do a movie too. I know the music was on tour.
He's made it his baby all these years. My dad hates the 50s movie because they aren't tripods but they couldn't do it within budget though they had wanted to. I have a low budget 3 hours movie from england that covers nearly the entire novel that i got at walmart. Its not the best but it uses period costumes at least.

Edit: I had a copy off youtube of Special Bulletin but can't find it. It was back when i was collecting everything cold war i could lol. They did a thing like this back in the 90s too where meteors are hitting the earth sent by aliens and it looks like a news broadcast but i don't remember the name. I think I was in 7th grade then too.
 

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Treadwell

Master Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
Another clue during the broadcast is that Welles' character somehow got from Madison Avenue to Grover's Mill during a three-minute "return" to fake regular programming (chamber music).
 

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