Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Alien Invasion? NOT.

Smithsonian Magazine calls it "the most famous alien invasion that never happened." They're referring to Orson Welles' "War of the Worlds" radio broadcast, aired October 30, 1938 - seventy-five years ago today. As you may know, Welles' convincing report led some listeners to believe the world had actually been invaded by creatures from outer space. Welles, only 23 at the time, did a masterful job of scaring the peewaddle out of his listeners on the eve of Halloween. 

If you'd like to hear the complete broadcast, click on the newspaper photo below. 

In that era - before the Internet, instant messaging, cell phones, and TV coverage - people relied on radio broadcasts and newspaper stories for information. It's not hard to understand how this broadcast might have freaked out some folks. I have to wonder: could something like this happen today? 

Information on this event as well as short clips and commentary, compiled by Smithsonian Magazine, can be found here: American Experience - War of the Worlds


  1. Interesting question! On one hand, we have access to so much information so quickly. But what would happen if the wrong information got passed around a million times faster?

    1. I thought the same thing, Jacquie. With so much disinformation out there, I don't know what to believe half the time. Recently I heard a snippet on the radio (National Public Radio, no less!) saying that Mylie Cyrus had committed suicide. Turned out to be a hoax, of course.

  2. It could, under the right circumstances. When I was away at college, someone played that old broadcast for a group of students who thought it was coming over the radio. They were crying and wanting to call parents, etc. But then that was, er, well, a few years ago!


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