Orson Welles’ radio broadcast of H.G. Wells’ novel War of the Worlds will mark its 75th anniversary on October 30th. To celebrate, The Gift Theatre, WBEZ Radio and The Northwest Chicago History Meetup Group will stage a live recreation of the original radio broadcast, complete with sound effects, audience participation, and a script modified to set the tale in Chicagoland, rather than the New York-New Jersey locale of the original!
Often called 'The Night that Panicked America', the broadcast by the Mercury Theatre of the Air, designed to simulate a musical radio show interrupted by realistic news bulletins of an invasion startled audiences who treated radio the way today's viewers tend to use TV, as "background" or "wallpaper", while they do other things. Listeners who started paying attention in the middle of the broadcast missed the disclaimer at the beginning warning that it was a simulation of a news broadcast, not the real thing! Beliving the invasion to be real, some people panicked, hiding in basements or fleeing from their homes! (For more details about what happened in 1938, click HERE for a superb article at NationalGeographic's website)
WBEZ Radio will broadcast the presentation live from the gym of the Jefferson Park Fieldhouse, which will be converted to a fully-functional radio studio for the purpose. Besides the broadcast itself, there will be an exhibit at the Esdohr House (a small coach house next to the fieldhouse) featuring the history of War of the Worlds, Orson Welles’ Chicago connections, and vintage 1930s photography showing the city as it looked during that time.
Reservations are suggested, so click on the link HERE to register. You don't want to be left out when the world comes to an end, do you?
October 30th, 2013, 7pm, Jefferson Park Fieldhouse, 5415 W Higgins Ave.