Seventy-five years after Orson Welles’ broadcast reports of an invasion from Mars that never was, it still remains the best Halloween prank ever pulled – and PBS will celebrate that anniversary this week when it airs War of the Worlds on American Experience. The documentary includes dramatizations of the panicky reactions by many who thought aliens truly were landing in New Jersey in 1938, segments on the power of the media to influence and manipulate audiences, and interviews with film makers, historians and others, including Orson Welles’ daughter.
War of the Worlds airs on CPTV and most other PBS stations at 9 pm Eastern Time Tuesday, October 29.
Welles’ broadcast was an updated and truncated variation on the famous novel of the same name by British author H. G. Wells. It was delivered as if it were “breaking news,” with Welles’ repeatedly interrupting regularly scheduled programs and constantly updating the story with supposedly eye-witness reports of the Martian attack. Many listeners, especially those who tuned in late, believed the reports were real, and that Martians had indeed landed in Grover’s Mill, New Jersey and were trying to take over the world.
The documentary by director Cathleen O’Connell recounts and examines the events of that night before Halloween, 1938, including the reaction by government officials – including thousands of members of the National Guard who called their officers asking when and where to report in response to the “attack.”
War of the Worlds airs on CPTV and most other PBS stations at 9 pm Eastern Time Tuesday, October 29, and will be available on DVD and online.
Mark G. McLaughlin is a Connecticut-based free lance journalist and game designer with over 30 years of experience as a ghost-writer and columnist – and who got his start in radio in high school and college. A fan of both H.G. Wells and Orson Welles, Mark’s latest work, the science fiction adventure novel Princess Ryan's Star Marines, is available on Amazon.com in both paperback and Kindle e-book formats at http://www.amazon.com/Princess-Ryans-Star-Marines-Save/dp/1466218487/ref...
An author whose first published book was Battles of the American Civil War, and whose games include the Mr. Lincoln’s War set, Mark continues to be enthralled by stories from the age of Lincoln. To view Mark's 16th published design, the American Civil War Naval strategy game Rebel Raiders on the High Seas, visit his publisher at http://www.gmtgames.com/p-238-rebel-raiders-on-the-high-seas.aspx …
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