On October 30th, 1938 the world experienced a radio broadcast unlike any other that had ever been heard before, or since. Mass hysteria overwhelmed many who believed that the Mercury Theater On The Air's broadcast of Orson Welles' radio drama War of the Worlds was the actual reporting of an alien invasion. Public reaction to the program caused a national alert, for which Welles would apologize the following day.

The first two-thirds of the broadcast were formatted as that of news bulletins, interrupting music that was actually of smoke-screen of the true nature of the program. Beginning with the discovery of explosions on the planet Mars, a second news bulletin, seemingly unrelated, would follow to advise of a report of an unidentified object falling to Earth on a farm in Grover's Mill, NJ.

Orson Speaks
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It would soon be reported that aliens emerged from the object, and would soon begin their attack, and then similar "reports" would quickly begin pouring in "from around the world. The realism of the reports would be increased because the Mercury Theater was a self-sustained program, and did not generally have commercial breaks within it's programming. The program's authenticity further increased when listeners tuned into the  program during the first musical interlude, completely missing the show's introduction which explained that the show was a drama.

Written by Howard Koch, it was an adaption of H.G. Wells 1898 novel War of the Worlds, originally airing on the CBS Radio Network, remaining a benchmark in radio drama to this day. So we would like you to join us, sit back, and open up the theater of the mind, and enjoy War of the Worlds, as it was originally presented 79 years ago.

Happy Halloween!!!

Orson Welles
Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images

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