On October 31, 1938 Orson Welles broadcast an version of H.G. Wells’ “War of the Worlds”: one of the great media hoaxes of the 20th century.
On months that have a fifth Friday we break from our normal schedule and produce something else related in one way or another to cultural democracy. In 2022 we will delve into radio archives to bring back some historical examples of serials and comedies that let us hear unfiltered aspects of the world as it seemed to our grandparents.
In this episode we go back to Halloween night on October 31, 1938.
That night Orson Welles and the Mercury Theater broadcast an adaptation of H.G. Wells’ “War of the Worlds” that stands as a vivid reminder of the power of the media and of the general public’s vulnerability when it is gripped by fear. It also still stands as one of the great media hoaxes of the twentieth century.