October 30 - Orson Welles scares the American public with "War of the Worlds"

On this day, 74 years ago, arguably the most historic broadcast in the history of radio took place. Orson Welles' radio adaptation of H.G. Wells' novel "War of the Worlds" will always be remembered as the radio broadcast that sent the American public into mass hysteria.

The novel is about an alien invasion , which the public thought was actually occurring in America as they were listening to the broadcast. "The War of the Worlds" broadcast took the form of a news-bulletin format, which lead people to believe that what they were hearing was indeed true. Also, given that many listeners tuned in late to the broadcast, they missed the disclaimer which stated that broadcast was based off a fictional novel.

Given that the 1930's was seen as the "Golden Age" of radio (television had not become a mainstream medium at this point), the radio was the primary source of news for most people. The trust that the public had in radio was a big reason as to why they believed an alien invasion was taking place.


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