On Oct. 30, 1938, Orson Welles’ Mercury Theater on the Air broadcasted an adaptation of H. G. Wells’ novel The War of the Worlds. Narrated by Welles himself, the broadcast detailed an alien invasion from Mars. The faux news broadcast was complete with news bulletins, special interruptions, and one newscaster claiming he’d seen a spaceship land. But what made the event famous wasn’t the words that were spoken, but rather the fear that they caused.
The broadcast quickly became known for causing panic among many of its listeners, who believed that an actual alien invasion was occurring. And although there has been much debate over how much panic the broadcast actually caused, it remains one of the most well-known radio broadcasts in history.
Now, 75 years later, WNYC’s George Takei is hosting a rebroadcast of the show tonight at 10 p.m. ET.
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