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War Of The Worlds 1938 Radio Broadcast

 
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filmdetective
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 29, 2020 12:16 pm    Post subject: War Of The Worlds 1938 Radio Broadcast Reply with quote

Has anyone other than myself, read the article that claims the "Panic" over the War of the Worlds radio broadcast was a "Myth?"

The Myth of the War of the Worlds Panic

By Jefferson Pooley and Michael J. Socolow

I've always been very fascinated with the word, "Myth" and its use, often used to indicate an untrue teaching or belief, sometimes referring to events that "really" did happen, which might be the case that this article states, basically that while the broadcast really did take place, and some people could have believed the Martian invasion was "really" taking place, the belief that the broadcast caused a widespread panic across the USA, is incorrect.
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Bud Brewster
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 29, 2020 1:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

________________________________

Thanks for posting this, Filmdetective!

This well-written article does indeed make a strong case (with hard evidence) for the idea that during the 83 years which have passed since the 1938 broadcast, the legend of just how spooked the listeners of America really were by that wonderful presentation of War of the Worlds has aged like fined wine. Cool

The article tends to "bust our bubble" concerning the fond notion that thousands of people across the nation were hiding under their beds, waiting in terror for the approach of Martian tripods with death rays and the "black smoke of death".






But even if it wasn't actually a National Night of Terror, it still must have caused a few fascinating incidents in some parts of the country, especially those areas which coincided with the locations in New England where this Americanized version of Well's story started out! Shocked


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Last edited by Bud Brewster on Wed Jul 29, 2020 4:34 pm; edited 2 times in total
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Krel
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 29, 2020 2:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

In the 1970s a local radio station used to replay this on Halloween night. I used to listen to it with my Dad, who had listened to it on it's first broadcast. I asked him if he knew about the panic. He laughed it off, as they were always doing identifications and announcements about it being a Mercury Radio play. He felt that you would have had to be an idiot to think it was real.

David.
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Bud Brewster
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 29, 2020 4:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

________________________________

I remember reading somewhere that a small number of the listeners didn't realize it was just a radio play, and they became confused because they'd switched their radios from a station playing dance music to one with the radio play — a bit late! Shocked

This caused them to miss the opening and mistakenly think they had stumbled upon a news announcement about a situation in a nearby state — an event which involved a strange object that had crashed into the countryside! Shocked

Once these poor misguided folks got the impression that the "news report" was real, their imaginations took over . . . and the rest is history. Some of them probably called friends and relatives to warn them about the Martian invasion!

Well . . . anyway . . . that's that I heard! Shocked

The article with the link posted above goes into detail about how this myth got started. I recommend reading it.

(By the way, the author of the article misspells H.G. Well's name throughout the text. I'll bet he regrets doing that . . . )

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Last edited by Bud Brewster on Mon Aug 03, 2020 6:58 pm; edited 2 times in total
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filmdetective
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Joined: 16 Mar 2020
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 30, 2020 12:48 am    Post subject: Bud and Krel Reply with quote

Bud, thanks for posting that good artwork above, and, Krel, thanks for sharing your father's memory of the broadcast with the rest of us.
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Gord Green
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 30, 2020 1:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I remember asking my dad about this too. He laughed and said that it wasn't such a big thing until the newspapers ginned it up. It was obviously a story and only a real moron would have believed it.

Funny thing is here in Buffalo NY local radio station WKBW did their own version of it...updating it to the present and having it involve local personalities in the city and it's environs. According to reports even though it was advertised for weeks before being broadcast on "beggers night" and notices having been sent to all local law enforcement agencies, police switchboards lit up with panicing people galore!

So who knows?

The broadcast is here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hbSJKp02Jqc&t=177s

A documentary on it is here :

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w3ZBVvwQrvM

It was originaly broadcast in 1968 and I remember me and my future bride to be went parking in my 63' Pontiac Catalina convertible to listen to it!

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Bud Brewster
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 30, 2020 12:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

________________________________

Gord, your comment on the reaction to the remake lends credence to the claim that there actually were some listens in 1938 who were also fooled by the broadcast.

So, even though Filmdetective's initial post is absolutely correct about how the newspapers sensationalized the story about folks who took the radio play seriously, the "myth" does have a grain of truth to it. Very Happy

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