The Panic Broadcast

25 October 2010



We just had to include this somewhere in the run up to 30 October when (albeit in 1938) a notorious episode of the US radio drama Mercury Theater was broadcast.  As a special Halloweed treat they adpated HG Wells' novel of Martian invaders, The War of the Worlds.

In a series of new bulletins, the first forty minutes of the show was presented as a live on air eye-witness account of the invasion.  People looked at their radios strangely and half believed what they were hearing that night. What made it worse was the fact that Mercury Theater had no commercial breaks - so it just added to the realism of the show.

Some versions of history have it that there was mass panic.  This was simply not so but there was certainly mass indignation with many partially or completely taken in people complaining that the show had been too real (a complaint which still regularly happens about TV shows and movies to this day).  However, the whole thing did no harm to the career of the young man who had brought it all together - Orson Welles.

So, to celebrate that 30 October broadcast, here is a contemporary re-animation (as it were) of parts of the show, brought vividly to life by the Dead Astronauts.  There are even subtitles for our Spanish readers, which thanks to our latest stats I can tell you make up over 20% of Kuriositas' readership.It's a great adpatation of the broadcast - made even greater by the fact that all the characters are played by people knitted out of wool, possibly even crocheted.  Odd but strangely cool, or is that strangely odd but cool?


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