Revisiting Halloween Pranks Gone Wrong
Posted 28 October 2019 - 04:38 AM
Edited by LeticiaAlb, 28 October 2019 - 04:39 AM.
Posted 29 October 2019 - 05:10 PM
The one-hour program began with the theme music for the Mercury Theatre on the Air and an announcement that the evening's show was an adaptation of The War of the Worlds. Orson Welles then read a prologue which was closely based on the opening of H.G. Wells' novel but modified to place the story's setting in 1939. For about the next twenty minutes, the broadcast was presented as a typical evening of radio programming being interrupted by a series of news bulletins. The first few bulletins cut into a program of dance music and describe a series of odd explosions observed on Mars. This is followed by a seemingly unrelated report of an unusual object falling on a farm in Grover's Mill, New Jersey. Another brief musical interlude is interrupted by a live report from Grover's Mill, where police officials and a crowd of curious onlookers have surrounded the strange cylindrical object which has fallen from the sky. The situation quickly escalates when Martians emerge from the cylinder and attack using a heat-ray, abruptly cutting off the shouting of the panicked reporter at the scene. This is followed by a rapid series of increasingly alarming news updates detailing a devastating alien invasion taking place around the world and the futile efforts of the U.S. military to stop it. The first portion of the show climaxes with another live report describing giant Martian war machines releasing clouds of poisonous smoke across New York City, after which the program took its first break. During the second portion of the show, the style shifts to a more conventional radio drama format and follows a survivor dealing with the aftermath of the invasion and the ongoing Martian occupation of Earth. As in the original novel, the story ends with the discovery that the Martians have been defeated by microbes rather than by humans.
Welles's' "War of the Worlds" broadcast has become famous for supposedly tricking some of its listeners into believing that a Martian invasion was actually taking place due to the "breaking news" style of storytelling employed in the first half of the show. The illusion of realism was furthered because the Mercury Theatre on the Air was a sustaining show without commercial interruptions, and the first break in the program came almost 30 minutes after the introduction. Popular legend holds that some of the radio audience may have been listening to The Chase and Sanborn Hour with Edgar Bergen and tuned in to "The War of the Worlds" during a musical interlude, thereby missing the clear introduction indicating that the show was a drama; however, contemporary research suggests that this happened only in rare instances.
In the days after the adaptation, widespread outrage was expressed in the media. The program's news-bulletin format was described as deceptive by some newspapers and public figures, leading to an outcry against the broadcasters and calls for regulation by the Federal Communications Commission. Nevertheless, the episode secured Welles's fame as a dramatist.
Edited by MacCionoadha BeanSidhe, 29 October 2019 - 05:10 PM.
Aquène kah nahonnushagk(Peace and farewell),
The Official GhostStudy Easter Bunny
Posted 08 November 2019 - 10:15 PM