Skip to comments.The Myth of the War of the Worlds Panic
Posted on 10/29/2013 6:48:03 PM PDT by DManA
Just a link per rules
(Excerpt) Read more at slate.com ...
And PBS is playing a documentary tonight that falls for it hook line and sinker.
Actually there was a panic with people getting killed over it but it was in Chile or something. Apparently they burned the Radio station to the ground in anger.
My parents lived way out in the sticks but they listened to the program. They had no problem as they kept announcing that it was just a radio program and not the real thing.
They did have neighbors who armed themselves and prepared to fight the Martians.
That is not panic tho.
My mother was 13 and my father 19 at the time. Neither ever mentioned anything about the program. I’ve never read anything in my local rag about a panic in my hometown, La Crosse, Wisconsin. This article confirms my suspicions, and I conclude that the media’s versions of national panic is pretty much a fraud. I think a lot of it has to do with the very elite liberal belief that Americans are mostly just a bunch of ignorant hicks and rubes who’ll believe anything.
Grover’s Mill will never be the same.
“The newspaper industry sensationalized the panic to prove to advertisers, and regulators, that radio management was irresponsible and not to be trusted. In an editorial titled Terror by Radio, the New York Times reproached radio officials for approving the interweaving of blood-curdling fiction”
Jeeze, The pictures I remember seeing had Truman holding up a newspaper, not a radio saying “Dewey Wins”.
And then radio execs kept the myth going as an example to advertisers of the “impact” of radio.
Apparently the New Yawk Times has been in a death spiral for quite a bit longer than I thought.
San Franisco would welcome the alien anal intruders...: )
San Francisco would welcome the alien anal intruders...: )
Wrong thread ...
I concur with your conclusions.
Dang. I wish this article had been written a few months earlier. My 95 year-old mom just passed away, and it would have been interesting to hear her recollection. She did say that she and her three sisters saved up for a nice radio for their parents back then - guessing it would have been about this time in the late thirties. She had a photo of it - big stand-up thing with nice wood case, etc.
I got a kick out of the following in the article:
“Welles program was scheduled against one of the most popular national programs at the timeventriloquist Edgar Bergens Chase and Sanborn Hour, a comedy-variety show.”
I guess it must have been pretty easy to be a ventriloquist....on the RADIO!!??
Now that I think about it, I think my mom said they liked to listen to the Lucky Strike radio show.
Not much different from Fibber McGee opening his closet after being warned not to by Molly with the predictable crashing of various items. A radio audience could/can visualize just about anything.
For anyone that’s interested, here’s the original broadcast:
WOW!!! Slate actually gets something right for once. Blind squirrels and acorns.
“A radio audience could/can visualize just about anything.”
Thanks - I forgot about the movies. Would they also run short clips of their acts before the main movie?
When the kids were young we would rent tapes from the library for road trips. Some of them were VERY long (5 to 6 hours?) and were VERY entertaining to both young and old. Although I do recall having to wait for daylight to continue one of the stories. It was just too scary for the two youngest ones to listen to in the dark! (”My Teacher is an Alien” The images conjured up in the dark attic IIRC is what spooked them out!)
There was a tipoff, though, in one of the headlines they showed, which said that SCORES had fled, or whatever. As we ancients know, a score is twenty.
I don’t doubt that the police got a lot of calls though. They dramatised one such, where the police said they hadn’t heard anythig about it, so I’ll bet this official non-response put a big damper on the potential panic, such as it may have been.
BTW, the broadcast had it that Mars was at opposition, making a close pass to earth in their orbits. My Starry Night software shows nearly the opposite, that Mars was near conjunction, on the far side of its orbit from earth. So I doubt there were many amateur astronomers among the panicers.
There’s no denying it caused a sensation, at any rate, and it was brilliant radio, no doubt.
Moe: Me and my dummy on a radio, what a swell racket!
Larry: Which of us is the dummy?
Curly: Oohh, me.. pick me!
You can still find some of those old shows online.
Of course not all of them survived.
Thanks for prompting a search!
Welcome to RadioLovers.com - Where Old Radio Shows Live Again!
Whether you want to discover the best radio shows from the past or remember what the best adventure, crime, pulp, sci-fi, noir and more! There was a time before the iPods, Video on Demand, 3D, the Internet and online video games; back in the day sitting around the living room radio was a family tradition.
Every night, families and their neighbors would come together and listen to radio broadcasts of Sherlock Holmes, Groucho Marx, The Avenger, Gunsmoke, Perry Mason, Superman and more. Radio broadcasts were so much a part of everyday life they could influence mass movements, such as the night Orson Welles told millions about an impending alien invasion... a “War of the Worlds.” Re-live those times with the largest online archive of vintage radio shows, available to you for FREE!
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So, yes, some stuff did happen.
Woody Allen’s “Radio Days” -The Martian Invasion
Almost all of those shows (radio and TV) are available on line and they're still as clever as ever.
Yes a score is 20. I’ve known that for many a fortnight.
My mother lived through that time and when I was in school and learned about the so called panic I asked why she never told me and my brother about it. She said it didn’t amount to anything and no one she knew thought the Martians were landing, the radio kept telling people it was fake and not to be alarmed. BTW, she lived in rural Arkansas at the time, so I guess those ignorant red necks weren’t as dumb as they were made out to be.
You forgot the Green Arrow, The Green Hornet, The Shadow, I was a communist for the FBI, Fibber McGee and Mollie, Amos and Andy, The Lone Ranger, The Cisco Kid. I used to love those radio programs when I was a kid back in the late 40s, early 50s and their day was almost over even then.That new fangled invention, Television, was taking over, even though the programs were not as interesting as radio. The imagination is a powerful thing and made the people on those old programs come to life in your mind.
Bookmarked for later.
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