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The Original War Of The Worlds Radio Broadcast

Updated on December 12, 2014
War of the Worlds
War of the Worlds | Source

The War of the Worlds Original Broadcast CD

The War of the Worlds - Original Broadcast
The War of the Worlds - Original Broadcast

This CD release is much as you would have heard it if you had tuned in in 1938. It shows its age with plenty of crackles and many reviewers call for a full restoration. However, listening to The War of the Worlds is still moving, especially when you think about how the public was tricked and how some were convinced that alien creatures from Mars were invading Earth.


H.G. Wells and Orson Welles Present The War Of the Worlds Radio Show

The War of the Worlds was an episode of a public radio series called Mercury Theatre. The book from which the story was taken was written by H.G. Wells and adapted for radio by Howard Koch and Anne Froelich, with input from Orson Welles. The radio show was directed and narrated by Orson Welles and originally aired on the night before Halloween in 1938.

The show aired despite reservations by Orson Welles that the public would find the story unbelievable. Performers (who included Orson Welles) pretended that they were REALLY witnesses to horrible alien invasions and they were quite convincing.

People today still listen to War of the Worlds and are sometimes scared by it. However, when War of the Worlds first aired, people really BELIEVED what they were hearing, which is a credit to the talented voices and the fact that the program aired on the much respected radio station, CBS. Of the estimated six million people who listened to the show, it is believed that 1.7 million people thought that the broadcast was real and 1.2 million of them were actually SCARED.

Life was different in those days and the radio played an important role in people's lives. After listening to this radio show, some people were actually scared enough to commit suicide, demonstrating the power of the human voice and the power of persuasion. Much discussion occurred immediately after the broadcast about the responsibilities of the media to the public and of course, we still talk about that impact today.

Have you heard the radio broadcast of War of the Worlds?

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H.G. Wells
H.G. Wells | Source

Who was H.G. Wells?

H.G. Wells was the author of War of the Worlds.

H.G. (Herbert George) Wells lived from September 21, 18tt to August 13, 1946. He was a British author who is particularly well known for his science fiction works. Two years after the infamous radio broadcast, Orson Welles interviewed H.G. who admitted that he was surprised by the panic that followed the show and said that he was thankful to Orson who increased the sales of all of his work.

Learn more about H.G. Wells on Wikipedia by by clicking right here.

See more of H.G. Wells works on Amazon by by clicking right here.

Orson Welles
Orson Welles | Source

Who was George Orson Welles?

Orson Welles was the director and narrator of The War of the Worlds.

Orson Welles or rather George Orson Welles was an American film director, a film and theatre director, actor, screenwriter and producer. He was born on May 6, 1915, and sadly died on October 10, 1985, just 20 days before the anniversary of the premier of War of the Worlds.

Definitely a man who will be remembered.

The War of the Worlds Book - Written by H.G. Wells.

The War of the Worlds
The War of the Worlds

This edition of the book The War of the Worlds includes illustrations by Edward Gorey, which are considered amongst the best depictions of the alien invaders ever. Amazon calls Gorey's illustrations "wonderfully creepy" and says that they deliver an "insectlike infestation of pen-and-ink tendrils." Amazon customer reviewers agree, saying that Gorey managed to capture the Martians in a way that befits the story and that this story is one of the greatest classics of science fiction.


Was The War of the Worlds radio broadcast a good thing?

Do you think that The War of the Worlds radio broadcast abused the power of the radio? Or did the radio show simply provide good, solid entertianment value?

H. G. Wells' The War of the Worlds Movie (1953) DVD

This is the first movie version, which starred Gene Barry and Ann Robinson.

The broadcast from October 30th, 1938, inspired a number of movies including this 1953 version, which starred Gene Barry and Ann Robinson. It was the first of several movies and is considered one of the best science fiction movies of the 1950s. It won an Oscar for Best Special Effects and delivers, for a movie of its time, plenty of thrills, action and suspense.

The War of the Worlds Movie (2005) Blu-ray and DVD

This is the Steven Spielberg and Tom Cruise version of the movie.

This is the Steven Spielberg version of the movie, featuring narration by Morgan Freeman and starring Tom Cruise. It is a modern take on H.G. Wells' story, which features current effects and a huge budget. Some consider it a horror movie as well as a science fiction movie. However, it isn't a slasher movie but rather one in which the aliens are determined to wipe out the human race from the planet earth...Order your copy of War of the Worlds on DVD or blu-ray disc. | Source

The War of the World Television Series

The t.v. series starred Jared Martin, Lynda Mason Green and Philip Akin.

This War of the Worlds series was a television program that had two seasons, starting in 1988. It is considered an addition to the original movie in 1953 and it used the same war machine and included some bits from the original movie, radio show and book. It features, of course, the Martian invaders set to eradicate human life from Earth. However, the invaders are captured and quarantined and then forgotten. When they break out of captivity, they are determined to continue their mission and meet resistance from a small group of human fighters...Click here to order the first or final seasons of the War of the Worlds television series.

Tell the World!

Do you think YOU would have been scared in 1938 when The War of The Worlds was broadcast?

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    • madoc profile image

      madoc 5 years ago

      Yep, I think I would have been vcery scared at first

    • SusanDeppner profile image

      Susan Deppner 5 years ago from Arkansas USA

      I've heard a good portion of the War of the Worlds broadcast and I am positive I would have been scared! This would be good entertainment on Halloween night. Spooky-scary!

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      this design has sold quite well, so thought like to share it, its features WAR OF THE WORLDS which by the way is another peronal favourite, I feel it a good buy for any of you guys who like this movie, COMPLETE LIST OF SCI FI TSHIRTS SEE

    • Celticep profile image

      Celticep 5 years ago

      At the time yes, I probably would've been scared. As I said in my comment in the debate above, in the context of the time it would've seemed very real to people who were not wary of the deceptiveness of the media.

    • auntjennie profile image

      Jen 6 years ago from Canada

      I head it over ten years ago. I thought it was extremely well done, but I don't think it would have ever scared me.

    • profile image

      Joan4 6 years ago

      We have heard the original broadcast and my husband, the practical joker, loves this whole story and the fact that they pulled it off! :)

    • Dianne Loomos profile image

      Dianne Loomos 6 years ago

      I've not heard the original broadcast but it must have been good to have such an effect on people.

    • TreasuresBrenda profile image

      Treasures By Brenda 6 years ago from Canada

      Interesting lens, I've yet to actually listen to the broadcast although I certainly know a lot about it.

    • lbos114 profile image

      lbos114 6 years ago

      Nice lens I enjoyed it though I haven't seen the movie in ages or read the book at all.

    • lovelylashes profile image

      lovelylashes 7 years ago

      Those spaceships are the thing of my nightmares.

    • FanfrelucheHubs profile image

      Nathalie Roy 7 years ago from France (Canadian expat)

      I have read the War Of the World book, never had the chance to listen to the famous radio broadcast, saw the recent not too good Tom Cruise film (was not impress, but it was an ok entertainment).

    • profile image

      BeyondRoses 7 years ago

      The original version of the movie "War of the Worlds" is considered a classic. I have not seen any recent remakes, but doubt they could even compare. I have heard the amazing broadcast in the film. Nice lens!

    • dwdblogger profile image

      dwdblogger 7 years ago

      nice.. maybe I should get around to reading this now

    • JS0425 LM profile image

      JS0425 LM 7 years ago

      @anonymous: Awesome, Right after I finish writing this, I'll put your lens on mine!Thanks

    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

      I love the shows and the broadcast, the book is awesome. I'm going to feature this on my coloring pages.