The War of the Worlds (radio drama)

The War of the WorldsWar of the Worldsradio adaptation1938 radio adaptationradio adaptation of ''The War of the Worldsradio broadcastWar of the Worlds'' radio broadcast1938 radio broadcastradio production of ''The War of the Worldsthis episode
"The War of the Worlds" is an episode of the American radio drama anthology series The Mercury Theatre on the Air directed and narrated by actor and future filmmaker Orson Welles as an adaptation of H.wikipedia
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Orson Welles

WellesWellesianWelles, Orson
"The War of the Worlds" is an episode of the American radio drama anthology series The Mercury Theatre on the Air directed and narrated by actor and future filmmaker Orson Welles as an adaptation of H. G. Wells's novel The War of the Worlds (1898).
He is remembered for his innovative work in all three: in theatre, most notably Caesar (1937), a Broadway adaptation of William Shakespeare's Julius Caesar; in radio, the long-remembered 1938 broadcast "The War of the Worlds"; and in film, Citizen Kane (1941), consistently ranked as one of the greatest films ever made.

The Mercury Theatre on the Air

Mercury Theatre on the AirMercury TheatreFirst Person Singular
"The War of the Worlds" is an episode of the American radio drama anthology series The Mercury Theatre on the Air directed and narrated by actor and future filmmaker Orson Welles as an adaptation of H. G. Wells's novel The War of the Worlds (1898).
The show made headlines with its "The War of the Worlds" broadcast on October 30, 1938 and is one of the most famous broadcasts in the history of radio due to the panic which it accidentally caused, after which the Campbell Soup Company signed on as sponsor.

The War of the Worlds

War of the Worldsnovelnovel of the same name
"The War of the Worlds" is an episode of the American radio drama anthology series The Mercury Theatre on the Air directed and narrated by actor and future filmmaker Orson Welles as an adaptation of H. G. Wells's novel The War of the Worlds (1898).
It was most memorably dramatized in a 1938 radio program that allegedly caused public panic among listeners who did not know the Martian invasion was fictional.

CBS

Columbia Broadcasting SystemCBS TelevisionCBS-TV
It was performed and broadcast live as a Halloween episode at 8 p.m. on Sunday, October 30, 1938 over the Columbia Broadcasting System radio network.
On October 30, 1938, CBS gained a taste of infamy when The Mercury Theatre on the Air broadcast a radio adaptation of H. G. Wells's The War of the Worlds, performed by Orson Welles.

Paul Stewart (actor)

Paul Stewart
Welles discussed his fake newscast idea with producer John Houseman and associate producer Paul Stewart; together, they decided to adapt a work of science fiction.
A friend and associate of Orson Welles for many years, Stewart helped Welles get his first job in radio and was associate producer of the celebrated radio program "The War of the Worlds", in which he also performed.

Ray Collins (actor)

Ray Collins
He was also influenced by the Columbia Workshop presentations "The Fall of the City", a 1937 radio play in which Welles played the role of an omniscient announcer, and "Air Raid", a vibrant as-it-happens drama starring Ray Collins that aired October 27, 1938.
Collins' best known (albeit uncredited) work on this series, however, was in "The War of the Worlds", the celebrated broadcast in which he played three roles, most notably the rooftop newscaster who describes the destruction of New York.

Grover's Mill, New Jersey

Grover's MillGrovers Mill, New Jersey
This is followed by a seemingly unrelated report of an unusual object falling on a farm in Grover's Mill, New Jersey. The novel was adapted for radio by Howard Koch, who changed the primary setting from 19th-century England to the contemporary United States, with the landing point of the first Martian spacecraft changed to rural Grover's Mill, an unincorporated village in West Windsor Township, New Jersey.
The community was made famous in Orson Welles' 1938 radio broadcast of The War of the Worlds, where it was depicted as the epicenter of a Martian invasion, on October 30 of that year.

John Houseman

Houseman, JohnJohn Houseman ProductionsJohn Houseman Studio Theater
Welles discussed his fake newscast idea with producer John Houseman and associate producer Paul Stewart; together, they decided to adapt a work of science fiction.
The Mercury Theatre on the Air subsequently became famous for its notorious 1938 radio adaptation of H. G. Wells' The War of the Worlds, which had put much of the country in a panic.

Bernard Herrmann

Bernard HermannHerrmannHermann
Early Sunday afternoon, Bernard Herrmann and his orchestra arrived in the studio, where Welles had taken over production of that evening's program.
He conducted the live performances, including Welles's famous adaptation of H. G. Wells's The War of the Worlds broadcast on October 30, 1938, which consisted entirely of pre-existing music.

Howard Koch (screenwriter)

Howard KochHoward E. KochKoch, Howard
The novel was adapted for radio by Howard Koch, who changed the primary setting from 19th-century England to the contemporary United States, with the landing point of the first Martian spacecraft changed to rural Grover's Mill, an unincorporated village in West Windsor Township, New Jersey.
His radio work in the 1930s as a writer for the CBS Mercury Theater of the Air included the Orson Welles radio drama The War of the Worlds (1938), which caused nationwide panic among some listeners for its documentary-like portrayal of an invasion of spaceships from Mars.

Howard Smith (actor)

Howard SmithHoward Smit
Lieutenant Voght, bombing commander … Howard Smith
In 1938 he performed in Orson Welles's short-lived stage production and once-lost film, Too Much Johnson, and in the celebrated radio production, "The War of the Worlds".

Stefan Schnabel

Field artillery observer … Stefan Schnabel
When Welles created the CBS radio series, The Mercury Theatre on the Air, Schnabel performed on episodes including the legendary broadcast, "The War of the Worlds".

Heat-Ray

heat rayenergy weaponheat ray pistols
Police officers approach the Martian waving a flag of truce, but the invaders respond by firing a heat ray, which incinerates the delegation and ignites the nearby woods and cars as the crowd screams.
Many adaptations adhere to the characteristics given in the novel, such as the 1938 CBS radio adaptation; even reciting near-verbatim descriptions.

William Alland

Meridian Room announcer … William Alland
He lent his voice to Welles's The War of the Worlds.

Martian (The War of the Worlds)

MartiansMartiansarmaks
Police officers approach the Martian waving a flag of truce, but the invaders respond by firing a heat ray, which incinerates the delegation and ignites the nearby woods and cars as the crowd screams.
A few draw upon their description from the original novel such as the infamous radio adaptation, as well as musical version, and Pendragon film adaptations.

Dan Seymour (announcer)

Dan Seymour
Announcer … Dan Seymour
An obituary noted, "Seymour was best known as the deep-voiced announcer who startled Americans with a convincing but fictional account of Martians landing on Earth in the War of the Worlds broadcast in 1938."

Anne Froelick

Koch said he could not make The War of the Worlds interesting or credible as a radio play, a conviction echoed by his secretary Anne Froelick, a typist and aspiring writer whom Houseman had hired to assist him.
Taylor assisted Koch on his adaptation of H.G. Wells' The War of the Worlds which made radio history when it was broadcast that same year.

Ronald Knox

Monsignor Ronald KnoxFather KnoxR.A. Knox
This approach was similar to Ronald Knox's radio hoax Broadcasting the Barricades, about a riot overtaking London, that was broadcast by the BBC in 1926, which Welles later said gave him the idea for "The War of the Worlds".
A 2005 BBC report on the broadcast suggests that the innovative style of Knox's programme may have influenced Orson Welles's radio broadcast "The War of the Worlds" (1938), which it foreshadowed in its consequences.

Jack Paar

The Jack Paar ProgramJack Paar ShowJack Paar Tonite
Future Tonight Show host Jack Paar had announcing duties that night for Cleveland CBS affiliate WGAR.
In his book P.S. Jack Paar, he recalled doing utility duty at WGAR in 1938 when Orson Welles broadcast his famous simulated alien invasion, The War of the Worlds, over the CBS network (and its WGAR affiliate).

Breaking news

news bulletinspecial reportbulletin
After a few minutes, the music begins to be interrupted by several news flashes about strange gas explosions on Mars.
Examples of early news bulletins in the Golden Age of Radio include fictionalized versions in the 1938 radio drama The War of the Worlds and coverage of the attack on Pearl Harbor, which was also the first television news bulletin, reported on stations in New York and Pennsylvania.

Kenny Delmar

Kenneth Delmar
Policeman at Wilmuth farm … Kenny Delmar
He played multiple roles in The Mercury Theatre on the Air's October 1938 radio drama The War of the Worlds.

Crossley ratings

Cooperative Analysis of BroadcastingCrossleyCrossley Rating Service
Sales were picking up. On this particular evening, October 30th, the Crossley service estimated that 32 million people were listening in on radios…
The survey is alluded to during Orson Welles' opening narration for his famous 1938 radio dramatization of The War of the Worlds: "On this particular evening, October 30th, the Crossley service estimated that thirty-two million people were listening in on radios."

WHKW

WGARWGAR (AM)WKNR
Future Tonight Show host Jack Paar had announcing duties that night for Cleveland CBS affiliate WGAR.
On October 30, 1938, it broadcast The Mercury Theatre on the Air's The War of the Worlds, and it was left to a young staff announcer named Jack Paar to go on the air and calm Cleveland listeners by telling them that the program was only a dramatization.

British Broadcasting Company

BBCBritish Broadcasting Company Ltd.British Broadcasting Company Ltd
This approach was similar to Ronald Knox's radio hoax Broadcasting the Barricades, about a riot overtaking London, that was broadcast by the BBC in 1926, which Welles later said gave him the idea for "The War of the Worlds".
16 January: Catholic priest and broadcaster Fr Ronald Knox broadcasts Broadcasting from the Barricades, a satirical news report of a fictional riot. A significant part of the public believes the programme to be genuine, and Knox's satire provokes a minor panic similar to Orson Welles's The War of the Worlds broadcast twelve years later.

Mercury Theatre

Mercury PlayersMercury ProductionMercury Productions
As the Mercury's second theatre season began in 1938, Orson Welles and John Houseman were unable to write the Mercury Theatre on the Air broadcasts on their own.
The radio series included one of the most notable and infamous radio broadcasts of all time, "The War of the Worlds", broadcast October 30, 1938.