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PostPosted: Thu Oct 31, 2013 2:16 PM 
10 Years? God im old!
10 Years? God im old!
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On the evening of October 30th, 1938, radio listeners were treated to a dramatic production of HG Wells' The War of the Worlds that was so original, and so convincing, that it apparently led some to believe that beings from the Red Planet had invaded America.

The notorious broadcast, performed by the Mercury Theater, a company run by a 23-year old ingenue named Orson Welles, took the 1898 science fiction novel and turned it into an ingenious radio play. Welles' conceit was to dress the broadcast up as a regular musical program, and have it interrupted by reports of the extraterrestrial invasion fleet touching down in New Jersey. The absence of commercial breaks added to the versimilitude.

Despite regular announcements throughout that the program was a dramatic adaptation of the novel, some listeners were apparently convinced that it was the real deal. The front page of the following day's New York Times reported that listeners "panicked" and that the police were "swamped" by phone calls -- although, as an essay on the BBC website reveals, the truth is that relatively few were fooled and that the notion of mass pandemonium is an apocryphal one dreamed up by excitable newspapermen.

You can listen to the entire 60-minute broadcast in the player below.

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