W. Joseph Campbell

A clever show it was

In Media myths, Media myths and radio on October 31, 2009 at 3:31 pm

The War of the Worlds dramatization  holds appeal to this day.

Orson Welles monument in Grovers Mill, N.J.

A monument in Grovers Mill, N.J., commemorates Welles and his adaptation of War of the Worlds

The show was work of Orson Welles and his Mercury Theatre on the Air troupe who cleverly used signature elements of radio of the 1930s to create a splendidly clever program. Most listeners recognized it for what it was: An ingenious radio play about a Martian invasion on the eve of Halloween.

The Mercury Theatre on the Air version was set in New Jersey and New York City. The vanguard of the invading Martians landed in Grovers Mill, N.J., still a rural community near Princeton. The War of the Worlds dramatization is commemorated in Grovers Mill by a monument that depicts scenes from the program — including young Orson Welles at the microphone.

Welles was 23 when he made the program. He went on to greater fame as director and star of 1941 motion picture Citizen Kane.

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