W. Joseph Campbell

War of the Worlds

In Media myths, Media myths and radio on October 31, 2009 at 3:09 pm
Chicago Herald Examiner about War of the Worlds broadcast

Front page of the Chicago Herald Examiner on Halloween, 1938

The famous radio dramatization of The War of Worlds in October 1938 supposedly set off panic and hysteria across the United States. Tens of thousands of panic-stricken Americans were said to have taken to the streets or headed for the hills during the radio show, which was a clever adaptation of H. G. Wells’ novel about an invasion by Martians wielding  deadly heat rays.

The supposed panic that night in 1938 is a delicious story, one almost too good to be false.

But it is. There is scant evidence to believe that The War of Worlds dramatization had such an effect.

Getting It Wrong describes how newspapers of the time got it badly wrong.

Listen to the broadcast here.

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  11. […] why October brings numerous references to the War of the Worlds show and the panic it supposedly caused. Indeed, just the other day, an item posted at examiner.com […]

  12. […] YouTube video–prepared by Patterson in the fall to mark the anniversary of the famous War of the Worlds radio broadcast that supposedly was so realistic that it panicked America–also is accessible […]

  13. […] a savory, intriguing tale that never loses appeal. The War of the Worlds radio myth, of course, is especially popular this time of […]

  14. […] fooled thousands of gullible people into thinking they were being invaded by Martians – which itself is a myth that has fooled hundreds of millions of gullible people, and you’re probably one of them. […]

  15. […] Myth Alert — which was launched nine years ago with a post about The War of the Worlds — hopes […]

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