The Power of Radio

84 years ago tonight: On the evening of 30th October 1938, Orson Welles broadcast his famous dramatised production of the H G Wells novel The War of The Worlds on CBS American radio.


The play started conventionally enough with Welles reading the first part of the novel more or less verbatim. The play then reverted to what appeared to be a typical evening of dance band music which was suddenly interrupted by a newsflash of a mysterious object falling to ground in New Jersey.

More newsflashes followed in increasingly dramatic and hysterical fashion and eventually, as legend has it, an entire nation panicked thinking that they were being invaded by Martians. The following morning the newspapers were full of condemnation of Welles for misleading the nation (read that line again, such irony!).


The size of the panic has since been hugely disputed, but the newspapers did their job and Orson Welles became famous overnight.

8 thoughts on “The Power of Radio

      1. also has to do with the Cold War and people’s fear of ‘the other’, as was the message in many a twilight zone episode. later, it was about us venturing out into the unknown of space. lots of fear

        Liked by 1 person

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