AS IT HAPPENED ON SUNDAY, OCTOBER 30, 1938 !!!
THE ORIGINAL BROADCAST OF "WAR OF THE WORLDS" PERFORMED BY ORSON WELLES AND "THE MERCURY THEATRE ON THE AIR" !!!
This compact disc presentation of "War of the Worlds" runs almost 52 minutes. The CD is in AUDIO format and will play in ANY CD player. The CD is labeled and provided in a highly protective jewel case.
A note concerning sound quality. The sound quality for the shows in this collection is very good to good. It is difficult to find perfect recordings from the golden age of radio due to the equipment used for recording and the fact that many of the recordings were made 60, 70 or even 80 years ago.
HERE'S SOME BACKGROUND INFORMATION FOR "WAR OF THE WORLDS":
On October 30, 1938 CBS Radio was broadcasting the music of Ramon Raquello and his orchestra live from the Meridian Room at the Park Plaza in New York City. Suddenly a reporter from Intercontinental Radio News interrupted the broadcast to deliver an important announcement. Astronomers had just detected enormous blue flames shooting up from the surface of Mars.
The broadcast returned to the music of Ramon Raquello, but soon it was interrupted again with more news. Now a strange meteor had fallen to earth, impacting violently on a farm near Grovers Mill, New Jersey. A reporter was soon on hand to describe the eerie scene around the meteor crater, and the broadcast now switched over to continuous coverage of this rapidly unfolding event.
To the dismay of the terrified audience listening to the broadcast, the events around the Grovers Mill meteor crater rapidly escalated from the merely strange to the positively ominous. It turned out that the meteor was not a meteor. It was, in fact, some kind of spaceship from which a tentacled creature, presumably a Martian, soon emerged and blasted the on-lookers with a deadly heat-ray.
The Martian sunk back into the crater, but reemerged soon afterwards housed inside a gigantic, three-legged death machine. The Martian quickly disposed of 7,000 armed soldiers surrounding the crater, and then it began marching across the landscape, soon joined by other Martians. The Martian invaders blasted people and communication lines with their heat-rays, while simultaneously releasing a toxic black gas against which gas masks proved useless.
At this point, many listeners began to panic. Some people loaded blankets and supplies in their cars and prepared to flee the Martian invaders. One mother in New England reportedly packed her babies and lots of bread into a car, figuring that "if everything is burning, you can't eat money, but you can eat bread." Other people hid in cellars, hoping that the poisonous gas would blow over them. One college senior drove forty-five miles at breakneck speed in a valiant attempt to save his girlfriend.
By the time the night was over, however, almost all of these people had learned that the news broadcast was entirely fictitious. It was simply the weekly broadcast of Orson Welles and the Mercury Theatre, and that week, in honor of Halloween, what they had been hearing was a play.
The broadcast reached a huge audience, demonstrating the enormous reach of radio at that time. Approximately six million people heard it, and out of this number it was long thought that almost one million people panicked. More recent research, however, suggests that the number of people who panicked is probably far lower. In fact, the idea that the broadcast touched off a huge national scare is probably more of a hoax than the broadcast itself, which was never intended to fool anyone (At four separate points during the broadcast, including the beginning, it was clearly stated that what people were hearing was a play). The idea that hundreds of thousands of people panicked arose because the media eagerly pumped up the story in the weeks following the event.
Nevertheless, some people undeniably did panic. Therefore, what might have caused them to believe that the broadcast was real?
First of all, many people tuned in late and missed the announcement made at the beginning of the broadcast that what followed was merely a staged dramatization. By the time a second disclaimer was made, the most alarming portion of the play had already been broadcast.
Second of all, the global situation in 1938 provided a context which allowed many to believe that such a series of events could be unfolding. Tensions in Europe were rising, and it had been very common during the previous three months for radio broadcasts to be interrupted by reporters delivering ominous news from Europe. Many who panicked later said that they had assumed that the Martian invasion was actually a cleverly disguised German attack.
Interestingly, most of those who panicked were middle-aged or older. Younger listeners tended not to panic because they recognized Orson Welles's voice as the voice of the hero in the popular radio series, "The Shadow."
Attention Etsy: After a careful search of the Library of Congress and the United States Trademark and Patent Office, it has been determined that the programs listed for sale here are in the Public Domain. They are being offered with the understanding that no valid or active copyright, trademark, and/or patent exist for them. These recordings are sold for private home listening and use only. No broadcast rights are stated, implied, or given. Historical Media assumes no responsibility for unauthorized use of these programs. The Library Of Congress has ruled that old radio broadcasts are within the Public Domain, since they were not qualified for copyright protection when presented, nor was any attempt to place them under such copyright protection when the opportunity existed in 1978-1979 when the copyright law regarding these programs was revised. Radio shows created before January 1, 1978 are protected by the Copyright Act of 1909. These shows are listed in accordance with current Etsy policies concerning selling Old Time Radio Public Domain materials.
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