75 years ago, Orson Wells caused panic in the United States
75 years ago, the American director Orson Welles caused panic among the U.S. population by issuing a radio adaptation of the classic HG Wells, "The War of the Worlds". A story that made 60 distressing minutes to become the most famous in the history of global broadcasting.
Whenever there is a major event in the world, the first question asked by the media is where were you a day like today a few years ago?. If we were to ask a few million Americans, they may say that they were scared at home listening to the radio and others were running like a bat out of hell, in their cars through the streets in search of a better place to shelter from invasion.
The October 30, 1938, a young Orson Welles in front of the microphone of the Study One of the Columbia Broadcasting (CBS) in New York, accompanied by ten actors and an orchestra of 27 instruments, put the world in the hands of an alien invasion thanks to a radio adaptation of the novel first published in 1898, "War of the Worlds" by British writer and novelist HG Wells, whose story unfolded entirely in England but Wells was able to move seamlessly into U.S. territory.
The eve of Halloween night, at eight o'clock, after an introduction and a warning of what was to tell by radio was a completely fictional story, the speech began: "Ladies and gentlemen, here is the latest bulletin from the Intercontinental Radio News. Toronto, Canada: Professor Morse of McGill University reports observing a total of three explosions on the planet Mars, between the hours of 7:45 P. M. and 9:20 P. M., eastern standard time.". Thus, Orson Wells wanted to give life to a fiction as an important newsletter is involved. He had done.
Many people began to listen to the radio later than the start of the broadcast of "The War of the Worlds", so you could not hear the warning message of the program, and others simply were not aware that this was only a soap opera more that would become the most famous in the history of radio. Something that, despite the years, has only managed that continue talking about it even more.
As the minutes passed, panic took hold of listeners who were tuned to CBS, between the music of the orchestra and assumptions newsletters, breaks were getting longer adding more nervousness and the mystery of that really was not happening. The following information was even more alarming than the first: "Ladies and gentlemen, due to circumstances beyond our control, we are unable to continue the broadcast from Grovers Mill. Evidently there's some difficulty with our field transmission. However, we will return to that point at the earliest opportunity. In the meantime, we have a late bulletin from San Diego, California. Professor Indellkoffer, speaking at a dinner of the California Astronomical Society, expressed the opinion that the explosions on Mars are undoubtedly nothing more than severe volcanic disturbances on the surface of the planet. We now continue with our piano interlude."
As if that were not enough to create a collective alarm, the character Carl Philips from Grovers Mill, New Jersey, where he allegedly was happening landing said: "Just a minute! Something's happening! Ladies and gentlemen, this is terrific! This end of the thing is beginning to flake off! The top is beginning to rotate like a screw! The thing must be hollow!".
12 million people heard the broadcast of "The War of the Worlds". So other many in the states of New Jersey and New York, panicked leaving their homes, collapsing roads, stations or police stations and blocking even emergency phones for several hours were receiving many calls they said they had seen the aliens.
After the uproar that Orson Wells had brought with "The War of the Worlds", the director was forced to call a press conference saying, "I have no interest in explaining to the public the reasons for radiating the novel, much less to apologize for having you excited. If there have been mass panic situations is only because I know telling stories on the radio".