Orson Welles was as shocked as anyone after his 60-minute radio drama “The War of the Worlds” sent some Americans running for cover from an alien invasion by Martians. Welles had broadcast “Dracula,” after all, so he had “high hopes that people would react as they do in a movie,” he said in the 1938 interview shown above.
“You’ve no idea how many are listening and what they’re thinking,” the actor-filmmaker said of his audience.
Well, some of them thought Martians had finally descended, although it’s unclear from media reports how many actually panicked in the aftermath of Welles’ Oct. 30, 1938, broadcast on CBS radio.
Seventy-five years later, and 28 years after Welles’ death, could a similar “melodrama,” as he called it, set off panic now?
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