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Inside 1 Memory Care of Naples Is Honored With an Award! 2 Meet Memory Care of Westover Hills’ Most Gentle Resident 3 Residents and Caregivers Get Crafty, Spruced Up, and Full This Fall! 3 Word Search 3 Zesty Orange Cranberry Sauce 4 What Really Happened the Night Martians Invaded New Jersey?
THE NIGHT MARTIANS INVADED NEW JERSEY
Orson Welles Recounts ‘The War of the Worlds’
On the evening of Oct. 30, 1938, an eloquent voice graced the airwaves in New Jersey: “We now know in the early years of the 20th century, this world was being watched closely by intelligences greater than man’s, and yet as mortal as his own. We now know as human beings busied themselves about their various concerns, they were scrutinized and studied, perhaps almost as narrowly as a man with a microscope might scrutinize the transient creatures that swarm and multiply in a drop of water …” And so began Orson Welles’ classic radio broadcast, a retelling of H.G. Wells’ “The War of the Worlds.” Peppered in the retelling were fictional news bulletins informing the public of an alien invasion. Martians had arrived in New Jersey!
Some listeners, who had missed the fact that this was a retelling of “The War of the Worlds,” assumed the news bulletins were the real thing. Frenzied, they called local police, newspapers, and radio stations hoping for more information about the invasion. What were they supposed to do? Higher-ups at the CBS radio studio where Welles delivered the live reading called and told him he needed to stop and remind listeners that this was a work of fiction. The panic, it seemed, was growing as the Martians “approached” New York. A little later that night, police showed up at the studio with the intent of shutting the whole thing down. The next day, the story broke across the country — newspapers reported on mass hysteria and stories poured out that the nation had erupted in panic. However, as we now know, the extent of the panic was
exaggerated. In fact, the program didn’t even have very many listeners that night, and most who had tuned in were aware they were listening to a radio play rather than a news broadcast. American University media historian W. Joseph Campbell, who researched the broadcast in the 2000s, found that while there had been some panic, most listeners simply enjoyed the show. It turns out the person who was the most frightened was Welles himself who thought his career had come to an end.
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