Sunday, July 26, 2020

Post #2 (The War of the Worlds)

Orson Welles’s broadcasts a realistic radio dramatization of a Martian invasion occurring on Earth, called “War of the Worlds”. The “War of the Worlds” was not planned to become a radio hoax and Orson Welles had no idea about the madness he was going to create. During the broadcast on October 30th, 1938 an announcer bursted into the room to share the news that explosions had been found on Mars, which then led to a huge meteor crashing into a farmer’s field in Grovers Mills, New Jersey. The reporters describe a shadow as large as a bear that glistens like wet leather, with tentacles emerging from this metal cylinder. They claim these “Martians” killed over 700 National Guards, spread poisonous gas, and fled to Chicago. The Federal Communications Commission investigated the program due to thousands of people trying to flee, but found that no laws were broken. Although, there are still some conspiracies on what had really happened after the broadcast. Psychologist Hadley Cantril believes that more than 1 million people were affected by the broadcast (stressed, excited, disturbed) but on the other hand, Sociologist Miller and Bainbridge found very little evidence of any type of widespread trauma. It was then concluded that it was more of a delusion than any type of widespread fear. 

1 comment:

  1. I remember reading the transcript of this play in middle school and being so amazed that they didn't warn new listeners who tuned in late that it was fake, and that people actually thought that aliens had invaded and the world was ending. It's really good to hear that there is little evidence of lasting widespread trauma, however scary it must've been in the moment