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Just watched PBS' American Experience documentary about The War of The Worlds - October 30, 1938

My conclusion - The people who believed the radio drama was real were the parents (and grandparents) of today's Fox News audience.

by Anonymousreply 4911/04/2013

W&W for OP

by Anonymousreply 110/31/2013

I missed it but totally agree with OP.

by Anonymousreply 310/31/2013

Damn I wish I'd seen that. I'll have to look for it online. I think that theory is hilarious and true.

by Anonymousreply 410/31/2013

r4, here's the promo. Check local listings, it's still airing this weekend.

by Anonymousreply 510/31/2013

It was a very, very good documentary.

by Anonymousreply 610/31/2013

Where's the promo, R5?

by Anonymousreply 710/31/2013

Here it is ....

by Anonymousreply 810/31/2013

The gullible audience was taken in by War of the Worlds because of the "breaking news" aspect. Orson Wells made fake news sound like real news. Even though the broadcast defied logic, it sounded like "news" therefore they believed it. Hook. Line. And Sinker.

Same thing happens to the audience of Fox News today.

by Anonymousreply 910/31/2013

It was 1938. How else do you think they were supposed to verify the nature of what they were hearing?

by Anonymousreply 1010/31/2013

What r10 said.

Very few people had internet back in 1938.

by Anonymousreply 1110/31/2013

Yes. The commercial breaks and the repeated warnings they were hearing a radio play were useless because they had no way to verify that we were really not being INVADED FROM MARS.

(They must have been so frozen with fear they could not even change the station to see if anyone else was covering this event...)

by Anonymousreply 1210/31/2013


Goddamn, some of you need to crack open a fucking history book now and then.

by Anonymousreply 1310/31/2013

R13 needs to open up a history book as well.

As the PBS documentary pointed out . . . the most listened to program of the night was NBC's Chase and Sanborn Hour. It was while the NBC show started a musical number that people started "channel surfing" and hit on the "Breaking News" on the CBS station.

They might have not had 86 stations to choose from but I bet they had at least 35. Radio stations were everywhere in 19fucking38.

Like the Fox News audience today, they remained in a "news" bubble.

Fire from Mars reaches earth in mere seconds? Then Martians emerge and kill hundreds in NJ? Come on!

But then again, people believe that there are death panels in Obamacare, Obama is a socialist and a Muslim, and there is no such thing as global warming . . . amongst the hundreds of fake news reports from Fox.

by Anonymousreply 1411/01/2013

My mother was 10 years old when that broadcast occurred. She understood even at that age from the ads promoting it the week beforehand that it was only a play. She said it was made clear during the broadcast that it wasn't real either. She always scoffed at the idiots who were terrified by it.

by Anonymousreply 1511/01/2013

[quote]It was a very, very good documentary.

Eh, I don't know. I had trouble with the painfully obvious talking head interviews that were clearly shot in 2013.

by Anonymousreply 1611/01/2013

If you're in Metro New York, WOTW airs ...

Today, Friday, the 1st, 6:00-7:00PM WLIW DT3.

Monday, the 4th, 1:00-2:00AM WNET-13.

by Anonymousreply 1711/01/2013

OMG the aliens are invading again !!!1!

by Anonymousreply 1811/01/2013

Brilliant perception, OP. I am sure you are right.

by Anonymousreply 1911/01/2013

ABC made a TV movie about this in 1975. It's called "The Night That Panicked America" See Url for full movie via YouTube. (Those were the days when there were weekly TV movies!)

by Anonymousreply 2011/01/2013

Radio stations in 1934

by Anonymousreply 2111/01/2013

Radio stations in 1942

by Anonymousreply 2211/01/2013

I thought the doc worked overtime explaining the various reasons people could reasonably think it was real.

by Anonymousreply 2311/01/2013

Didn't Fox News put someone on the air explaining the various reasons people could reasonably think Romney was winning in Ohio?

Did they also do that in 2008 regarding McCain?

Of course, one can find someone who will make an argument the various reasons people could reasonably believe Romney was going to win in a landslide and Martians had landed in New Jersey.

by Anonymousreply 2411/01/2013

Yes R23, they did and there was a fear spread across the nation due to the beginnings of WW2. So, it was a very paranoid time in America. The explanation it was only theater came later in the broadcast and many people had flown the coop before then. I can understand the comparisons to the Fox news crowd, and I'm sure they were gullible folks but Fox news crowd lives in a bubble by preference and self imposed ignorance.

You can stream the doc from PBS online too.

by Anonymousreply 2511/01/2013

LOL, my dad who was a child in the Bronx (NYC) back then remembered neighborhood people running out of their apartments with pots on their heads.

He and his family were cracking up over never knowing what idiots lived near them, some even from his building came knocking on their door to "warn" them.

I would love to know just what protection these people thought a pot would bring them against creatures from outer space.

by Anonymousreply 2611/01/2013

R26: about as much as tinfoil does today!

by Anonymousreply 2711/01/2013

My grandmother - brilliant law student (Stanford '37) - said that she listened to it at the time and couldn't fathom that anyone could ever have believed that it was real.

by Anonymousreply 2811/01/2013

I guess most of you take this past event from over 70 years ago to mean you're vastly more intelligent than the average person from over 70 years ago.

by Anonymousreply 2911/01/2013

What's yer damage, R13?

by Anonymousreply 3011/01/2013

No, r29, you are completely missing the point. Most of the people from over 70 years ago did NOT think there was a real Martian invasion going on. The posters on this thread are identifying with (not feeling superior to) those people.

At the same time, those few people who did believe we were being invaded by Martians are being compared to people who hear Fox News or read Free Republic and believe what they hear.

So if the people on this thread are feeling superior to anyone it is to that minority of idiots who believe everything they hear.

by Anonymousreply 3111/01/2013

The media exaggerated the panic thing. Very few people thought it was real.

by Anonymousreply 3211/01/2013

"Very few people had internet back in 1938."

I did. But the chatrooms were ghost towns.

by Anonymousreply 3311/01/2013

Just watched it today on and I agree with OP's sentiment. Only idiots really thought we were under attack. Good for Orson Welles. To bad he's not around today to broadcast a play about Obama coming to kill grandma, it would surely be the undoing of the Fox News crowd.

by Anonymousreply 3411/01/2013

My parents mentioned this many times over the years. They listened to the broadcast, and since they lived in Trenton, New Jersey, and had listened to the broadcast from the very beginning, they were amused by the whole thing. They tittered over the fact that Trenton figured prominently in the ruse. Mom just kept on knitting, and Dad continued solving his crossword puzzle. They were shocked to later find out how many people took it seriously.

by Anonymousreply 3511/01/2013

[all posts by tedious, racist idiot removed.]

by Anonymousreply 3611/01/2013

What I don't understand is did they not at that time have the equivalent of a TV guide, a schedule of what was going to be on the air that night printed in newspapers? Were there no ads or publicity ahead of its broadcast? Did people just turn on the radio and whatever was coming out was what they listened to?

by Anonymousreply 3711/01/2013

[quote]Yes. The commercial breaks and the repeated warnings they were hearing a radio play were useless because they had no way to verify that we were really not being INVADED FROM MARS.

Based on what the documentary reported, the people who were convinced it was real were likely the people who channel surfed (most likely from The Charlie McCarthy Show) and tuned into the channel while the show was already in progress.

This was the era of Hitler threatening Europe, the Lindbergh baby kidnapping and the Hindenburg crash, so listeners were a little already antsy about dramatic news breaking over the radio, particularly as it relates to Germany's military might, and this becomes more of an issue if you have listeners switching from another station and not realizing they're listening to fiction. In fact the documentary noted that some people transposed Hitler onto the show's histrionics and thought it was the Germans who were invading the east coast.

The network at one point insisted that Welles break in sooner to announce the show was a dramatic broadcast and, Welles being Welles, held off doing so until he felt it was appropriate.

by Anonymousreply 3811/01/2013

There is a big difference between fear of Germans and fear of Martians. And those latecomers who had been listening to Charlie McCarthy should have wondered for at least one second why these reports were only on CBS and not on NBC or Mutual.

by Anonymousreply 3911/02/2013

r39, speaking Mutual, is there still a Mutual Broadcasting Network today?

by Anonymousreply 4011/02/2013

I think the Mutual Broadcasting Network is now Bravo.

by Anonymousreply 4111/02/2013

R37, it was listed in the paper as an Orson Welles radio play of the Jules Verne story. As r38 mentioned, it was the people dial flipping who got confused.

by Anonymousreply 4211/02/2013

With industry consolidation, the Mutual name was retired in 1999 by Westwood One.

by Anonymousreply 4311/02/2013

This was a great documentary - I watched it twice. I thought the actors in the reenactment segments were really good and very believable as citizens of the 30's. Welles was quite a remarkable 23 year old. Even then there were people mocking the folks who believed the incident was real.

by Anonymousreply 4411/02/2013

[all posts by tedious, racist idiot removed.]

by Anonymousreply 4511/02/2013

Southern California Public Radio (KPCC) also did a documentary called "War of the Welles" and played it in conjunction with the actual "War of the Worlds" broadcast ... with narration by DL fave George Takei! Takei made an interesting point about panic and drawing a parallel with his experience being interned with his family during World War II.

by Anonymousreply 4611/02/2013

I haven't watched the documentary yet but I've been following the thread and thought that the posters defending the believers had some valid arguments about limited resources, etc. But then I remembered that the story had been published 30 or so years prior to the broadcast so the people who were convinced were also probably not very well read, much like the Fox news audience of today.

by Anonymousreply 4711/04/2013

People in Jersey are so much smarter now.

by Anonymousreply 4811/04/2013

[all posts by tedious, racist idiot removed.]

by Anonymousreply 4911/04/2013
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