War of the Worlds

Oct. 30, 1938. If you’re into radio history, that date will ring a bell. That night, Orson Welles’ now infamous radio drama “The War of the Worlds” scared American listeners to death. Or did it?


Welles and fellow actors and actresses from the Mercury Theater took to the airwaves to bring a dramatized version of H.G. Wells’ invasion story. Using a fake news format, Welles and his conspirators convinced listeners that Martians were invading New Jersey, causing a panic. Or so the story goes. Welles’ prank has been repeated several times since, in places as diverse as Santiago, Chile and Buffalo, New York.