The War of the Worlds (Dramatized)

  • by Mercury Theatre on the Air
  • Narrated by Orson Welles
  • 0 hrs and 59 mins
  • Radio/TV Program

Publisher's Summary

One of the most memorable programs in broadcast history, the Halloween Eve 1938 broadcast of The War of the Worlds set off a nationwide panic that's almost unimaginable today. Presented by the Mercury Theatre on the Air and its creative genius, Orson Welles, the drama based on H.G. Wells' classic novel tells the story of a Martian invasion of Earth. As written by Howard Koch, the play unfolds in a realistic documentary style, complete with simulated news broadcasts of aliens landing in Grover's Mill, New Jersey. Whether they weren't quite paying attention, tuned in late, or simply misunderstood what they heard, legions of listeners thought an actual invasion was underway. The front-page headline in the October 31, 1938, New York Times told the whole story: "Radio Listeners in Panic, Taking War Drama as Fact/Many Flee Homes to Escape 'Gas Raid From Mars'/Phone Calls Swamp Police at Broadcast of Wells Fantasy".


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful


If you are old enough to remember the radio serials, and the shorts at the Saturday Afternoon pictures, and you like classic SciFi, you could enjoy this. Orson Wells no less. Having seen both movies over the years, based on this story, it was good to hear the original radio play that had listeners thinking the Martians had indeed landed (or so the other story goes). Classic or otherwise I suggest spending the few dollars asked rather than use your credit here.It is a good listen for the hour and certainly worth $5.00.
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- Sandy "Love having someone read me a story. Fires in the hearth, rain on the roof, sunny days and surf. Good friends, good food and J S Bach."

"That was no Martian, it's Halloween"

It's a masterful radio dramatization dating back to 1938. The radio play allegedly "stirred terror through the U.S." and "terrified the nation". The broadcast started with the introduction by Orson Welles: "We know now that in the early years of the twentieth century this world was being watched closely by intelligences greater than man's and yet as mortal as his own." The broadcast went on followed by a weather report and interviews that were meant to make the dramatization sound realistic. Then there was a special news bulletin announcing that an object about 30 yards wide had fallen on a farm at Grovers Mill.
What the news reporter saw next he described as "the most terrifying thing" he had ever witnessed...
I was hooked by this true-to-life radio adaptation. The way the Martian invasion and its aftermath were reported, and the enactment of one of the few survivors were brilliant.
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- ESK "There are books of the same chemical composition as dynamite. The only difference is that a piece of dynamite explodes once, whereas a book explodes a thousand times. ― Yevgeny Zamyatin"

Book Details

  • Release Date: 12-12-2006
  • Publisher: Radio Spirits, Inc.