CKWW to Air 'War of the Worlds' tonight
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Thread: CKWW to Air 'War of the Worlds' tonight

  1. #1

    CKWW to Air 'War of the Worlds' tonight

    580 AM to air ‘The War of the Worlds’
    If you tune into 580 AM on Halloween night, do not panic. Aliens are not actually invading the United States. Continuing its annual tradition, the radio station will broadcast “The War of the Worlds” — the famous radio play narrated by Orson Welles, based on H.G. Wells’ science fiction novel about an alien invasion. When the program first aired in 1938, the fictional newscasts were so believable that Americans across the country feared martians had landed in New Jersey. Tune in to hear the drama at 8 p.m. Monday.

    http://www.detroitnews.com/story/ent...cker/92901188/

    Continues a great annual tradition!

  2. #2
    Quote Originally Posted by umfan View Post
    When the program first aired in 1938, the fictional newscasts were so believable that Americans across the country feared martians had landed in New Jersey.
    Oh, no! Is that myth still alive? Radio people love it and are addicted to repeating this patently false story. I guess it makes radio types feel important, powerful and influential and reinforces their view that the audience is gullible and easily (mis)led. Orson Welles built his career on this fable, so it's not surprising that he liked it.

  3. #3
    One of the things that was so sad about this program was that announcements were made prior to airing and during breaks that it was a radio play and not an actual event. The upcoming election makes me think we have not progressed much from a nation of 1938 idiots.
    Illegitimi non carborundum

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by landtuna View Post
    One of the things that was so sad about this program was that announcements were made prior to airing and during breaks that it was a radio play and not an actual event. The upcoming election makes me think we have not progressed much from a nation of 1938 idiots.
    You assume people listened to the whole program. The show was sustaining and had a small audience, up against the most popular show in radio at the time. You also assume that CBS was a "major network" at the time. In audience and revenue it trailed both NBC networks and Mutual. If a show on CBS got some buzz, the sponsor moved it to NBC.

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by landtuna View Post
    One of the things that was so sad about this program was that announcements were made prior to airing and during breaks that it was a radio play and not an actual event. The upcoming election makes me think we have not progressed much from a nation of 1938 idiots.
    Hey! That's the Greatest Generation you're calling idiots there!

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by Oscar Madison View Post
    You assume people listened to the whole program. The show was sustaining and had a small audience, up against the most popular show in radio at the time. You also assume that CBS was a "major network" at the time. In audience and revenue it trailed both NBC networks and Mutual. If a show on CBS got some buzz, the sponsor moved it to NBC.
    I am assuming most Americans have a modicum of common sense. It was evidently an erroneous assumption.
    Illegitimi non carborundum

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by CTListener View Post
    Hey! That's the Greatest Generation you're calling idiots there!
    My parents are included in the Greatest Generation and my father sustained a life-threatening wound in the Battle of Leyte. He was out working to support his family as a young lad of 21 in 1938 so I doubt he had time for radio shows. My mother had just watched her father die of a heart attack (he was a doctor but apparently tended to overwork himself) so I doubt she was listening to the Welles drama either. There were obviously many other Americans who either didn't buy radio shows or this one in particular but the sad part is so many did.

    I expect the same reaction would occur today. Some might even react to "The Flying Saucer" - a comedy record by Buchanan & Goodman in 1956. Some things never change.
    Illegitimi non carborundum

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by landtuna View Post
    My parents are included in the Greatest Generation.
    As are mine, although my father was fortunate to have spent the war at Fort McClellan in Alabama, lettering signs and illustrating training manuals, his unit never getting the call to battle. But there was no war on in 1938 and I'm sure some people who would later fight for their country fell for the Welles tale that October night. That didn't make them idiots.

  9. #9
    Before you pass judgment on the intelligence of people in the 30s, you should look at your own. And do some homework.

    1. People who "panicked" - and there weren't that many - had not been listening to show.
    2. The panic was limited to densely populated urban neighborhoods in the Northeast.
    3. Some people listening to the popular "Chase and Sanborn Hour" with Edgar Bergen and Charlie MacCarthy on NBC (Red) tuned out when they brought a guest opera singer on and started dial "surfing."
    4. Those people hit the Mercury Theater just about the time the aliens were coming out of their ships and couldn't understand what the BLEEP was going on. They did not wait around for an announcement at the station break.
    5. Those people went outside and started asking neighbors what was up. As demonstrated in "the telephone game" stories people repeated got wilder with each repetition.
    6. Those people who heard rumors freaked.
    7. This was a time of great tension. People had been through nine years of depression and a second world war was heating up in Europe with Germany invading it neighbors. It was not unreasonable to hear something out of context and think something terrible was happening.

    Other factors. Not only did the show have a small audience, many affiliates did not take it. Many cities did not hear the show. Under network option time rules, affiliates could put a sponsored local show on instead. And panic only occurred in urban enclaves where people could and did talk to their neighbors. Orson Welles' voice was very well known. He was a regular and frequent radio actor, including starring as "The Shadow."

    People who actually listened to the show knew what they were hearing.

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by Oscar Madison View Post
    3. Some people listening to the popular "Chase and Sanborn Hour" with Edgar Bergen and Charlie MacCarthy
    Now THERE were the idiots! Listening to a ventriloquist act on radio!

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