On October 30, 1938 the police and radio stations flooded with calls, while the interstates backed up in massive traffic jams, packed with panicked citizens responding to an alarm that turned out to be false. Orson Welles' radio play, a dramatization of H.G. Wells' novel positing an alien invasion, played so successfully upon widespread cold war anxieties that audiences believed the world was under attack by Martians. This documentary explores the many ways that this episode in American history changed the media and political landscape forever. Examining the context in which such a mass alarm could occur, this program sheds light on the very real horrors of the world in 1938, which were only heightened by Welles' broadcast. The irreparable damage done to Orson Welles' career is also touched upon, drawing another important conclusion about art and its consequences. Truly fascinating in its implications, this famous hoax reveals many prescient aspects of our culture that remain relevant today.
American History |
Fantasy Worlds |