Today in History: Orson Wells broadcasts “Fake News” Martian Invasion

Orson Welles tells reporters that no one connected with the broadcast had any idea that it would cause panic (October 31, 1938). - Source: Wikipedia

Happy Halloween from all of us a!

As we near the end of this year’s “Spoopy Season,” I’d like to share with you the curious tale of how Orson Wells and a radio group with a large imagination, some sound effects and rather convincing storytelling caused a panic nearly worldwide.

Orson Wells had been working with a group called the Mercury Theatre On Air, which was a low budget radio program that had specialized in doing adaptions of well known stories.

With Halloween coming up, the team hatched a plan to broadcast the “War of the Worlds” story as a real life breaking news segment that covered a Martian Invasion in New Jersey.

“I had conceived the idea of doing a radio broadcast in such a manner that a crisis would actually seem to be happening,” [Wells] said, “and would be broadcast in such a dramatized form as to appear to be a real event taking place at that time, rather than a mere radio play.”

To hear the broadcast in its entirety as well as read more about it, check out the write up of this famous broadcast