The Mercury Theatre on the Air.
On 30 October 1938, a Sunday evening, the United States was invaded by Martian hordes—or so hundreds of thousands of people believed. Howard Koch's radio adaptation of H. G. Wells's 1898 novel The War of the Worlds was performed on CBS radio by the Mercury Theatre on the Air, directed by twenty-four-year-old Orson Welles. CBS took great pains to ensure that the broadcast seem fictional, including changing real names of institutions to made-up names in the script and announcing at the beginning that the program was an adaptation of The War of the Worlds. Nonetheless, the clever narrative strategy of Koch and Welles and the verisimilitude of the production caused listeners who did not hear the opening of the show to panic when they heard that Martians had landed in New Jersey and were spreading across the country.
The Dangers of Verisimilitude.
Welles and Koch so...
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