Homework Help

Compare and Contrast the War of the Worlds broadcast of '38 and Welles's other Mercury...

user profile pic

theleachmans | Student, Undergraduate | (Level 1) Honors

Posted September 14, 2011 at 12:47 PM via web

dislike 1 like

Compare and Contrast the War of the Worlds broadcast of '38 and Welles's other Mercury Theatre on the Air broadcasts.

in addition, how these differences (or similarties) relate to the cultural and social issues happening in the 30's.

1 Answer | Add Yours

user profile pic

dbello | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator

Posted September 20, 2011 at 11:29 AM (Answer #1)

dislike 1 like

The Mercury Theatre aired several broadcasts without any sponsors, and without sponsors the theatre group was doomed. Fortunately, I think it was sometime in late spring or early summer 1938 that the Campbell Soup Company picked them up and they were able to continue performing.  The similarties between the Mercury Theatre performances were that they were live shows on the radio.  In addition, the performances were mainly drawn from classic literature. What made the 1938 Halloween performance different from their other shows was how Orson Welles framed the performance. The War of the Worlds began with a musical tune, anyone listening or just tuning in would think music. About 15 seconds into the music a news announcer broke in with a special report.  It sounded like a news report very similar in delievery and tone to the news reports Americans had become accustomed to with regard to the rise of Nazi Germany. People took the performance to be an account of an actual event. Since the theatre group was not introduced in the beginning of the segement  (which was done deliberately under Welles' direction) it caused a fair amount of anxiety and fear among those who were listening. There were even authentic reports that stated people were actually running through the streets attempting to escape the martian invasion.

Join to answer this question

Join a community of thousands of dedicated teachers and students.

Join eNotes