September 2, 2022
Unfortunately, for a variety of reasons, thousands of people took the invasion as real! The next day Welles’ face was emblazoned over the front pages across the country, asking a similar question: did he purposely create a national panic? Here’s the crazy story of the Orson Welles broadcast that rocked America.
In ‘38 Welles was just 23 but already a known radio personality, the most popular entertainment medium of the day. While working for CBS, he gained a cult following with his “Mercury Theatre on the Air” which performed adaptations of literary classics. On the eve of Halloween, Welles decided to mix it up by converting “War of the Worlds” into a fake bulletin of aliens invading New Jersey. As he told friends shortly after, “If I’d planned to wreck my career, I couldn’t have gone about it better.”