War of the Worlds: The Original Broadcast, Aftermath, And Myths

 No one thought a reality-style radio drama would work

As legend has it, Orson Welles' infamous radio adaptation of The War of the Worlds by H.G. Wells was such a polarizing piece of fiction that it sent listeners through the streets screaming with terror. It is believed that people were so scared of the Mars invasion playing on their radios that the country went into a panic, but in reality it did not happen. In reality, the excitement was created by the newspaper industry as a way of attacking the increasingly new media format of radio, and Wells, who had always been a master of the edge, used the media's claim to his advantage. The story of The War of the Worlds radio play, which aired on this day in 1938, is steeped in myth.

During pre-production for The War of the Worlds, Wells and his crew attempted to make the show as realistic as possible. The cast carefully researched their roles, and the sound effects team attempted to create the actual sounds that a Martian spacecraft would create. Despite his hard work, no one in the crew thought that anyone would be hearing that the play was an actual report, although Wells later claimed that he deliberately leaned into the realism of the piece.

I envisioned doing a radio broadcast in such a way that a crisis was actually happening, and broadcast in such a dramatic way that instead of being a real event at the time, it appeared to be a real event rather than a mere radio drama.

Everyone who worked on the radio drama thought it was silly

Apart from Wells, who believed that his foreign radio drama bled authenticity, none of the writing staff or the cast believed that the show would scare anyone. It is clear from the handwritten notes on the margins of the initial draft of the script that the cast of Mercury Theater found the story a bit silly and fantastic. He reworked the dialogue to make it sound real, in contrast to the stilted prose that served Wells in later works such as Citizen Kane and The Stranger.

Even with all the work done by the cast on the show, they believed that they were trying to spit garbage cans. Radio critic Ben Gross wrote in his autobiography that when he spoke to an actor about the upcoming broadcast, he told him "Just between us, it's lousy" and that it "will probably put you to death."

  Wales made several last minute changes to the broadcast

The script continued to change in the final moments before airing on 30 October 1938, and one of the producers believed that one of the most significant changes came from Welles' idea to slow down the pace of the first act of the show. . If you haven't heard the original program, it starts normally enough with a weather broadcast and some "live" orchestral music. Wells wanted to take these moments out in order to make the show feel like a real radio broadcast and enhance the effect of "Invasion".

Wells also added a speech that was cut from an earlier draft of the script at the behest of CBS lawyers. In the speech, voice actor Kenneth Delmar used a pitch-perfect FDR impression as the Secretary of the Interior, a character who describes how the government is coping with the invasion of Mars. Wells was firing on all cylinders in the hours before the broadcast, and these razor-edge decisions made the show even better.

The Show Was Good, But The Audience Didn't Think Earth Was Invaded

The myth of The War of the Worlds states that the audience was in a state of panic upon hearing an eyewitness account of what happened at Willamette Farm in Grover Mill, New Jersey. Sensational reporting around the incident is just that, though: sensational reporting.

By the late 1930s, radio had cut advertisers out of print media, causing damage to the newspaper industry. The outspoken claims about the response to The War of the Worlds were an attempt by the newspapers to show advertisers and the FCC that the new medium of radio was irresponsible, and even worse, that it allowed people to harm themselves and others. can inspire. In an editorial titled "Terror by the Radio", The New York Times stated:

No comments:

Powered by Blogger.