Ball St. recreating 'War of the Worlds' broadcast
The Hyped Panic Over 'War of the Worlds'
Orson Welles' complicated feelings for Kenosha
A history of Grover's Mill
The Mercury Theatre on the Air [Real Player]
Born in Kenosha, Wisconsin, Orson Welles was quite the wunderkind by October 30th, 1938 when his broadcast of "The War of the Worlds" was heard by millions across the United States on the radio. He had spent the previous two years working on a number of radio and theatrical productions, including the labor-themed opera "The Cradle Will Rock" and an all African-American production of "Macbeth" which was very well received. A number of theatrical groups around the country are remembering the famous "War of the Worlds" broadcast this week by staging their own recreations of that fateful and stirring performance. Seventy years ago, phone lines were ringing as a number of terrified listeners called into their local police department to report the news of an alien invasion. The aliens had apparently touched down first in tiny Grover's Mill, New Jersey, and even though the beginning of the program had featured a bit of a disclaimer, some were convinced that the end was near. Of course, some were not convinced in the least, including Henry Brylawski, 95, who stated emphatically, "It didn't make an impression on me at all." Professor Scott O'Callaghan recently commented that the program "unleashed a wave of panic, but also seemed to crystallize the fears of the era, coming as it did with the United States poised to take up arms in World War II." Seven decades on, it remains an electrifying performance and you may wish to seek out a recreation near you this week, if you have the chance.
The first link leads to a recent Seattle Times article which talks about the effect of the "War of the Worlds" broadcast on Welles' career. The second link leads to a piece from the Chicago Tribune which talks about one of the upcoming recreations of this famous broadcast at Ball State University. The third link will whisk users away to a thoughtful piece from the Chronicle of Higher Education by Professor Michael J. Socolow. In the article, Socolow talks about the initial panic the broadcast caused and he goes on to talk about the follow-up study that looked into the public response and reaction to the program. Moving on, the fourth link will lead visitors to a news article from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, which talks about Welles' feelings about his hometown of Kenosha. Suffice it to say, Welles was not terribly enamored of the city, but he did note that he was a "confirmed badger". The fifth link leads to a site that provides a bit of a background on the town of Grover's Mill, New Jersey. The last link will lead visitors to an online archive of fine Mercury Theatre productions, including (of course) the complete "War of the Worlds" broadcast.