‘War of the Worlds’ radio broadcast marks 85th anniversary
The Orson Welles radio broadcast “The War of the Worlds” marked its 85th anniversary on Monday.
On Oct. 30, 1938, the Mercury Theater broadcasted the radio show about Martians landing in Grovers Mill, New Jersey.
The broadcast sparked controversy because it was presented as a real event, with live music being interrupted by news flashes describing the event. The station did maintain that listeners were reminded throughout the broadcast that it was only a performance.
“Ladies and gentlemen, it is indescribable,” the announcer stated. “I can hardly force myself to keep looking at it. The eyes are black and gleam like a serpent.”
About six million people are believed to have heard the broadcast. It was not clear how many people actually believed it to be real.
A monument now stands in Van Nest Park in Grovers Mill to commemorate the event.
The “War of the Worlds” broadcast was made a part of the National Recording Registry of the Library of Congress in 2003.