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NorthernDevo
2013-Oct-31, 07:56 PM
Hello, my friends. Two nights ago; the CBC (Canadian Bradcasting Corporation) aired on their seminal radio show Ideas the iconic Orson Welles broadcast of The War Of The Worlds - that night; the 30th. of October, was the seventy-fifth anniversary of that spectacular broadcast - easily one of the greatest radio programmes ever made.

History records the result; an entire country thrown into terror and uncertainty; wondering if they were really being invaded by Martians. It's probably the greatest Hallowe'en prank ever constructed.

I've heard the complete broadcast a few times; Hallowe'en is a special time for me - it is my birthday, after all - though until I heard the Ideas broadcast Monday night I hadn't realized I hadn't heard the entire broadcast.

The entire broadcast includes a few lines when Orson Welles steps out of character and announces it was all a Hallowe'en prank.

I must say that disappointed me a bit; far better to leave the majestic joke unexplained, in my opinion. But my opinion is 75 years out of date; I can imagine what radio listeners experienced in those days: the world was uncertain; war was brewing; the populace of the United States were being encouraged - through pulps and radio shows and cheap novels - to think of the potential threat of a Martian enemy.
Mr. Welles' performance was astounding. It hit Americans right in their basest fears. Thus the October 30th, 1938 radio classic War Of The Worlds (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xs0K4ApWl4g) must go down as the greatest Hallowe'en prank of all time - and by a wide margin, one of the very greatest radio plays ever presented.

Enjoy - and be thrilled. Turn down the lights and listen. Just...don't look behind you...did something move? No...I'm sure it didn't. Really.

What was that noise?

Hlafordlaes
2013-Oct-31, 08:05 PM
Happy Birthday, then! Think I'll enjoy my annual listen of the Monster Mash (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=46GXQ2fTFzo&list=PL1B3953EF782FFA9D).

NorthernDevo
2013-Oct-31, 08:11 PM
Happy Birthday, then! Think I'll enjoy my annual listen of the Monster Mash (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=46GXQ2fTFzo&list=PL1B3953EF782FFA9D).

ROFL!!!! How much do I love The Monster Mash? The perfect Hallowe'en song!

Trebuchet
2013-Oct-31, 08:48 PM
I just posted about the broadcast on a blog on another site! The writer there seemed to think the panic was an urban legend. My late mother, who heard the original broadcast in her sorority house at the University of Nebraska, would have strongly begged to differ.

SeanF
2013-Oct-31, 08:51 PM
History records the result; an entire country thrown into terror and uncertainty; wondering if they were really being invaded by Martians.
And, as is often the case, History is wrong (http://www.slate.com/articles/arts/history/2013/10/orson_welles_war_of_the_worlds_panic_myth_the_infa mous_radio_broadcast_did.single.html).

NorthernDevo
2013-Oct-31, 09:17 PM
It didn't touch off nationwide panic, Sean, but it certainly chilled radio listeners to the core. The public results of the "War Of The Worlds" broadcast might have been exaggerated, but the personal ones - the chills and frights of the average radio listener - was very real. Even now - seventy-five-years on, my heart raced and my blood went cold listening to that superb radio drama. I'm well aware the 'national hysteria' was a myth; but few who listened on that night three-quarters of a century ago were not thrilled and chilled by the broadcast. We must separate genuine terror from the wonderful cathartic fear created by a really good horror story - which Mr. Welles provided in spades. ;)
Happy Hallowe'en!

Noclevername
2013-Oct-31, 09:28 PM
Happy birthday/Halloween!

NorthernDevo
2013-Oct-31, 10:29 PM
(Chuckle) Thanks! I don't have any plans beyond the best dinner I can possibly cook (and I am a VERY good cook) for a certain wonderful blonde lady; followed by a scary movie. I have 'designs' on her, and she would not be the woman I desired if she was not fully aware of my designs. (The benefit of dating at the age of 40+. We have no illusions, and are ready to come together without illusions or excuses. The evening promises to be delightful. :)

So Happy Hallowe'en. I know the day will be fun for ME; I hope it will be great for you. :)

KaiYeves
2013-Oct-31, 10:41 PM
Happy Halloween! I'll be going to my college's UNICEF party dressed like Amelia Earhart. (I had the same costume last year, I was going to do something different this year, but my mom forgot to bring some of the things I needed up for Parents' Weekend.)

Gillianren
2013-Nov-01, 02:35 AM
18654

We ended up running an errand at the mall with a friend of mine, and he got a ton of compliments. Our mall does trick-or-treating, and while I did not feel comfortable getting much candy for a baby who doesn't even have teeth yet--it would have been so obvious that I was eating it myself--another friend does run a kiosk there, and we got candy from him. And the girls in the store near them, who were ooing and ahing over him from a distance while we'd stopped to talk.

KaiYeves
2013-Nov-01, 02:54 AM
Aww, Simon looks adorable!

Noclevername
2013-Nov-01, 04:47 AM
The Cute is strong with this one.

Trebuchet
2013-Nov-01, 04:54 AM
Cute, he is!

SeanF
2013-Nov-01, 01:42 PM
It didn't touch off nationwide panic, Sean, but it certainly chilled radio listeners to the core. The public results of the "War Of The Worlds" broadcast might have been exaggerated, but the personal ones - the chills and frights of the average radio listener - was very real. Even now - seventy-five-years on, my heart raced and my blood went cold listening to that superb radio drama. I'm well aware the 'national hysteria' was a myth; but few who listened on that night three-quarters of a century ago were not thrilled and chilled by the broadcast. We must separate genuine terror from the wonderful cathartic fear created by a really good horror story - which Mr. Welles provided in spades. ;)
Happy Hallowe'en!
Oh, yes, absolutely. I'm not discounting the idea that it was terrifying/thrilling/chilling/whatever. A well-made story will do that.

But not "uncertainty." It is manifestly untrue that any significant portion of the country feared that perhaps "they were really being invaded by Martians" (emphasis mine), and it is definitely inaccurate to attribute such a reaction to the "entire country."

NorthernDevo
2013-Nov-02, 06:06 AM
Would it be more accurate to say "People all across the country"? After all, the number of individuals that truly believe they were being invaded might have been small; but they existed right across America. (Chuckle) I just love the WoTW story - kudos to Mr. Welles; an actor I've never liked, but here, he was superb. :)

Gillianren
2013-Nov-02, 06:22 AM
What have you seen him in?

NorthernDevo
2013-Nov-02, 06:43 AM
Very little. There was just something about him that rubbed me the wrong way, Gillian. There's no logical response.

I DO remember part of Ron Pearlman's commentary during one of my favourite movies: Quest For Fire. That film (Mr. Pearlman's first film role) was narrated by Mr. Welles. I have a great liking for Ron Pearlman; I loved "Beauty And The Beast"; Mr. Pearlman is a fine actor and a very thoughtful, gentle and kind man. During the commentary, he recalled a moment which, to me, seemed to support my personal dislike of Orson Welles. He described a moment when he chanced upon Mr. Welles in a high-class New York restaurant. Ron introduced himself to Mr. Welles, stating they'd worked on the same project: Quest For Fire. Without looking at him, Orson replied: "Be careful of my dog, boy. He bites." Other than that, he refused to even acknowledge the younger actor. (Mr. Welles had a tiny Yorkshire Terrier with him.)

Just my own opinions; not based on anything other than feeling and gut emotion. But this story - if true - supports my dislike. Any time I saw Orson Welles, I got the feeling he was far more impressed by his own fame than anyone else - certainly far more than I was. I have a strong belief in humility, something I feel Mr. Welles lacked.

It's just an opinion, but I hope I've elaborated it well. :)

Thanks for the question, Gillian :)

Gillianren
2013-Nov-02, 07:51 AM
So it's a separating-art-from-artist issue? I can respect that. Though you might try The Third Man, where you're not supposed to like him.

Trebuchet
2013-Nov-02, 02:35 PM
All I can actually remember seeing Welles in is those awful wine commercials!

DonM435
2013-Nov-02, 05:06 PM
I thought it was well known that Orson appeared in many films unworthy of his talents in order to finance his personal projects. (I believe that he wore a false nose in some to let everyone in on the deal.)

I used to tune in The Tonight Show whenever he was a guest (or guest host). I wasn't crazy about his occasional magic act, but that's okay. He really was a great storyteller.

HenrikOlsen
2013-Nov-02, 05:10 PM
So it's a separating-art-from-artist issue? I can respect that. Though you might try The Third Man, where you're not supposed to like him.
Ditto for Citizen Kane.

JohnD
2013-Nov-02, 05:30 PM
The BBC did the same as Orson in 1992, on Halloween. "Ghostwatch" was a play, advertised beforehand a a horror-flick. It featured an allegedly poltergeist-haunted house and a documentary-style, 'live' investigation. What fooled so many people into beliving it was real was that many parts were played by well know TV presenters, and it culminated in what looked like the real Parkinson Show that is 'invaded' by the poltergeists (That can't be a spoiler, surely?) You can read about it on the Wiki: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ghostwatch

The BBC's phone was jammed by thousands of people ringing, thousands of children were said to have been traumatised (it was shown after 2100!) and the BBC have never, ever shown it again!

I watched it. And so did my kids, because they begged me to let them. I was glad they were there! They [u]were[u/] scared and so was I, but I had to man-up and support them - we made it through but it was scary!

JOhn

Gillianren
2013-Nov-02, 08:08 PM
Ditto for Citizen Kane.

Kane is an interesting film. Now that I'm on a new site for my reviews, I've started revisiting a few movies I did years ago, and I may revisit that one.