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'War of the Worlds' broadcast turns 75


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#1    UM-Bot

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Posted 31 October 2013 - 01:34 PM

It has been three quarters of a century since Orson Welles' infamous broadcast about an alien invasion.

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For the radio adaptation of H. G Wells' classic 1898 novel "The War of the Worlds", Howard Koch produced a modernized version in the form of a faux news broadcast complete with special bulletins and an announcer giving live updates as though it were a real event.

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#2    Hazzard

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Posted 31 October 2013 - 02:47 PM

I wonder how the folks back then would have reacted if they saw Cloverfield?

I still await the compelling Exhibit A.

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#3    Sweetpumper

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Posted 31 October 2013 - 02:48 PM

I thought no one knew about aliens until Roswell in '47. Or was it when the book came out in the '80's?

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#4    scowl

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Posted 31 October 2013 - 04:10 PM

View PostHazzard, on 31 October 2013 - 02:47 PM, said:

I wonder how the folks back then would have reacted if they saw Cloverfield?

I wonder how the folks back then would have reacted if they had seen the Alien Autopsy hoax. My guess: more skeptical than people did in the 1990's.


#5    scowl

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Posted 31 October 2013 - 04:57 PM

View PostSweetpumper, on 31 October 2013 - 02:48 PM, said:

I thought no one knew about aliens until Roswell in '47. Or was it when the book came out in the '80's?

Hardly anyone knew about Roswell until "The Roswell Incident" was published on it in 1980. New UFOologists often think that it's been in the public consciousness since the first newspaper articles but they're completely misinformed. You won't find a UFO book published before "The Roswell Incident" that even mentions it. The moderate success of that book produced other "witnesses" and a second book "UFO Crash at Roswell" published in 1990 started the Roswell craze as we know it today.

You would think that a classic UFO book like "The Flying Saucers are Real" by Dennis Keyhole published just three years after Roswell was in the newspapers would at least mention it. Nope.

What about J. Allen Hynek's classic book "The Hynek UFO Report" published in 1977? The huge book states that aliens exist among us and describes many government cover-ups and conspiracies. It even mentions the fictional movie "Close Encounters of the Third Kind". However there is not one single mention of Roswell, the greatest UFO cover-up of all time.

Hardly anyone knew of Roswell before 1980. Those who did were not interested in investigating it since they were plenty of recent UFO cases to investigate. Unfortunately these investigations were always inconclusive, they did not produce anything exciting and the UFO industry was in a recession. Digging up old Roswell completely revived it. UFO investigators that were near-celebrities in the 1970's like Jacques Vallee have now been shunned because they have refused to get on the Roswell gravy train.

Most people learned about aliens when War of the Worlds was published in 1898. Naturally that's when mysterious airships began to be reported.

Edited by scowl, 31 October 2013 - 05:04 PM.


#6    scowl

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Posted 31 October 2013 - 06:05 PM

To be fair, there is something of a vague Roswell reference in "The Flying Saucers are Real" and I'm including this because it coincidentally refers to the topic!

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The story of the "little men from Venus" had been circulating for some time. In the usual version, two flying saucers had come down near our southwest border. In the space craft were several oddly dressed men, three feet high. All of them were dead; the cause was usually given as inability to stand our atmosphere. The Air Force was said to have hushed up the story, so that the public could be educated gradually to the truth. Though it had all the earmarks of a well-thought-out hoax, many newspapers had repeated the story. It had even been broadcast as fact on several radio newscasts. But there had been no signs of public alarm.

"It looks as if people have come a long way since that Orson Welles scare," I said to Purdy.

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#7    Purplos

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Posted 31 October 2013 - 06:33 PM

Ii grew up about 5 miles from Grover's Mill where this all went down. The park there has a big plaque with a UFO on it and information about the Wells story. Unfortunately, the craft in the story is cigar-shaped, and they put a classic saucer with dome on the plaque.

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#8    scowl

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Posted 31 October 2013 - 07:30 PM

The spacecraft in the original story are nothing more than boring old rockets launched from Mars which crashed into Earth at extreme speeds. No explanation as to how the scary aliens could have possibly survived landings like that or how they got to Earth so quickly!


#9    The Black Ghost

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Posted 31 October 2013 - 11:59 PM

The truth is that the panic was exaggerated. The majority of listeners did not think it was real.


#10    drewiduk

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Posted 01 November 2013 - 01:11 AM

Another example of yanks raping classic English literature.


#11    seaturtlehorsesnake

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Posted 01 November 2013 - 02:15 AM

View Postdrewiduk, on 01 November 2013 - 01:11 AM, said:

Another example of yanks raping classic English literature.

oh, it's true. we americans are always ruining english classics with 75 year old radio broadcasts. can't hardly stop us. in fact, i'm gonna go and ruin northanger abbey with a 75 year old radio broadcast right now!

where did i put my time machine?


#12    psyche101

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Posted 01 November 2013 - 02:15 AM

View PostSweetpumper, on 31 October 2013 - 02:48 PM, said:

I thought no one knew about aliens until Roswell in '47. Or was it when the book came out in the '80's?

I do not think people every though that, LOL, Roswell is not the only place in the world with aliens. but Scowl has covered that, Martians were very much considered quite real, as were Venusians. If you look around hard enough, some old clips exist of people on TV channelling to have conversations with them. Funny stuff.

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#13    psyche101

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Posted 01 November 2013 - 02:18 AM

View Postpatagonianhorsesnake, on 01 November 2013 - 02:15 AM, said:

oh, it's true. we americans are always ruining english classics with 75 year old radio broadcasts. can't hardly stop us. in fact, i'm gonna go and ruin northanger abbey with a 75 year old radio broadcast right now!

where did i put my time machine?

I do not mind soo much, but could you leave Tom Cruise out this time?

Pretty please?

Things are what they are. - Me Reality can't be debunked. That's the beauty of it. - Capeo If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of giants. - Sir Isaac Newton Let me repeat the lesson learned from the Sturrock scientific review panel: Pack up your old data and forget it. Ufology needs new data, new cases, new rigorous and scientific methodologies if it hopes ever to get out of its pit. - Ed Stewart Youtube is the last refuge of the ignorant and is more often used for disinformation than genuine research.  There is a REASON for PEER REVIEW... - Chrlzs Nothing is inexplicable, just unexplained. - Dr Who

#14    Sundew

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Posted 01 November 2013 - 02:21 AM

View PostHazzard, on 31 October 2013 - 02:47 PM, said:

I wonder how the folks back then would have reacted if they saw Cloverfield?

One of the first motion pictures was a simple scene of a train racing down the tracks toward the camera, when people say it they jumped out of the way, fearing they would actually be run down by the locomotive. I have heard it said (although it may be apocryphal) that when King Kong first aired some people ran screaming from the theater. Apparently there was a scene where the sailors where thrown off the log to waiting monsters below, the original footage of this scene was lost if I remember correctly, but the latest remake recreated it. Back then when film (and stop motion animation) was new, movies like King Kong would have been so unusual that could have easily terrified the unwary. We are so jaded now with CGI that King Kong looks primitive by today's standards.

But movies as frightening as they were and are did not have the same effect of radio. A movie goer might be scared but also realize it's just images on a screen. If the listeners missed the opening of the War of the Worlds where it was announced that it was a dramatization, many might assume that it was an actual news broadcast, as many did. And radio, like books, relies on the imagination to fill in the blanks.


#15    Sundew

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Posted 01 November 2013 - 02:28 AM

The opening from the musical version of the War of the Worlds (narration by Richard Burton and music by Justin Hayward of the Moody Blues):







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