Oct. 30 marks the 80th anniversary of “The War of the Worlds” broadcast, the most famous, or infamous, program in radio history. Listeners who tuned in to the program late and did not hear the disclaimer that it was a radio play panicked thinking Martians had landed on Earth.
The ensuing furor made a celebrity of 23-year-old Orson Welles, who helmed the Mercury Theatre on the Air’s radio adaptation of the celebrated science fiction novel written by H.G. Wells. But the broadcast also raised concerns about Americans’ susceptibility to believe what has become known as “fake news” as well as issues about the responsibility of the media.
To mark the anniversary of the broadcast, 24/7 Wall St. has compiled a list of the 25 facts you need to know about “The War of the Worlds” broadcast. We created our list based on resource materials, audio clips from the broadcast as well as from other radio programs, podcasts, newspaper accounts of the program, and books on the subject.