Skip to main content

On October 30th, 1938, the Wells Brother (Orson and H.G. of no actual relation to each other) terrified America with their broadcast of an alien invasion as a news event on Mercury Theatre on the Air. Many people ignored the beginning of the program where they were told it was a fictional tale written by H. G. Wells, and only started paying attention when told of the giant war machines ambling across the countryside. Part of the problem was that Orson Wells had a truly magnificent announcers voice, so it was easy for everyone to believe they were really listening to the news. You can’t blame peoples reactions on the fact that the opening moves of WWII were going on; those smart enough to see the signs of the gathering storm were the kind of people who paid attention to disclaimers and didn’t get fooled by the program. At this point the Wells broadcast has been mentioned in as many movies and TV shows as the original Wells book, I think, with Buckaroo Banzi as one of my favorites. Listen to the original broadcast now: