Film & Water Halloween Special – The War of the Worlds


Halloween Special - THE WAR OF THE WORLDS

In this special Halloween episode of THE FILM AND WATER PODCAST, Rob and fellow Network All-Star Max Romero present Orson Welles' classic "War of the Worlds" radio broadcast on the occasion of its 80th anniversary!

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10 responses to “Film & Water Halloween Special – The War of the Worlds

  1. in the you can’t trust anyone dept:
    i have heard my whole life that people tuned in late and thought it was a real invasion, and people killed themselves.
    never happened!!!!
    total lie!!!!

    i have no idea whats real anymore…..

  2. I often heard there was no station break after the initial Mercury Theater Announcement, but clearly there was. Anyone who believed the news broadcasts segments should have figured it out once time started jumping around, but hey, radio was their only connection to “instant news”. So we’ll forgive them.

    I’m not sure where I first heard this, but I appreciate you guys sharing it again. The George Pal War of the Worlds film was a perennial event in our area, and my family watched it every year it seemed. That one scene where the Martian’s hand reaches into the house, well, that scared me so bad I took one look at the E.T. poster and said “NO WAY!!!”. But my Mom eventually convinced me, so I didn’t miss out on a cultural touchstone of the 80s.

    Happy Halloween!


  3. I always discuss War of the Worlds during my Media & Culture classes. There is a great documentary called “The Battle Over Citizen Kane” & a portion is devoted to the 1938 broadcast. You can find the whole thing on the deluxe Citizen Kane DVD:

  4. I really enjoyed this podcast. After listening to your show, I looked up other productions about the broadcast. I keep thinking that now would be a good time for someone to make a movie about that night and the aftermath.
    I did find a TV movie from 1975 that was co-written by Nicolas Meyer and starred Vic Morrow, Tom Bosley, Casey Kasem and a young John Ritter. It is called “The Night that Panicked America” and is on YouTube. Here is a link:
    Thanks for reinvigorating my interest in this subject.
    Brian Hughes
    3rd Degree Byrne

  5. HG Wells was my favorite author as a kid. It might have been because his books are relatively short and so consumable even as a young reader. I loved Invisible Man more than War of the Worlds. But love them, Time Machine, etc.

    Can I add that this Orson Welles production is a key plot point in the Crimson Avengers Secret Origin story (covered by Ryan way back in the day)!

    And I like the 50s movie. Even as a kid, loved those space ships and the bizarre aliens.

    Thanks for sharing the Welles’ show in its entirety. Loved listening to it again!

  6. I’m just here to add to Anj’s comment, and to add a point about the impact about the initial broadcast. In the Crimson Avenger story, author Roy Thomas, through Lee Travis, points out that it can’t be real as other programs are still on the air, and switches to the Edgar Bergern/Charlie McCarthy show. As I understand it, this show was more popular than The Mercury Theatre, and more people would have tuned in for it at the top of the hour. After some funny bits with Bergen and McCarthy, there was a singer. At this point many listeners started scanning the dial to see what else might be on, and happened to hear Carl Phillips describing a military action on New Jersey. Most listeners then would probably have remembered hearing the horrific live reporting of the Hindenberg disaster, not two years distant. The immediacy of hearing the dramatization of War of the Worlds, without hearing the introduction, would have been terrifying. I found it frightening on my first listen (c.late 70s, my early teens), and I still get creeped when Carl Phillips’ mic goes dead!
    Rob, have you heard Orson Welles as a guest on other radio programs? He was such a great sport, and was eager to make fun of his reputation and image, especially on the Jack Benny show. (his entrance is preceded by his team of assistants checking the room acoustics, and spraying the microphones) He also did a great turn on Fred Allen’s show, and of course had two series of his own, including one as Harry Lime.
    For my money, his cameo in The Muppet Movie is one of the finest pieces of acting on the screen!

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