~ Arts and Culture / ~ In the Old Days

★ Press Talk to Orson Welles About ‘The War of the Worlds’ (1938)

★ American actor, director, writer and producer, Orson Welles, was born on this day in 1915. Remembered for his highly innovative work in theatre, radio and film, one of his most notable productions was the legendary Mercury Theatre radio broadcast of The War of the Worlds on 30th October 1938. Presented as a series of news flashes interrupting a dance band concert, the show became famous for allegedly sparking mass panic as listeners believed a real alien invasion by Martians was underway. The incident provoked a wave of outrage from the media, and as this photo shows, it led to Welles meeting with reporters the following day in order to explain that no one connected with the broadcast had any idea the show would cause such panic. Despite the controversy (or perhaps because of it), the production firmly cemented Welles’ reputation as a dramatist and formed part of his ‘personal myth’ for many years to come.

Much love,

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