The War of the Worlds (radio)
The War of the Worlds was an episode of the American
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 radio drama
Radio drama
Radio drama is a dramatized, purely acoustic performance, broadcast on radio or published on audio media, such as tape or CD. With no visual component, radio drama depends on dialogue, music and sound effects to help the listener imagine the characters and story...

 anthology series Mercury Theatre on the Air
Mercury Theatre
The Mercury Theatre was a theatre company founded in New York City in 1937 by Orson Welles and John Houseman. After a string of live theatrical productions, in 1938 the Mercury Theatre progressed into their best-known period as The Mercury Theatre on the Air, a radio series that included one of the...

. It was performed as a Halloween
Hallowe'en , also known as Halloween or All Hallows' Eve, is a yearly holiday observed around the world on October 31, the night before All Saints' Day...

 episode of the series on October 30, 1938, and aired over the Columbia Broadcasting System
CBS Radio Network
The CBS Radio Network provides news, sports and other programming to more than 1,000 radio stations throughout the United States. The network is owned by CBS Corporation, and operated by CBS Radio ....

 radio network. Directed and narrated by actor and future filmmaker Orson Welles
Orson Welles
George Orson Welles , best known as Orson Welles, was an American film director, actor, theatre director, screenwriter, and producer, who worked extensively in film, theatre, television and radio...

, the episode was an adaptation of H. G. Wells
H. G. Wells
Herbert George Wells was an English author, now best known for his work in the science fiction genre. He was also a prolific writer in many other genres, including contemporary novels, history, politics and social commentary, even writing text books and rules for war games...

's novel The War of the Worlds
The War of the Worlds
The War of the Worlds is an 1898 science fiction novel written by H. G. Wells.The War of the Worlds may also refer to:- Radio broadcasts :* The War of the Worlds , the 1938 radio broadcast by Orson Welles...


The first two thirds of the 60-minute broadcast were presented as a series of simulated "news bulletin
News program
A news program, news programme, news show, or newscast is a regularly scheduled radio or television program that reports current events. News is typically reported in a series of individual stories that are presented by one or more anchors...

s", which suggested to many listeners that an actual alien invasion
Alien invasion
The alien invasion is a common theme in science fiction stories and film, in which extraterrestrial life invades Earth either to exterminate and supplant human life, enslave it under a colonial system, harvest humans for food, steal the planet's resources, or destroy the planet altogether.The...

 by Martian
Martian (War of the Worlds)
The Martians, also known as the Invaders, are the fictional race of extraterrestrials from the H.G. Wells novel The War of the Worlds. They are the antagonists of the novel, and their efforts to exterminate the populace of Earth and claim the planet for themselves drive the plot and present...

s was currently in progress. Compounding the issue was the fact that the Mercury Theatre on the Air was a "sustaining show
Sustaining program
Sustaining program is a term used in the United States broadcasting industry for a program which does not have commercial sponsorship or advertising...

" (it ran without commercial breaks), adding to the program's realism. Although there were sensationalist accounts in the press about a supposed panic in response to the broadcast, the precise extent of listener response has been debated.

In the days following the adaptation, however, there was widespread outrage and panic by certain listeners who believed the events described in the program were real. The program's news-bulletin format
False document
A false document is a literary technique employed to create verisimilitude in a work of fiction. By inventing and inserting documents that appear to be factual, an author tries to create a sense of authenticity beyond the normal and expected suspension of disbelief for a work of art...

 was decried as cruelly deceptive by some newspapers and public figures, leading to an outcry against the perpetrators of the broadcast. The episode secured Welles's fame.


H. G. Wells's original novel relates the story of an alien invasion of Earth. The radio play's story was adapted by and written primarily by Howard Koch
Howard Koch (screenwriter)
Howard E. Koch was an American playwright and screenwriter who was blacklisted by the Hollywood movie studio bosses in the 1950s.-Early Years:...

 and Anne Froelich with input from Welles and the rest of the Mercury Theatre on the Air staff. The setting was switched from 19th-century England
England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Scotland to the north and Wales to the west; the Irish Sea is to the north west, the Celtic Sea to the south west, with the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south separating it from continental...

 to contemporary Grover's Mill
Grover's Mill
Grover's Mill is an unincorporated area within West Windsor Township, New Jersey made famous in Orson Welles' 1938 radio broadcast of The War of the Worlds, where it was depicted as ground zero for a Martian invasion, on October 30th of that year....

, an unincorporated village in West Windsor Township, New Jersey
West Windsor Township, New Jersey
-Demographics:As of Census 2010, West Windsor had a population of 27,165. The median age was 39.6. The racial and ethnic composition of the population was 54.9% White, 3.7% Black or African American, 0.1% Native American, 37.7% Asian, 1.0% some other race and 2.6% reporting two or more races...

 in the United States. The program's format was a (simulated) live newscast of developing events. To this end, Welles played recordings of Herbert Morrison
Herbert Morrison (announcer)
Herbert Morrison was an American radio reporter best known for his dramatic report of the Hindenburg disaster, a catastrophic fire that destroyed the LZ 129 Hindenburg zeppelin on May 6, 1937, killing 36 people.-Hindenburg disaster:...

's radio reports of the Hindenburg disaster
Hindenburg disaster
The Hindenburg disaster took place on Thursday, May 6, 1937, as the German passenger airship LZ 129 Hindenburg caught fire and was destroyed during its attempt to dock with its mooring mast at the Lakehurst Naval Air Station, which is located adjacent to the borough of Lakehurst, New Jersey...

 for actor Frank Readick and the rest of the cast, to demonstrate the mood he wanted.

The first two thirds of the 55½ minute play was a contemporary retelling of events of the novel, presented as news bulletins. This approach was not new. Ronald Knox
Ronald Knox
Ronald Arbuthnott Knox was an English priest, theologian and writer.-Life:Ronald Knox was born in Kibworth, Leicestershire, England into an Anglican family and was educated at Eton College, where he took the first scholarship in 1900 and Balliol College, Oxford, where again...

's satirical newscast of a riot overtaking London over the British Broadcasting Company
British Broadcasting Company
The British Broadcasting Company Ltd was a British commercial company formed on 18 October 1922 by British and American electrical companies doing business in the United Kingdom and licensed by the British General Post Office...

 in 1926 had a similar approach (and created much the same effect on its audience). Welles had been influenced by the Archibald MacLeish
Archibald MacLeish
Archibald MacLeish was an American poet, writer, and the Librarian of Congress. He is associated with the Modernist school of poetry. He received three Pulitzer Prizes for his work.-Early years:...

 dramas The Fall of the City
The Fall of the City
The Fall of the City by Archibald MacLeish is the first American verse play written for radio. It was first broadcast over the Columbia Broadcasting System as part of the Columbia Workshop radio series on April 11, 1937, with a cast that featured Orson Welles and Burgess Meredith. Music was...

and Air Raid, the former of which had used Welles himself in the role of a live radio news reporter. But the approach had never been taken with as much continued verisimilitude, and the innovative format has been cited as a key factor in the confusion that followed.

A 2005 BBC
The British Broadcasting Corporation is a British public service broadcaster. Its headquarters is at Broadcasting House in the City of Westminster, London. It is the largest broadcaster in the world, with about 23,000 staff...

 report suggested that Welles may have been influenced by an earlier hoax
A hoax is a deliberately fabricated falsehood made to masquerade as truth. It is distinguishable from errors in observation or judgment, or rumors, urban legends, pseudosciences or April Fools' Day events that are passed along in good faith by believers or as jokes.-Definition:The British...

 broadcast by Ronald Knox
Ronald Knox
Ronald Arbuthnott Knox was an English priest, theologian and writer.-Life:Ronald Knox was born in Kibworth, Leicestershire, England into an Anglican family and was educated at Eton College, where he took the first scholarship in 1900 and Balliol College, Oxford, where again...

 on BBC Radio
BBC Radio
BBC Radio is a service of the British Broadcasting Corporation which has operated in the United Kingdom under the terms of a Royal Charter since 1927. For a history of BBC radio prior to 1927 see British Broadcasting Company...

. Knox's 1926 broadcast mixed breathless reporting of a revolution sweeping across London with dance music and sound effects of destruction. Knox's broadcast also caused a minor panic among listeners who did not know that the program was fictional. An 1874 hoax in the New York Herald
New York Herald
The New York Herald was a large distribution newspaper based in New York City that existed between May 6, 1835, and 1924.-History:The first issue of the paper was published by James Gordon Bennett, Sr., on May 6, 1835. By 1845 it was the most popular and profitable daily newspaper in the UnitedStates...

claiming that wild animals had escaped from the Central Park Zoo
Central Park Zoo
The Central Park Zoo is a small zoo located in Central Park in New York City. It is part of an integrated system of four zoos and the New York Aquarium managed by the Wildlife Conservation Society , and is accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums .The zoo began in the 1860s as a...

 seems to have had a similar effect.

Plot summary

The program, broadcast as docudrama
In film, television programming and staged theatre, docudrama is a documentary-style genre that features dramatized re-enactments of actual historical events. As a neologism, the term is often confused with docufiction....

 from the 20th floor at 485 Madison Avenue in New York City, starts with an introduction from the novel, describing the intentions of the aliens and noting that the adaptation is set in 1939, a year ahead of the actual broadcast date. The program continues with a weather report and an ordinary dance band remote featuring "Ramon Raquello and His Orchestra" (actually the CBS orchestra under the direction of Bernard Herrmann
Bernard Herrmann
Bernard Herrmann was an American composer noted for his work in motion pictures.An Academy Award-winner , Herrmann is particularly known for his collaborations with director Alfred Hitchcock, most famously Psycho, North by Northwest, The Man Who Knew Too Much, and Vertigo...

) that is interrupted by news flashes about strange explosions on Mars
Mars is the fourth planet from the Sun in the Solar System. The planet is named after the Roman god of war, Mars. It is often described as the "Red Planet", as the iron oxide prevalent on its surface gives it a reddish appearance...

. Welles makes his first appearance as the (fictional) famous astronomer
An astronomer is a scientist who studies celestial bodies such as planets, stars and galaxies.Historically, astronomy was more concerned with the classification and description of phenomena in the sky, while astrophysics attempted to explain these phenomena and the differences between them using...

 and Princeton
Princeton University
Princeton University is a private research university located in Princeton, New Jersey, United States. The school is one of the eight universities of the Ivy League, and is one of the nine Colonial Colleges founded before the American Revolution....

 professor Richard Pierson, who refutes speculation about life on Mars.

The news grows more frequent and increasingly ominous as a cylindrical meteorite lands in Grover's Mill, New Jersey. A crowd gathers at the site. Reporter Carl Phillips (Readick) relates the events. The meteorite unscrews, revealing itself as a rocket machine. Onlookers catch a glimpse of a tentacled, pulsating, barely mobile Martian
Martian (War of the Worlds)
The Martians, also known as the Invaders, are the fictional race of extraterrestrials from the H.G. Wells novel The War of the Worlds. They are the antagonists of the novel, and their efforts to exterminate the populace of Earth and claim the planet for themselves drive the plot and present...

 inside before it incinerates the crowd with Heat-Ray
The Heat-Ray is the primary offensive weapon used by the Martians in H. G. Wells' classic science fiction novel The War of the Worlds and its offshoots.- In the novel :...

s. Phillips's shouts about incoming flames are cut off in mid-sentence. (Later surveys indicate that many listeners heard only this portion of the show before contacting neighbors or family to enquire about the broadcast. Many contacted others in turn, leading to rumors and confusion.)

Regular programming breaks down as the studio struggles with casualty updates, firefighting developments and the like. A shaken Pierson speculates about Martian technology. The New Jersey state militia declares martial law and attacks the cylinder; a message from their field headquarters lectures about the overwhelming force of properly equipped infantry and the helplessness of the Martians in Earth's gravity until a tripod
Tripod (The War of the Worlds)
Tripods or fighting-machines are a type of fictional three-legged walker from the H. G. Wells' classic science fiction novel The War of the Worlds, used by Martians to invade Earth.-Novel:...

 alien fighting machine rears up from the pit.

The Martians obliterate the militia, and the studio returns, now describing the Martians as an invading army. Emergency response bulletins give way to damage reports and evacuation instructions as millions of refugees clog the roads. Three Martian tripods from the cylinder destroy power stations and uproot bridges and railroads, reinforced by three others from a second cylinder as gas explosions continue. An unnamed Secretary of the Interior
United States Secretary of the Interior
The United States Secretary of the Interior is the head of the United States Department of the Interior.The US Department of the Interior should not be confused with the concept of Ministries of the Interior as used in other countries...

 (Kenny Delmar
Kenny Delmar
Kenneth Howard "Kenny" Delmar was an American actor active in radio, films, and animation.-Radio:...

) advises the nation. (The secretary was originally intended to be a portrayal of Franklin D. Roosevelt
Franklin D. Roosevelt
Franklin Delano Roosevelt , also known by his initials, FDR, was the 32nd President of the United States and a central figure in world events during the mid-20th century, leading the United States during a time of worldwide economic crisis and world war...

, then President
President of the United States
The President of the United States of America is the head of state and head of government of the United States. The president leads the executive branch of the federal government and is the commander-in-chief of the United States Armed Forces....

, but CBS insisted this detail, among others, be changed. Welles directed Delmar to nonetheless imitate Roosevelt's voice.)

A live connection is established to a field artillery battery. Its gun crew reports damaging one machine and a release of black smoke/poison gas
Black smoke
The black smoke, or black powder is a fictional poisonous gas in H. G. Wells' science fiction novel The War of the Worlds, used by the Martians to eliminate groups of humans remotely, especially artillery crews, before they could fire. The rockets from which they explode are fired from a "black...

 before fading in to the sound of coughing. The lead plane of a wing of bombers broadcasts its approach and remains on the air as their engines are burned by the Heat-Ray and the plane dives on the invaders. Radio operators go active and fall silent, most right after reporting the approach of the black smoke. The bombers destroyed one machine, but cylinders are falling all across the country.

This section ends famously: a news reporter (played by Ray Collins
Ray Collins (actor)
Ray Bidwell Collins was an American actor in film, stage, radio, and television. One of Collins' best remembered roles was that of Lt. Arthur Tragg in the long-running series Perry Mason.- Biography :...

), broadcasting from atop the CBS building, describes the Martian invasion of New York City — "five great machines" wading across the Hudson River, poison smoke drifting over the city, people running and diving into the East River "like rats", others "falling like flies" — until he, too, succumbs to the poison gas. Finally, a despairing ham radio operator is heard calling, "2X2L calling CQ. Isn't there anyone on the air? Isn't there anyone on the air? Isn't there.... anyone?"

After an intermission for station identification, in which announcer Dan Seymour mentions the show's fictionality, the last third is a monologue and dialogue, with Welles returning as Professor Pierson, describing the aftermath of the attacks. The story ends, as does the novel, with the Martians falling victim to earthly pathogenic germs
A microorganism or microbe is a microscopic organism that comprises either a single cell , cell clusters, or no cell at all...

, to which they have no immunity
Immunity (medical)
Immunity is a biological term that describes a state of having sufficient biological defenses to avoid infection, disease, or other unwanted biological invasion. Immunity involves both specific and non-specific components. The non-specific components act either as barriers or as eliminators of wide...


After the play, Welles informally breaks character to remind listeners that the broadcast was a Halloween concoction, the equivalent, as he puts it, "of dressing up in a sheet, jumping out of a bush and saying, 'Boo!'" Popular mythology holds this "disclaimer" was hastily added to the broadcast at the insistence of CBS executives as they became aware of panic inspired by the program; in fact, it had appeared in Koch's working script for the play.

Public reaction

Some listeners heard only a portion of the broadcast and, in the atmosphere of tension and anxiety prior to World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

, took it to be an actual news broadcast. Newspapers reported that panic ensued, with people across the Northeastern United States and Canada
Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and northward into the Arctic Ocean...

 fleeing their homes. Some people called CBS, newspapers or the police in confusion over the realism of the news bulletins. Some claimed they could smell poison gas or see flashes of lightning in the distance.

Within one month, newspapers had published 12,500 articles about the broadcast and its impact. Adolf Hitler
Adolf Hitler
Adolf Hitler was an Austrian-born German politician and the leader of the National Socialist German Workers Party , commonly referred to as the Nazi Party). He was Chancellor of Germany from 1933 to 1945, and head of state from 1934 to 1945...

 cited the panic, as Richard J. Hand writes, as "evidence of the decadence and corrupt condition of democracy."


Later studies indicate that many missed the repeated notices that the broadcast was fictional, partly because the Mercury Theatre, an unsponsored cultural program with a relatively small audience, ran at the same time as the NBC Red Network's popular Chase and Sanborn Hour. About 15 minutes into Chase and Sanborn, the first comic sketch ended and a musical number began, and many listeners began tuning around the dial at that point. According to the American Experience
American Experience
American Experience is a television program airing on the Public Broadcasting Service Public television stations in the United States. The program airs documentaries, many of which have won awards, about important or interesting events and people in American history...

 program The Battle Over Citizen Kane
The Battle Over Citizen Kane
The Battle Over Citizen Kane is a 1996 documentary about the clash between newspaper mogul William Randolph Hearst and actor/writer/director Orson Welles over Welles' 1941 motion picture Citizen Kane, which is widely regarded as one of the greatest films of all time.The Battle Over Citizen Kane...

, Welles knew the schedule of Chase and Sanborn and scheduled the first report from Grover's Mill at the 12-minute mark to heighten the audience's confusion. As a result, some listeners happened upon the CBS broadcast at the point the Martians emerge from their spacecraft. Because the broadcast was unsponsored, Welles and company could schedule breaks at will rather than structuring them around necessary advertisements. As a result, the only notices that the broadcast was fictional came at the start of the broadcast and about 40 and 55 minutes into it.

A study by the Radio Project
Radio Project
The Radio Project was a social research project funded by the Rockefeller Foundation to look into the effects of mass media on society.In 1937, the Rockefeller Foundation started funding research to find the effects of new forms of mass media on society, especially radio...

 discovered that some who panicked presumed that Germans, not Martians, had invaded.


Later studies suggested the panic was less widespread than newspapers had indicated at the time. During this period, many newspaper publishers were concerned that radio, a new medium, would render them obsolete. In that time of yellow journalism
Yellow journalism
Yellow journalism or the yellow press is a type of journalism that presents little or no legitimate well-researched news and instead uses eye-catching headlines to sell more newspapers. Techniques may include exaggerations of news events, scandal-mongering, or sensationalism...

, print journalists took the opportunity to suggest that radio was dangerous by embellishing the story of the panic that ensued.

Hand cites studies by unnamed historians who "calculate[d] that some six million heard the CBS broadcast; 1.7 million believed it to be true, and 1.2 million were 'genuinely frightened'". NBC's audience, by contrast, was an estimated 30 million.

Robert E. Bartholomew grants that hundreds of thousands were frightened but calls evidence of people taking action based on their fear "scant" and "anecdotal". Indeed, contemporary news articles indicate that police were swamped with hundreds of calls in numerous locations, but stories of people doing anything more than calling authorities mostly involve only small groups. Such stories were often reported by people who were panicking themselves.

Specific instances

Future Tonight Show host Jack Paar
Jack Paar
Jack Harold Paar was an author, American radio and television comedian and talk show host, best known for his stint as host of The Tonight Show from 1957 to 1962...

 had announcing duties that night for Cleveland CBS affiliate WGAR. As panicked listeners called the studio, Paar attempted to calm them on the phone and on air by saying, "The world is not coming to an end. Trust me. When have I ever lied to you?" When the listeners started charging Paar with "covering up the truth", he called WGAR's station manager for help. Oblivious to the situation, the manager advised Paar to calm down, saying it was "all a tempest in a teapot."

In Concrete, Washington
Concrete, Washington
Concrete is a town in north-central Skagit County, Washington, United States. The population was 705 at the 2010 census. The town of Concrete is included in the Mount Vernon-Anacortes, Washington Metropolitan Statistical Area.-Early history:...

, phone lines and electricity went out due to a short-circuit at the Superior Portland Cement Company's substation
Electrical substation
A substation is a part of an electrical generation, transmission, and distribution system. Substations transform voltage from high to low, or the reverse, or perform any of several other important functions...

. Residents were unable to call neighbors, family or friends to calm their fears. Reporters who heard of the coincidental blackout sent the story over the newswire, and soon Concrete was known worldwide.


In the aftermath of the reported panic, CBS responded to public outcry by pointing to reminders throughout the broadcast that it was a performance. Welles and Mercury Theatre escaped punishment but not censure; CBS is believed to have had to promise never again to use "we interrupt this program" for dramatic effect. However, many radio commercials to this day do start with the phrase "We interrupt this program". The notoriety of the broadcast led the Campbell Soup Company
Campbell Soup Company
Campbell Soup Company , also known as Campbell's, is an American producer of canned soups and related products. Campbell's products are sold in 120 countries around the world. It is headquartered in Camden, New Jersey...

 to sponsor the show; Mercury Theatre on the Air was renamed The Campbell Playhouse
The Campbell Playhouse
The Campbell Playhouse was a CBS radio drama series directed by and starring Orson Welles. Produced by John Houseman, it was a sponsored continuation of the Mercury Theatre on the Air...


Many listeners sued the network for "mental anguish" and "personal injury." All suits were dismissed, except for a claim for a pair of black mens shoes (size 9B) by a Massachusetts
The Commonwealth of Massachusetts is a state in the New England region of the northeastern United States of America. It is bordered by Rhode Island and Connecticut to the south, New York to the west, and Vermont and New Hampshire to the north; at its east lies the Atlantic Ocean. As of the 2010...

 man who spent his shoe money to escape the Martians. Welles insisted the man be paid.

A meeting between H.G. Wells and Orson Welles was broadcast on Radio KTSA
KTSA is a News-Talk formatted radio station in San Antonio, Texas. The weekday schedule offers 10 hours of local talk, hosted by Trey Ware , Jack Riccardi , and Sean Rima . KTSA also carries all three hours of "The Dave Ramsey Show" live . Evening and overnight hours include programming from...

 San Antonio
San Antonio, Texas
San Antonio is the seventh-largest city in the United States of America and the second-largest city within the state of Texas, with a population of 1.33 million. Located in the American Southwest and the south–central part of Texas, the city serves as the seat of Bexar County. In 2011,...

, a CBS affiliate, on October 28, 1940. Wells expressed a lack of understanding of the apparent panic and suggested it may have been only pretense, like the American version of Halloween
Hallowe'en , also known as Halloween or All Hallows' Eve, is a yearly holiday observed around the world on October 31, the night before All Saints' Day...

, for fun. The two men and their radio interviewer joked with embarrassment about the matter.

In 1988, during the weekend nearest the 50th anniversary of the broadcast, West Windsor Township, N.J., where Grovers Mills is located, held a "Martian festival". Designed to attract tourist revenue, this included carnival rides, hucksters' stalls, and "Martians" firing "Heat Rays".

Remakes and re-airings

Since the original Mercury Theatre broadcast, there have been many re-airings, remakes, reenactments and new dramatizations of the original.
  • In February 1949, Leonardo Paez and Eduardo Alcaraz produced a Spanish-language version of Welles's 1938 script for Radio Quito in Quito
    San Francisco de Quito, most often called Quito , is the capital city of Ecuador in northwestern South America. It is located in north-central Ecuador in the Guayllabamba river basin, on the eastern slopes of Pichincha, an active stratovolcano in the Andes mountains...

    , Ecuador
    Ecuador , officially the Republic of Ecuador is a representative democratic republic in South America, bordered by Colombia on the north, Peru on the east and south, and by the Pacific Ocean to the west. It is one of only two countries in South America, along with Chile, that do not have a border...

    . The broadcast set off panic in the city. Police and fire brigades rushed out of town to engage the supposed alien invasion force. After it was revealed that the broadcast was fiction, the panic transformed into a riot. Hundreds attacked Radio Quito and El Comercio, a local newspaper that had participated in the hoax by publishing false reports of unidentified objects in the skies above Ecuador in the days preceding the broadcast. The riot resulted in at least six deaths, including those of Paez's girlfriend and nephew. Paez moved to Venezuela
    Venezuela , officially called the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela , is a tropical country on the northern coast of South America. It borders Colombia to the west, Guyana to the east, and Brazil to the south...

     after the incident.
  • WKBW
    WWKB is an AM radio station in Buffalo, New York that operates on a frequency of 1520 kHz. It is owned and operated by Entercom Communications. The station carries a progressive talk radio format. Declaring itself as A New Voice, A New Choice, The Voice of the New Majority; WWKB carries a number...

     in Buffalo, New York
    Buffalo, New York
    Buffalo is the second most populous city in the state of New York, after New York City. Located in Western New York on the eastern shores of Lake Erie and at the head of the Niagara River across from Fort Erie, Ontario, Buffalo is the seat of Erie County and the principal city of the...

    , has aired several versions of its own radio dramatization
    The War of the Worlds (radio 1968)
    The War of the Worlds was a radio drama, originally aired by Buffalo, New York radio station WKBW on October 31, 1968. It was a modernized version of the original radio drama aired by CBS in 1938.-Martians in Buffalo?:...

    , the first in 1968.
  • WSWO near Dayton, Ohio
    Dayton, Ohio
    Dayton is the 6th largest city in the U.S. state of Ohio and the county seat of Montgomery County, the fifth most populous county in the state. The population was 141,527 at the 2010 census. The Dayton Metropolitan Statistical Area had a population of 841,502 in the 2010 census...

    , has its own dramatization.
  • National Public Radio aired a remake on the 50th anniversary of the Mercury Theatre play in 1988. It starred Jason Robards
    Jason Robards
    Jason Nelson Robards, Jr. was an American actor on stage, and in film and television, and a winner of the Tony Award , two Academy Awards and the Emmy Award...

    , Steve Allen
    Steve Allen (comedian)
    Stephen Valentine Patrick William "Steve" Allen was an American television personality, musician, composer, actor, comedian, and writer. Though he got his start in radio, Allen is best known for his television career. He first gained national attention as a guest host on Arthur Godfrey's Talent...

     (who as a youth listened to the 1938 broadcast), Douglas Edwards
    Douglas Edwards
    Douglas Edwards was America's first network news television anchor, anchoring CBS's first nightly news broadcast from 1948–1962, which was later to be titled CBS Evening News.-Early life and career:...

    , Scott Simon
    Scott Simon
    Scott Simon is an American journalist and the host of Weekend Edition Saturday on National Public Radio.- Life and career :...

     and Terry Gross
    Terry Gross
    Terry Gross is the host and co-executive producer of Fresh Air, an interview format radio show produced by WHYY-FM in Philadelphia and distributed throughout the United States by National Public Radio....

    . It was nominated for a Grammy Award
    Grammy Award
    A Grammy Award — or Grammy — is an accolade by the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences of the United States to recognize outstanding achievement in the music industry...

     for "Best Spoken Word or Nonmusical Recording".
  • In 1994, L.A. Theatre Works
    L.A. Theatre Works
    L.A. Theatre Works is a non-profit media arts organization based in Los Angeles.- History :Founded in 1974, the organization was originally called “Artists in Prison,” and used theatre as a means to provide a voice to incarcerated men and women who were traditionally unheard and underserved. In...

     and Pasadena
    Pasadena, California
    Pasadena is a city in Los Angeles County, California, United States. Although famous for hosting the annual Rose Bowl football game and Tournament of Roses Parade, Pasadena is the home to many scientific and cultural institutions, including the California Institute of Technology , the Jet...

     public radio station KPCC rebroadcast the original play before a live audience. The cast included Leonard Nimoy
    Leonard Nimoy
    Leonard Simon Nimoy is an American actor, film director, poet, musician and photographer. Nimoy's most famous role is that of Spock in the original Star Trek series , multiple films, television and video game sequels....

    , John de Lancie
    John de Lancie
    John de Lancie is an American actor. He has been active in screen and television roles since 1977, though he is best known for his recurring role as Q on the various Star Trek series and as Frank Simmons in Stargate SG-1....

    , Dwight Schultz
    Dwight Schultz
    William Dwight Schultz is an American stage, television, film actor, and voice artist. He is best known for his roles as Captain "Howling Mad" Murdock on the 1980s action show The A-Team, and as Reginald Barclay in Star Trek: The Next Generation, Star Trek: Voyager, and the film Star Trek: First...

    , Wil Wheaton
    Wil Wheaton
    Richard William "Wil" Wheaton III is an American actor and writer. As an actor, he is best known for his portrayals of Wesley Crusher on the television series Star Trek: The Next Generation, Gordie Lachance in the film Stand by Me and Joey Trotta in Toy Soldiers...

    , Gates McFadden
    Gates McFadden
    Cheryl Gates McFadden usually credited as Gates McFadden, is an American actress and choreographer. She is best known for portraying the character of Dr...

    , Brent Spiner
    Brent Spiner
    Brent Jay Spiner is an American actor, best known for his portrayal of the android Lieutenant Commander Data in the television series Star Trek: The Next Generation and four subsequent films. His portrayal of Data in Star Trek: First Contact and of Dr...

    , Armin Shimerman
    Armin Shimerman
    Armin Shimerman is an American actor. Shimerman is best known for playing the Ferengi bartender Quark in the television series Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Principal Snyder in Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Kramer's caddy Stan on Seinfeld, voicing Dr. Nefarious in the Ratchet & Clank series, and Andrew...

    , Jerry Hardin
    Jerry Hardin
    Jerry Hardin is an American actor who has made many television and film appearances. He played illegitimate heir, Wild Bill Westchester, in the failed 1982 television series Filthy Rich. One of his most recognizable roles was that of the character Deep Throat in the series The X-Files...

    , and Tom Virtue
    Tom Virtue
    Thomas E. "Tom" Virtue is an American actor. He is best known for his co-starring role as Steve Stevens in the Disney Channel sitcom Even Stevens.-Life and career:...

    . De Lancie directed.
  • In 2002 a re-enactment of the radio play produced by Premiere Radio Networks
    Premiere Radio Networks
    Premiere Networks is an American radio network. It is the largest syndication company in the United States based on popularity of programming...

     and starring Glenn Beck
    Glenn Beck
    Glenn Edward Lee Beck is an American conservative radio host, vlogger, author, entrepreneur, political commentator and former television host. He hosts the Glenn Beck Program, a nationally syndicated talk-radio show that airs throughout the United States on Premiere Radio Networks...

     was broadcast live from the XM Satellite Radio
    XM Satellite Radio
    XM Satellite Radio is one of two satellite radio services in the United States and Canada, operated by Sirius XM Radio. It provides pay-for-service radio, analogous to cable television. Its service includes 73 different music channels, 39 news, sports, talk and entertainment channels, 21 regional...

     studios in Washington, D.C.
    Washington, D.C.
    Washington, D.C., formally the District of Columbia and commonly referred to as Washington, "the District", or simply D.C., is the capital of the United States. On July 16, 1790, the United States Congress approved the creation of a permanent national capital as permitted by the U.S. Constitution....

  • Northwest Missouri State University
    Northwest Missouri State University
    Northwest Missouri State University is a state university in Maryville, Missouri. Founded in 1905 as a teachers college, it offers both undergraduate and graduate programs. The campus, based on the design for Forest Park at the 1904 St. Louis World's Fair, is the official Missouri State Arboretum....

     aired a TV version of the original show for their 2006 Halloween special, supplemented by fake footage of an interview with an astronomy professor, the aliens landing outside of Maryville, Missouri
    Maryville, Missouri
    Maryville is a city in Nodaway County, Missouri, United States. The population was 10,581 at the 2000 census. The town, organized on February 14, 1845, was named for Mrs. Mary Graham, wife of Amos Graham, then the county clerk. Mary was the first Caucasian woman to have lived within the boundaries...

    , and people running through the streets in terror.
  • In 2010, Hungarian
    Hungary , officially the Republic of Hungary , is a landlocked country in Central Europe. It is situated in the Carpathian Basin and is bordered by Slovakia to the north, Ukraine and Romania to the east, Serbia and Croatia to the south, Slovenia to the southwest and Austria to the west. The...

     university station Első Pesti Egyetemi Rádió
    Elso Pesti Egyetemi Rádió
    Első Pesti Egyetemi Rádió is a Budapest based nonprofit community radio station, broadcasting from the campus of Eötvös Loránd University CCIR URH 97.0 MHz . It is informally named EPER.- History :...

     re-created the broadcast in Hungarian
    Hungarian language
    Hungarian is a Uralic language, part of the Ugric group. With some 14 million speakers, it is one of the most widely spoken non-Indo-European languages in Europe....

    , using the 1938 sound effects as if it were broadcast on a fictional Hungarian radio station in 1938.
  • In 2010, Bricolage Production Company
    Bricolage Production Company
    Bricolage Production Company is a professional theatre company based in downtown Pittsburgh. Established in 2001 by Jeffrey Carpenter, it is located on Liberty Avenue in Pittsburgh's Cultural District in a space that was formerly a Turkish bathhouse...

     performed the radio play as part of its Midnight Radio series, changing the names of the locations to settings in and around Pittsburgh.
  • Many American radio stations, particularly those that regularly air old time radio programs, re-air the original program as a Halloween tradition.


It is sometimes said the news of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor
Attack on Pearl Harbor
The attack on Pearl Harbor was a surprise military strike conducted by the Imperial Japanese Navy against the United States naval base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, on the morning of December 7, 1941...

 was received with skepticism by the American public, as a consequence of the radio performance. In the 1943 film Air Force, when the attack is reported on the radio a character asks if they have Orson Welles tuned in.

The plot of the 1994 TV movie Without Warning centers around Earth being hit by three meteor fragments. The filmmakers acknowledged their debt to The War of the Worlds, and the film was first broadcast on CBS TV on the 56th anniversary of the radio broadcast. It was broadcast with a disclaimer identifying it as fictional, as the 1983 TV movie Special Bulletin
Special Bulletin
Special Bulletin is an American made-for-TV movie first broadcast in 1983. It was an early collaboration between director Edward Zwick and writer Marshall Herskovitz, a team that would later produce such series as thirtysomething and My So-Called Life...

had been. NBC placed disclaimers in an October 1999 TV movie dramatizing possible effects of the Y2K bug
Year 2000 problem
The Year 2000 problem was a problem for both digital and non-digital documentation and data storage situations which resulted from the practice of abbreviating a four-digit year to two digits.In computer programs, the practice of representing the year with two...

 though it was unlikely to be confused with reality.

In 2005, Danish radio station P2 announced a plan to broadcast a remake of The War of the Worlds on September 3 of that year. As the broadcast was about to start, an announcer interrupted the show to report a fake story about a biological terrorist attack on Copenhagen
Copenhagen is the capital and largest city of Denmark, with an urban population of 1,199,224 and a metropolitan population of 1,930,260 . With the completion of the transnational Øresund Bridge in 2000, Copenhagen has become the centre of the increasingly integrating Øresund Region...


Current ownership

The estate of scriptwriter Howard Koch owns the rights to the radio broadcast.

Further reading

External links

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