On October 30, 1938, Orson Welles' Mercury Players performed a radio play version of H.G. Wells' War of the Worlds. Some people in the unsuspecting public took the broadcast as a real ... See full summary »




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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Edward R. Murrow ...
Himself / Narrator
Carl Phillips - Host
Robert Blackburn ...
Casey Allen ...
First Announcer
Norman Rose ...
Second Announcer
Ray Boyle ...
First Actor
Frank Marth ...
Second Actor
Third Actor
Freda Holloway ...
John Gibson ...
Clint Kimbrough ...
Tom Clancy ...
Fred J. Scollay ...
Sam Chandler (as Jim Coburn)


On October 30, 1938, Orson Welles' Mercury Players performed a radio play version of H.G. Wells' War of the Worlds. Some people in the unsuspecting public took the broadcast as a real report about a Martian invasion. In this television play of twenty years later, several fictional storylines present the story of the 1938 broadcast and the panic it caused. Edward R. Murrow, as himself, provides short narrative bridges between scenes. The fun includes watching the young extras for a surprising number of faces that will later range from the familiar to the famous. Written by tlfisher-1

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Release Date:

9 September 1957 (USA)  »

Filming Locations:

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


TV debut of James Coburn. See more »


The events portrayed took place in 1938. The 'Rose-Bowl' pinball machine being played in the bar was not made by D. Gottlieb & Company until October 1951. See more »


Edward R. Murrow: One troubled face out of ten. But this is the face of dawning panic on the night America trembled
See more »


Version of The Night That Panicked America (1975) See more »


Introduction from "Le Coq d' Or"
Music by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov
See more »

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User Reviews

The Night America Trembled depicts historic events of 10/30/38
31 July 2006 | by (Baton Rouge, La.) – See all my reviews

The Night America Trembled is-as far as I know-the first dramatization of the events that happened during the radio broadcast of H.G. Wells' War of the Worlds on October 30, 1938. Newsman Edward R. Murrow adds modern perspective to '50s audiences about subsequent events that make this Orson Welles production still seem frightening to anyone who didn't hear the beginning of the broadcast having switched from Bergin and McCarthy on NBC. I myself first heard this legendary show exactly 41 years after at age 11 and I couldn't believe how realistic it sounded. I'd like to point some flaws, however. First, the director of the radio play and Orson Welles are depicted as two different people when they were one and the same. Also, the sound of the Martians' opening their ship was visualized as the sound man manually spinning a bare record turntable when it was actually the opening of a jar. What makes this Studio One episode even more fascinating are the Westinghouse commercials with John Cameron Swazee for various nuclear products! Worth a look to see early performances of Warren Beatty, Ed Asner, Warren Oates, James Coburn, Vincent Gardenia, and, for Honeymooners fans, Frank Marth! Also, keep an eye out for The Night That Panicked America on various stations or cable channels around Halloween.

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