Studio One in Hollywood (1948–1958)
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The Night America Trembled 

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 ...
Alexander Scourby ...
Carl Phillips - Host
Robert Blackburn ...
Casey Allen ...
First Announcer
Norman Rose ...
Second Announcer
First Actor
Second Actor
Third Actor
Freda Holloway ...
Mary Morgan
John Gibson ...
Mr. Morgan - Mary's Father
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)  »

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


TV debut of John Astin. 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
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User Reviews

Stardust Memories
16 February 2009 | by See all my reviews

"Another classic dramatic presentation brought to you by 'Studio One', originally a radio program brought out as an Emmy winning weekly television program shown on the CBS television network from 1948 to 1958.. This particular episode centers on the tale of the 1939 (sic, it was 1938) Halloween night radio broadcast of the Mercury Theater's 'The War of The Worlds'." (originally by H.G. Wells)

"Narrated by Edward R. Murrow, this program presented a dramatization of the studio end of the broadcast as well as audience reactions through vignettes. Guest stars abound in this episode (which opened the tenth season of this program), including Ed Asner, Vincent Gardenia, James Coburn, Warren Oates and a youthful Warren Beatty," according to the DVD sleeve's synopsis.

Alexander Scourby (as Phillips, the host) is a good substitute for the original Orson Welles, who should have been mentioned, at least. Mr. Welles was (along with John Houseman) largely responsible for "The Mercury Theatre on the Air". And, it was Welles' confident, convincing voice that helped throw listeners into a panic. (What did Welles do, turn down an interview with Edward R. Murrow?)

This teleplay does seem to capture the "moment" well, with a large cast performing necessarily small roles, given the actual running time. Don't overlook the uncredited John Astin, when perusing the cast; in his first appearance before a camera, Mr. Astin is as good as fellow débuting Jim Coburn. Warren Beatty and Warren Oates are ordinary college card players. Ed Asner has great hair. And, as always, Vincent Gardenia shows up any Tom, Dick, or Harry.

****** The Night America Trembled (9/9/57) Tom Donovan ~ Alexander Scourby, Vincent Gardenia, John Astin

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