The American Experience: Season 25, Episode 1

War of the Worlds (29 Oct. 2013)

TV Episode  -   -  Documentary | History
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Ratings: 7.1/10 from 39 users  
Reviews: 3 user | 2 critic

An account of Orson Welles' 1938 radio drama broadcast that inadvertently started a mass panic.



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Title: War of the Worlds (29 Oct 2013)

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Episode credited cast:
Charissa Allen
Bertha Boughton (as Brenda Isaacs-Booth)
Babs George
Florence Rohm
Betsy Lindley
Tim Mateer
Chris Olson ...
Louis F. Heidenrich
Himself / Narrator


An account of Orson Welles' 1938 radio drama broadcast that inadvertently started a mass panic.

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Plot Keywords:

radio | mass panic | 1930s | See All (3) »





Release Date:

29 October 2013 (USA)  »

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Aspect Ratio:

16:9 HD
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User Reviews

Wonderful Look at the Historic Night
26 November 2013 | by (Louisville, KY) – See all my reviews

The American Experience: War of the Worlds (2013)

**** (out of 4)

October 30, 1938 turned out to be the date for the most famous radio broadcast in history. This was the date that panic took over America as Orson Welles did a radio show of H.G. Wells' War of the Worlds but the only problem is that many listeners thought it was a real alien attack. I've seen quite a few articles and documentaries on this subject but there's no question that this here is the very best. This documentary works on so many levels but best of all is that it gives the viewer a very detailed look at the events of this day and everything that led up to the fear that overtook people in the country. It's interesting to hear certain things like how the Hindenburg disaster from the previous year played a part in how one actor of the play decided to add some extra fear. There's also the fact that many heard "alien attack" on the radio and feared that it was actually Germany coming onto our shores and attacking us. The documentary also covers the week events of the script being written and the various changes that had to be made before it hit the air. Peter Bogdanovich as well as Welles own daughter are among the people interviewed and it seems pretty clear that the great filmmaker was quite happy with the chaos that he caused even though clips of the press conference the following day tries to show him concerned over what had happened. Fans of the story, the radio broadcast or just the history behind it should really enjoy this episode as it pretty much contains everything you'd want to hear about it.

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