American Experience (1988– )
7 user 2 critic

War of the Worlds 

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



(story), (telescript) | 1 more credit »


Episode credited cast:
Charissa Allen
Himself / Charlie McCarthy (archive sound)
Himself - Film Director
Bertha Boughton (as Brenda Isaacs-Booth)
Ray Collins ...
Mr. Wilmuth (archive sound)
Flash Gordon (archive footage)
Robert Crossley ...
Himself - Writer
Sonny Davis
Kenny Delmar ...
Captain Lansing / Franklin D. Roosevelt / Policeman (archive sound)
Lucien Douglas
Susan Douglas ...
Herself - Historian
Chris Wells Feder ...
Herself - Daughter of Orson Wells
Bart Fletcher


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

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Release Date:

29 October 2013 (USA)  »

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

16:9 HD
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Did You Know?


References Call It a Day (1937) See more »

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User Reviews

It's Hard to Blame People Considering the World of the Time
23 January 2015 | by See all my reviews

I just had a chance to view this analytical presentation of the events surrounding that Halloween radio performance by the great Orson Welles, Welles was bewildered by the results though he loved every minute of it. What we need to realize is that it was announced at the beginning that this was fictional. Of course, the problem was that Germany was on the march and was being observed by the populace. People were glued to their radios and if they missed the beginning, the performance was so good by the players, that it isn't hard to see how they could fall for it. One thing I never thought about before was the fact that events happened so fast that any thoughtful person should have realized it couldn't have happened in just a few minutes. The events of the first twelve minutes involved events that should have taken a couple days (for instance, how did the military get there so fast?) Suffice it to say, this is a nicely crafted presentation. So many of these things have been done in the past. I believe this is the best of them all.

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