For several years now, first on my blog The Crotchety Old Fan and later here on Amazing Stories, I’ve made it a tradition to feature (and listen to) Orson Welles’ MercuryTheater On the Air’s production of H. G. Well’s THE WAR OF THE WORLDS.
It is a superb rendering of a great novel (and one that Mr. H. G. Wells listened to and approved of himself!) (We know this because of another Old Time Radio clip featuring an interview with both men.)
It may also have some personal resonance with me for a number of reasons: The War of the Worlds was one of the first science fiction novels I ever read. I grew up in New Jersey (yes, I’ve visited Grover’s Mill. Good place to establish an invasion beachhead.) I love the Martian Tripods.
I also love the fact that on the eve of World War, numerous citizens believed that the country was really under attack by invaders from Mars; I think the initial panic and the follow-thru (people offering to enlist, running around informing their neighbors, preparing to defend or evacuate) says something about the country and its people that is still relevant today.
Besides: ghosts, ghoulies, vampires and various other things that pretend to go bump in the night have been rendered fangless by the advance of science and technology. On the other hand, invasion from Out There still remains within the realm of possibility, making, at least for me, a far better fairy tale to tell around the camp fire.
So without further ado, here is the 1938 broadcast of H. G. Well’s The War of the Worlds.
For those with more “modern” tastes, here’s Jeff Wayne’s musical interpretation:
And here are a few depictions of Martian Tripods to get you in the mood!