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This programme looks at a famous example of media power. On October 30th 1938, Orson Welles Mercury Theatre group enacted a live version of 'War of the Worlds', by H.G.Wells. It was transmitted liv...e at 8 p.m. standard time, throughout the U.S.A., on the CBS Network. Millions heard it, and many panicked, believing that Martians were invading New Jersey. Using reconstruction and interviews with American radio listeners this film sets out to analyse how it was that such a profound reaction was caused. Archive radio broadcasts as Hitler marched through Europe in 1938, together with science fiction film serials such as 'Flash Gordon's Trip to Mars', help illustrate how the American people has been subtly prepared to accept the notion of alien invaders.
Metadata describing this Open University video programme
Module code and title: A282, "Science, technology and everyday life 1870-1950"
Item code: A282; 05
First transmission date: 1989
Published: 1989
Rights Statement:
Restrictions on use:
Duration: 00:24:45
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Producer: Neil Cameron
Contributor: Jim Moore
Publisher: BBC Open University
Keyword(s): Broadcasting; Mass hysteria; Mass media; Newscasting; Science fiction; War of the worlds; Welles, Orson
Subject terms: Radio broadcasting--Social aspects; Social psychology; Welles, Orson, 1915-1985. War of the worlds; Wells, H. G. (Herbert George), 1866-1946. War of the worlds
Master spool number: HOU5875
Production number: FOUA254S
Videofinder number: 3033
Available to public: no