The Bibliophile's Adventurers Club

Exemplars of bookish delight

The War of the Worlds

October 30, 1938, the American radio drama series The Mercury Theatre on the Air, aired The War of the Worlds–an adaptation of H.G. Wells’ novel The War of the Worlds (1898).

Narrated by Orson Welles, most of the 60-minute broadcast was designed to mimic news bulletins.

The timing may have been a little off.

With World War II looming, many people were already on edge. Add to that the fact that The Mercury Theatre on the Air was not a sponsored program–with no scheduled breaks for advertisements, they only announced it was a fictional account at the start of the program and near the end. The production was also quite well done. So, when people tuned in mid-way, they believed an alien invasion was actually taking place. Even worse?  Concrete, Washington experienced a blackout, leaving inhabitants to believe it was part of the invasion–with no way for others to get word to them otherwise.

As you might imagine, panic ensued.

In honor of shenanigans of yesteryear, here’s the original recording. Remember, don’t be alarmed! It’s only The War of the Worlds {radio drama} . . .


  1. If you like HG Wells, try reading the Map of Time and the Map of the Sky – two really fun books starring the author himself

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.