According to Webster: “dra·ma,” (in context) n. A serious narrative in real life having the emotional effect of a play.
A definition that Orson Welles at the age of 23 turned upside down with his now “infamous” Halloween broadcast on CBS radio in New York City of…
The “War of the Worlds” broadcast was an episode of the American radio drama anthology series at (The Mercury Theatre on the Air).
It was performed as a Halloween episode of the series on October 31, 1938, and aired over the Columbia Broadcasting System radio network.
Directed and narrated by actor and future filmmaker Orson Welles, the episode was an adaptation of H. G. Wells’s novel “The War of the Worlds,” published in (1898).
The first two thirds of the sixty-two minute broadcast were presented as a series of simulated news bulletins, which suggested to many listeners that an actual alien invasion by Martians was currently in progress. Compounding the issue was the fact that the Mercury Theatre on the Air was a sustaining show (it ran without commercial breaks), adding to the program’s realism.
Although there were sensationalist accounts in the press about a supposed panic in response to the broadcast, the precise extent of listener response has been debated, particularly since the show was not drawing a large share of the radio audience.
Most Americans were listening to Edgar Bergen; however, when Bergen’s opening comedy routine ended and gave way to a musical interlude, many people may have started turning the radio dial to see what else was on.
Those people found a radio show that sounded like a real account of an alien attack. The show did issue a disclaimer at the beginning of the show, but the people tuning in late did not hear that announcement and so a small panic did occur.
In the days following the adaptation, however, there was widespread outrage in the media. The program’s news-bulletin format was described as cruelly deceptive by some newspapers (which had lost advertising revenue to radio) and public figures, leading to an outcry against the perpetrators of the broadcast and calls for regulation by the Federal Communications Commission.
Despite these complaints—or perhaps in part because of them—the episode secured Welles’s fame as a dramatist.
Question: Was Orson Welles intent to panic America?
A better question: Wouldn’t it be great if we could say the same about America’s media today?
America’s media today is owned by Giants who prosecute their political ideologies and philosophies with impunity.
Consequently, and sadly, we in America no longer receives (news), we receive commentary delivered by “bloviators” like Bill O’Reilly on the Fox News Channel and Rachel Maddow who spearheads the bullshit on MSNBC.
According to Webster: “blo vi ate,” (in context) To speak or write verbosely and windily.
According to Webster: “com·men·tar·y,” (in context) A series of explanations or interpretations.
According to Webster: “prop·a·gan·da,” The issue of doctrine and information reflecting the express views and interests of the people advocating the doctrine or cause.
According to Webster: “brain·wash·ing,” Intensive forcible indoctrination, intended to alter a person’s basic convictions and replace them with an alternative set of fixed beliefs.
So what do you think, are Americans being respected as intellectually capable of making their own decisions…
..or are we being treated like a bunch of mushrooms?
Truth forges understanding, I’ll be back tomorrow