The Cheat with the Ace of Diamonds, by George de la Tour, c. 1635. Louvre Museum, Paris.

Swindle & Fraud

Volume VIII, Number 2 | spring 2015

Miscellany

On October 30, 1938, a CBS radio announcer presented the 8 p.m. broadcast: “Orson Welles and the Mercury Theatre on the Air in The War of the Worlds by H.G. Wells.” After the 23-year-old Welles read an ominous introduction and the “music of Ramon Raquello and his orchestra” played, bulletins followed with reports of Martians crash-landing in New Jersey. Many listeners thought that the Welles-Wells adaptation was news: some people crowded highways trying to flee from aliens; others pleaded with police for gas masks. Welles said at the broadcast’s end that it was only a “holiday offering” in anticipation of Halloween.

An honest man is all right even if he’s an idiot…but a crook must have brains.

—Maxim Gorky, 1902