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.