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Orson Welles’ ‘War Of The Worlds’ Turns 75 Years Old Today

Good heavens, something’s wriggling out of the shadow like a gray snake. Now it’s another one, and another. They look like tentacles to me. There, I can see the thing’s body. It’s large, large as a bear and it glistens like wet leather. But that face, it… Ladies and gentlemen, it’s indescribable.

That’s from the “War Of The Worlds” broadcast 75 years ago tonight on Columbia Broadcasting System’s “Mercury Theater on the Air”. Orson Welles, at only 23 years old, created something that despite the aired disclaimers was done in such a realistic fashion featuring news break-ins, that it freaked out a generation of Americans. People didn’t realize it was a drama. They thought it was real. Panic ensued. People fled town. The coolest part is the chosen landing site for the radio adaptation of the H.G. Wells classic was Grovers Mill, NJ. I live very near there. I never listened to the original broadcast until this morning.

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