14 Questions On War Of The Worlds Radio Broadcast
war of the worlds radio broadcast The myth of the alleged collective hysteria caused by the radio dramatization of HG Wells’ novel War of the Worlds on the night of October 30, 1938, produced by Orson Welles.American actor, director, screenwriter,It was actually a reaction against the growing influence of the radio, which was gaining ground in advertising sales against the publishing industry, but also the product of a poorly conducted study whose results were falsified. The broadcast occurred at The Mercury Theater.
Those who came to listen to it live, according to the book Haunted Media: Electronic Presence from Telegraphy to Television (2000) by Jeffrey Sconce, knew at all times that it was a radio soap opera, and were never mistaken for an “emergency broadcast “; in fact the vast majority thought it was a joke – not a very good one.
The next day, however, morning newspaper headlines emphasized the “civil irresponsibility” that such Halloween programs incurred, claiming to demonstrate that radio was a dangerous medium to the average citizen, discrediting this medium as a source. reliable information. That would have been forgotten, if not for an investigator who got away with it.
Why Everyone Is Dead Wrong About War Of The Worlds Radio Broadcast And Why You Must Read This Report
The only study done in this regard was published two years later, The Invasion from Mars: A Study in the Psychology of Panic (1940), conducted by a team led by Dr. Hadley Cantril of Princeton University. Before being published, Cantril boasted that his research methods had discovered how collective hysteria had occurred, and he drew conclusions about the true power of influence of the electronic media; however the evidence that the rest of his team collected strongly contradicted his claims. Concerned that financial support for his research department would be withdrawn, Cantril decided to falsify the data to justify his statements, something that decades later he would admit although it would be too late.
The book was a best seller thanks to an intense advertising campaign, so that this lie could persist, becoming a ‘false news’ that is used as a reference today, a myth that has been paradoxically perpetuated at the insistence of the media.
The curious thing was that as the years passed another strange phenomenon occurred that engulfed The War of the Worlds: people who had never heard the program claimed to know someone who had, becoming an urban legend. Very soon the number of alleged witnesses grew larger, exceeding the number of true eavesdropping at the time.
In fact, on that night of October 30, millions of radio listeners in the United States were on the lookout for one of the most popular programs of the moment, “Chase and Sanborn Hour,” directed by ventriloquist Edgar Bergen. As expected, comedy routines and music varieties were everyone’s delight.
The company C. E. Hooper carried out a survey to verify the audience levels through 5,000 random calls –– in which the pollsters asked “What program are you listening to?” –– and, to the satisfaction of NBC, most of the respondents confirmed that they were aware of that particular program.
Only 2% said they were listening to a CBS show, which they referred to as “Orson Welles’ show” or “a novel,” but none ever mentioned the words “news broadcast.” That Sunday night was fairly quiet, as expected, according to police reports.
Better not to spread the “panic”
Currently, no serious investigator has been able to prove the true penetration that the Mercury Theater on the Air had that night, without taking into account that at the time many repeaters preferred not to broadcast that episode to favor local programs in different regions, so the number could be much less than what was thought. In fact, neither CBS nor Orson Wells was fined for anything.
An investigation conducted in New York hospitals into the number of nervous breakdowns or suicide deaths that may have been related to the alleged panic, revealed nothing extraordinary that happened that night.