The War of the Worlds Broadcast

The Aftermath

The New York Times Front Page the Day After the Broadcast (image from www.bandbaja,org)

The War of the Worlds panic began to subside as real news reports about the hoax spread.(2) The Mercury Theater's performance created a national controversy. The FCC called the program “regrettable.” Rumors spread that the government would punish CBS for airing the broadcast. H.G. Wells was angry that his novel had been “misused,” and he threatened to sue.(2) Welles and his production group denied that they had planned the hoax and claimed they had no intention of creating the panic. The broadcast made Welles an "international sensation," and he will forever be remembered for this demonstration of the power of the media. (2)

“All unwittingly, Mr. Orson Welles and the Mercury Theater of the Air have made one of the most fascinating and important demonstrations of all time. They have proved that a few effective voices, accompanied by sound effects, can convince masses of people of a totally unreasonable, completely fantastic proposition as to create a nation-wide panic.”(1)

Dorothy Thompson: The New York Tribune.

Learn about the origins of the broadcast
Learn how the performers updated the War of the Worlds novel
Learn how the broadcast unfolded
Learn about the War of the Worlds panic
The New York Times front page the day after the broadcast