The War of the Worlds Broadcast

We Interupt This Program. . .

Breaking News (image from

Orson Welles and the Mercury Theater used a convincing format to present The War of The Worlds to radio listeners. They used breaking “news bulletins” that seemed as if they were interrupting regular programming. This was a common feature of radio at the time, and listeners were accustomed to receiving news reports in that way.(7)

Even though Welles announced four different times during the program that the broadcast was a fake, many listeners tuned into the program at inopportune moments and missed the disclaimers.(7)

Learn about the role of radio in the 1930s
Learn about mass hysteria
Learn about the performers' use of real names and places
breaking news
Learn about the war anxiety of Americans at the time of the broadcast