The War of the Worlds Broadcast

Telling the Story

The Mercury Theater Performers (image from

Orson Welles and writer Howard Kotch updated The War of the Worlds story by moving the setting to modern day America.(2) They randomly chose Grovers Mill New Jersey as the site for the initial invasion.

The performers decided to tell the story through a series of fake news bulletins. These announcements were to seemingly “interrupt” a regularly scheduled broadcast to dispatch information about an alien attack.(2)

Welles would make four announcements during the broadcast to inform the audience that the program was just a dramatization and should be considered a “friendly joke.”(2)

The production group has since admitted that the performers had "very little respect for the script." They considered it “hokey” and “silly” and debated about whether they should even air the project.(2)

Learn about the origins of the broadcast
Learn how the performers updated the War of the Worlds novel
Martian attack
Learn about the War of the Worlds panic
Learn about the aftermath of the broadcast