Orson Welles causes a nationwide panic with his broadcast of “War of the Worlds”–a realistic radio dramatization of a Martian invasion of Earth.
Orson Welles was only 23 years old when his Mercury Theater company decided to update H.G. Wells’ 19th-century science fiction novel War of the Worlds for national radio. Despite his age, Welles had been in radio for several years, most notably as the voice of “The Shadow” in the hit mystery program of the same name. “War of the Worlds” was notplanned as a radio hoax, and Welles had little idea of the havoc it
The show began on Sunday, October 30, at 8 p.m. A voice announced: “The Columbia Broadcasting System and its affiliated stations present Orson Welles and the Mercury Theater on the air in ‘War of the Worlds’by H.G. Wells.”
Sunday evening in 1938 was prime-time in the golden age of radio, and millions of Americans had their radios turned on. But most of these Americans were listening to ventriloquist Edgar Bergen and his dummy “Charlie McCarthy” on NBC and only turned to CBS at 8:12 p.m. after the comedy sketch ended and a little-known singer went on. By then,the story of the Martian invasion was well underway.
Welles introduced his radio play with a spoken introduction, followed by an announcer reading a weather report. Then, seemingly abandoning the storyline, the announcer took listeners to “the Meridian Room in the Hotel Park Plaza in downtown New York, where you will be entertained by the music of Ramon Raquello and his orchestra.” Putrid dance music played for some time, and then the scare began. An announcer broke in to report that “Professor Farrell of the Mount Jenning Observatory” had detected explosions on the planet Mars. Then the dance music came back on, followed by another interruption in which listeners were informed that a large meteor had crashed into a farmer’s field in Grovers Mills, New Jersey.
Soon, an announcer was at the crash site describing a Martian emerging from a large metallic cylinder. “Good heavens,” he declared, “something’s wriggling out of the shadow like a gray snake. Now here’s another and another one and another one. They look like tentacles to me … I can see the thing’s body now. It’s large, large as a bear. It
glistens like wet leather. But that face, it …it … ladies and gentlemen, it’s indescribable. I can hardly force myself to keep looking at it, it’s so awful. The eyes are black and gleam like a serpent. The mouth is kind of V-shaped with saliva dripping from its
rimless lips that seem to quiver and pulsate.”
The Martians mounted walking war machines and fired “heat-ray” weapons at the puny humans gathered around the crash site. They annihilated a force of 7,000 National Guardsman, and after being attacked by artillery and bombers the Martians released a poisonous gas into the air. Soon “Martian cylinders” landed in Chicago and St. Louis. The radio play was extremely realistic, with Welles employing sophisticated sound effects and his actors doing an excellent job portraying terrified announcers and other characters. An announcer reported that widespread panic had broken out in the vicinity of the landing sites, with thousands desperately trying to flee. In fact,
that was not far from the truth.
Perhaps as many as a million radio listeners believed that a real Martian invasion was underway. Panic broke out across the country. In New Jersey, terrified civilians jammed highways seeking to escape the alien marauders. People begged police for gas masks to save them from the toxic gas and asked electric companies to turn off the power so
that the Martians wouldn’t see their lights. One woman ran into an Indianapolis church where evening services were being held and yelled, “New York has been destroyed! It’s the end of the world! Go home and prepare to die!”
When news of the real-life panic leaked into the CBS studio, Welles went on the air as himself to remind listeners that it was just fiction. There were rumors that the show caused suicides, but none were ever confirmed.
The Federal Communications Commission investigated the program but found no law was broken. Networks did agree to be more cautious in their programming in the future. Orson Welles feared that the controversy generated by “War of the Worlds” would ruin his career. In fact, the publicity helped land him a contract with a Hollywood studio, and in 1941 he directed, wrote, produced, and starred in Citizen Kane–a movie that many have called the greatest American film
Click on the picture to listen.
Imagine you are in a small craft, floatng in total, inky darkness, two miles beneath the surface of the ocean. Suddenly, a long string of glowing lanterns, dripping with tentacles, comes into view. It looks like a moving curtain of lights. A saucer-shaped object with rows of blinking jewels floats by. Then, a creature with huge pearly eyes, wicked teeth and headlights stares back at you. Is that an octopus with elephant ears over there? These are just a few of the wonders you will find in the deep ocean, or abyss (a-biss). “Many of these creatures are so rare that they have been seen and photographed only once,”
Every year, more and more of these bizarre creatures are discovered. Last week, an expedition returned from the Celebes Sea near the Philippines. The scientists reported that they had used an underwater camera to search for new species and collected 100 different specimens. According to Larry Madin of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, in Massachusetts, one of their strangest finds was a jet-black jelly.
A World of Total DarknessOf all the places on the planet where life can be found, the largest habitat is the deep ocean. Scientists believe it may also be the most diverse, with even more kinds of living organisms than tropical rain forests have. This watery world has been in complete darkness for 2 billion years. Humans are just beginning to explore the marine frontier. There are better maps of the surface of Mars than of the seafloor. More people have stood on the moon than have reached the deepest point in the ocean.
Deepwater craft called submersibles are helping researchers explore the farthest depths of the seas. The earliest submersibles could move only straight up and down, like underwater elevators. But in the 1970s, scientists designed crafts that they could steer. Using submersibles, scientists can study the behavior of living animals in their environment, rather than just collecting specimens to look at on land.
Don’t Call Them Monsters!The creatures of the deep look like nothing seen anywhere else. These marvels are perfectly adapted to the harsh, strange world of the abyss, and to nowhere else. Since one of the key features of the deep is permanent darkness, animals create their own “living light.” The chemical process is called bioluminescence (bye-oh-loo-mih-ness-ens). Only a few land creatures, like fireflies and glowworms, have this ability.
To our eyes, many creatures of the deep look like monsters. The vampire squid, which seems to be armed with cactus-like spines, looks as scary as its name. This animal has not changed in 200 million years, and can survive in water that holds little oxygen. Other deep-sea creatures may look fierce, but are only an inch or two long!
What really rules the deep ocean are not monsters, but the creatures called jellies. They are one of the earliest forms of life. Some large jellies may live for decades. And don’t let their appearance fool you: Jellies are hunters, always on the prowl.
What Else is Down There?The exploration of the deep is just getting started. According to George Matsumoto of California’s Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute, the big question for scientists is: What else is down there?
“The deep is like a movie,” says Matsumoto. “It is full of players we can see but don’t know what they do, and even more players whom we have never seen but that have critical roles.” In this movie, all the players are ready for their close-ups.
It may seem rather strange to some people to have a day for dead people. It isn’t strange at all to people of Hispanic heritage. You should know that this celebration started hundreds of years ago with the Aztecs. They devoted a whole month to the “Lady of the Dead.” It took place during what is now the last half of July and the first half of August. It was a time when they remembered the children who had died.
2 When Spanish priests came to Mexico, they tried to make changes in this celebration. The first thing they did was to cut the ritual down to two days. They tried to move the days to the same time as All Hallows Eve. You might recognize this day as Halloween. The Mexican natives weren’t too thrilled about turning their celebration into a Catholic celebration. A compromise was reached and Dia de los Muertos, the Day of the Dead, is now celebrated on the first two days of November.
3 The celebration has combined a bit of the early traditions with some of the Christian features the priests were teaching. Mexicans do not treat this day as a sad day. They use it as a way to celebrate the lives of those who have left them.
4 There are generally two kinds of celebrations held. One day may be spent at the cemetery where their loved one is buried. Picnic lunches are packed. The family sets to work cleaning up the gravesites of their relatives. They socialize with other family members and members of the community. They tell stories about the departed family member. They spread their picnic lunches out over the ground. Meat dishes with spicy sauces and chocolate beverages are a special favorite. Best of all are the cookies. These cookies are shaped like bones and skulls. They are decorated in bright colored icing. There is a special bread called pan de muerto. The gravesite is then decorated with large, bright flowers. Gifts to show how he or she is missed are left. Religious tokens and food are common gifts. Everyone has a good time. It is felt that this is a good way to recognize the natural cycle of life and death.
5 A celebration is also held in the home. The spirits of departed family and friends are invited to attend. Family members decorate an altar which represents the departed member. Personal items which belonged to the dead person, photographs of the person, and clothing that belonged to the person are displayed. Flowers and food are displayed. The family hopes that what they put out will tempt the souls of the dead to return and celebrate with them.
6 Traditionally, the first day of November is used to remember the children who have died. The second day is used for remembering adults.
7 Today it seems that this celebration has been simplified in the larger cities. The smaller towns tend to have more of a full celebration. Bakeries in southern Mexico stop producing their regular baked goods to produce a special rounded loaf of bread. Inside the bread is a plastic skeleton. It is good luck to find the skeleton in your piece of bread. Cookies shaped like skeletons are a treat all children enjoy.
8 In the larger cities, Day of the Dead has become just another holiday on which to enjoy good food and parties. The smaller communities have held on to the religious traditions of the days. The Day of the Dead is a time for joy. It is a time to remember the good times those once living enjoyed.
Blog about what you have learned about the day of the Dead.
You have 4 choices of what you can do during the Tech Period
1. Blog a scary story for the Halloween Story contest.
2. Blog a piece about Mick Foley’s visit.
3. Practice math on AAA Math.
4. Practice math on Cyberchase.
Today we had Professional Wrestler Mick Foley visit our school. He came to your classrooms and you spoke with him. Did you enjoy his visit? Are you a wrestling Fan? Who is your Favorite Wrestler? Tell me about his visit to your Classroom. You Can also thank him for coming and I will forward the link to our blog to him.
This article appeared in the Press on Columbus Day
NEW YORK – They were co-pilots when Christopher Columbus sailed to the Americas in 1492, but unlike Columbus, they are not celebrated with a national holiday in the United States – at least not yet.
Two descendants of the brothers Martin and Vicente Pinzon say it is about time the pilots of the Nina and the Pinta -two of the three ships that were part of Columbus’ expedition – got equal recognition with Columbus. So why not celebrate Pinzon Day?
“I’d like to get the name recognized,” Bob Pinzon, 54, a descendant of the navigators, said Monday. “I think Columbus got too much credit.”
The Pinzons were brothers from a family of Spanish shipowners who sailed with Columbus, who was on the Santa Maria, on his first voyage.
But while Columbus is remembered for informing Spain of his discovery of the New World, Martin Pinzon, the pilot of the Pinta, is known for breaking away from the expedition near Cuba to search for gold and spices.
He tried to beat Columbus back to Spain to gain recognition for finding the New World but arrived too late.
His brother, Vicente, piloted the Nina, and remained with Columbus throughout the expedition.
So what do you think should Martin Pinzon have his own day
Here is the first of our Columbus Podcasts. This one features Melvin, Howard and Lexus.
Click on the picture to listen.
Listen to the Story Me and My Cat on Storyonline
Tell what he could do as a boy that he could not do as a cat.