On this day in 1938, a young actor and future filmmaking icon caused a media frenzy with the radio broadcast of “The War of the Worlds.” A 23-year-old Orson Welles and his Mercury Theatre co-stars performed a theatrical reading of the classic H. G. Wells story of Martian invasion so convincingly that many people who missed the introduction, believed it was a factual newscast. Although reports of “widespread panic” may have been exaggerated, Welles allowed that rumor to become part of his personal myth.
TODAY’S TRIVIA QUESTION
The original script for “The War of the Worlds,” complete with handwritten notes by Orson Welles, was sold at auction at Sotheby’s in 1988. How much did it fetch?
CLIP OF THE DAY
Enjoy this trailer for a PBS special about “The Panic Broadcast,” as it became known.
DID YOU KNOW…
Welles’ own director’s copy of the script went to auction in 1994 at Christie’s. The successful bidder, who paid $32,200, was Steven Spielberg.
d) Expecting between $25,000 and $35,000, the original script sold for a whopping $143,000.