Friday Fun: H.G. Wells and Orson Welles

In 1940, both H.G. Wells and the man he referred to as his “little namesake” Orson Welles were interviewed together on KTSA radio. Orson Welles was, at the time, 25 years old and had begun making Citizen Kane. They spoke about the panic caused by Welles’ 1938 radio broadcast of Wells’ The War of the Worlds.

When Welles first broadcast the radio drama, thousands of Americans raised such a fuss that (as Orson Welles mentions) Adolf Hitler himself mentioned it in “the great Munich speech” and that the panic, in Welles words “was supposed to show the corrupt condition and decadent state of affairs in democracies that The War of the Worlds went over as well as it did.”

When I broadcast the same program in 2000 on my college radio station, I received one call from a man who wanted to know why he couldn’t listen to the baseball game.


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