Monday, October 26, 2015

Pop Culture (part 2) - Halloween Martian Invasion

wikipedia/War of the Worlds

Eve of Halloween: October 30, 1938 

Now that was a night my mother remembered.  As a young teenager listening to the radio, she heard the breaking news:

Martians invaded Earth ... and they landed in New Jersey!

She was scared, captivated by the Orson Welles broadcast based on the H.G. Wells science fiction novel - The War of the Worlds.   Though disclaimers were given that this was only fiction, many in the audience missed it, and panic ensued. [reference: 1938 Welles scares the nation ]

An abridged audio of that broadcast is here below -

The generation that first heard this broadcast knew something about troubling times. In 1938, they had lived through most of the Great Depression, many remembering the Great War and hearing the rumblings of more wars to come.

From Wars of the Worlds to World Wars

Ironically, H. G. Welles wrote The War of the Worlds  in 1898, sixteen years before World War I (1914 - 1918). And Orson Welles broadcast the radio version within a year of World War II (1939 - 1945). Both these World Wars surpassed the horror of science fiction.

Often society, science, and tech imitate art...

From book to radio to the big screen

The SciFi novel jumped from radio to the movies: The War of the Worlds (1953). And its remake in 2005 is shown in its trailer below:

And there have been countless stories about life on Mars and their invasions of Earth.  Now, it's our turn, for real, as science and tech continue to follow SciFi.

Earthlings invade Mars

Humans via their robots have invaded Mars from 1976 with Viking 1 to the 21 century's  Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) and Mars Curiosity Rover.  Their findings are still in the news:

As we plan to colonize Mars, more SciFi hit the big screen as The Martian (2015), still in theaters:

So our fascination with Mars continues in Pop Culture as science and tech follows SciFi.

The Classic Halloween Scary Story?

This October 31st, treat yourself to the original  radio broadcast. For the full broadcast (its an hour long), see below:

 And that one Halloween almost 80 years ago, 
 Orson Welles said 
to the entire nation.


Previous Post in the series:

Pop Culture (part 1) - Only Time and 9/11 (2015)


Photo: wikipedia/War of the Worlds

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