Last night as I went to bed, I switched on the radio (as was the style at the time — the belt onion had already been discarded), and was pleasantly surprised to hear the last thirty minutes of the famous Mercury Theater on the Air’s War of the Worlds broadcast from 1938. Nice work, Mondoville College radio!
If you want to get into the spirit 75 years later, the broadcast may be heard here. However, so that I don’t get my virtual windows soaped, I’ll throw in another treat. Back in the very early days of the blog, I mentioned that I trace at least some of my fascination with literature to encountering Archibald MacLeish’s radio play “The Fall of the City” when I was six. A few years ago, I discovered that the original broadcast of the play had been preserved, and listened to it for the first time. It was considerably creepier than I expected, and I passed it along to a few of my friends. MacLeish later commented,
“The conqueror is not the central figure. It’s the people, crowding around and approaching him…It’s a play about the way people lose their freedom. It’s not a play about the Fascist master.”
These days that seems, well, scarily appropriate. But listen for yourself, and may you have a happy and safe Halloween.