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The War of the Worlds (Original 1938 Radio…
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The War of the Worlds (Original 1938 Radio Adaptaion) (1940)

by Howard Koch (Adaptor)

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Incredible. Orson Welles and his Mercury Theatre crew really took advantage of the radio format to create a totally unique adaptation---much better than the rest of their series of radio broadcasts leading up to this, which are very good but fairly typical of the radio dramas of the time. I still can't believe that was Ray Collins as farmer Wilmuth (among other roles)! Frank Readick is great, too. (And again, Bernard Herrmann did the music for this show.) ( )
  AshRyan | Dec 18, 2011 |
Incredible. Orson Welles and his Mercury Theatre crew really took advantage of the radio format to create a totally unique adaptation---much better than the rest of their series of radio broadcasts leading up to this, which are very good but fairly typical of the radio dramas of the time. I still can't believe that was Ray Collins as farmer Wilmuth (among other roles)! Frank Readick is great, too. (And again, Bernard Herrmann did the music for this show.) ( )
  AshRyan | Dec 18, 2011 |
There is of course only one science fiction audio play that anyone has ever heard of, and that is Orson Welles' 1938 adaptation of H.G. Wells' The War of the Worlds. I was delighted to find it downloadable from here. Anyone with the slightest interest in Wells, Welles or audio sf plays needs to hear it. It is only loosely based on the original novel; the brilliant introduction is retained, but then we are into light music interrupted by increasingly desperate news bulletins and horrible events, culminating with Times Square and the rest of New York succumbing to poison gas. That takes us to the 40-minute mark, at which point we are reminded that this is a work of fiction; and then the last third is essentially a post-holocaust survival story, Welles' Martians having been much more thorough in their devastation than Wells' originals. And at the very end, Welles himself steps out of character to remind everyone that it is Halloween. The discerning listener will have had no difficulty working out that it was fictional even if they tuned in after the first two minutes, but of course not every listener has the time to be discerning; my own adopted country was convulsed for days after a deliberate media hoax three years ago, so I can believe both that there was a significant public reaction to Welles' broadcast, and also that it makes an even better story if exaggerated. Anyway, it's essential material for any sf enthusiast. ( )
1 vote nwhyte | Oct 15, 2009 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Koch, HowardAdaptorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Welles, Orsonsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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This is the radio dramatisation by Howard Koch, directed by Orson Welles. It should not be combined with the script or with the remake directed by John de Lancie. It also should not be combined with the book by H. G. Wells or with any other adaptation of it.
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A fictional account of a Martian invasion of earth. The script, Invasion from Mars, was written by Howard Koch and was based on the novella by H.G. Wells.

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