The War Of The Worlds Broadcast In 1938 And Its Impact On Public
Space is one of the most fascinating unknowns in our natural world. While many may not consider this an unknown, the vastness of space will never be fully uncovered due to it being never-ending. It goes on and on and we only have a mere theory describing its existence, our existence, and everything’s existence. As vast as space may be, and as miniscule as that makes us, I think we will always strive to expand our knowledge about the voidness because as little as it makes us seem, we are all a part of something greater.
I think one way we will continue to view space is as an endless supply of opportunity. There is the undying hope for something more out there, a sort of a “back up” plan just in case our world ever comes to its end. It could mean cures for new diseases, different types of technologies created by different forms of life- people just like us. It’s hard to say that there is nothing else out there- the probabilities are just too low. Evidence of the idea of humans wanting space involvement started back in the 1940s. Over years and years of our world’s history, we thought about space – giving it religious meaning, political meaning, scientific meaning. Besides just exploring space, the idea of extraterrestrial life came about- of aliens and spacecrafts and antimatter among other things. You could think about little green creatures or people just like us. Nevertheless, America started becoming convinced of this. One major event that occurred in 1938 was the War of the Worlds broadcast. This infamous event really showed how much hysteria there really was around this time period- not because of the response to the broadcast, but because of why the broadcast was done anyways. The one-hour program started with the Mercury Theater on the Air theme music and an announcement that the show of the evening was an adaptation of The War of the Worlds (the book by H.G. Wells), then broadcaster Orson Welles read a prolog based closely on H.G’s opening. The next hour contained a series of news bulletins presented as a typical radio programming evening being interrupted. There is a dance music program and then it is interrupted by an unrelated report of an unusual object in Grover’s Mill, New Jersey, falling on a farm. After a while, another break is stopped by a live report from Grover’s Mill, where police authorities and a horde of inquisitive spectators have surrounded the abnormal round thing which apparently has tumbled from the sky.
The situation rapidly heightens when “Martians” rise up out of the chamber and assault, suddenly there are yells coming from terrified people at the scene. This is followed by a fast arrangement of progressively disturbing news updates enumerating an outsider attack occurring- and the endeavors of the U.S. military to stop it. The main segment of the show peaks with another live report depicting Martian war machines discharging loads of noxious smoke over New York City. During the second half of the show, the continuous Martian control of Earth was dramaticized as they interviewed locals and such. As in the first novel by HG Wells, the story closes with the revelation that the Martians have been defeated by microbes as opposed to by people. There was not much hysteria surrounding this broadcast that showed that people had actually believed this event occurred, in fact many of the locals interviewed after the broadcast said they either did not know that happened or were skeptical of it happening due to no events occurring outside when they looked. I think that had this broadcast been much more planned out- and occured in a place where not many people could observe and they had not stated that this was a drama, immense amounts of hysteria would have occured. This is not an event in American history for no reason, the reason this broadcast was even created was to get attention from the public. They knew that the idea of space was such a new and exciting thing in people’s lives that they knew that any event around that would spread. I think this really shows the beginning of our interest in space and what eventually contributed to our jump into space exploration.
All in all, our interest in space has been getting stronger and stronger, leading to more and more advancements in our progression of space exploration. As humans, we will continue to strive for more because the idea of space itself creates and opens so many possibilities. In every field of science, we are always thinking, always improving, always trying to better our lives and the lives of future generations. We want to ensure survival, but also want to discover the undiscovered within our lifetimes. From Russia sending the Sputnik 2 up into space in 1957, to the first man on the moon, to the ongoing research we continue to do about Space, we are sure to uncover a world of new advancements. Space is one of those things that will always have people bewildered and confused. There are very few explanations to what goes on up there and why it goes on- and frankly, if it even does go on. We want to believe in better and we want to continue to advance towards this to answer all those unanswered questions out there. So, if I were asked to think about what space means to me, I do not think I could put that in words. Or well- I tried to, but it still does not encompass the great deal of thought that goes into this neverending vastness.
- Wells, H.G. “The War of the Worlds.” Gutenberg, Project Gutenberg, www.gutenberg.org/files/36/36-h/36-h.htm.
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