immediately called up the Maplewood police and asked if there was
anything wrong. They answered, "We know as much as you do.
Keep your radio tuned in and follow the announcer's advice. There
is no immediate danger in Maplewood." Naturally after that
I was more scared than ever.
Halloween Boo sure had our family on its knees before the program
was half over. God knows but we prayed to Him last Sunday. It was
a lesson in more than one thing to us. My mother went out and looked
for Mars. Dad was hard to convince or skeptical or sumpin', but
he even got to believing it
.. Aunt Grace, a good Catholic,
began to pray with Uncle Henry. Lily got sick to her stomach. I
don't know what I did exactly, but I know I prayed harder and more
earnestly than ever before. Just as soon as were convinced that
this thing was real, how pretty all things on Earth seemed; how
soon we put our trust in God.
are we gong to go? What can we do? What difference does it make
whether we get killed now or later? My two girl friends and I were
crying and holding each other and everything seemed so unimportant
in face of death. We felt it was terrible we should die so young.
after it was all over, and I started to think of that ride, I was
more jittery than when it was happening. The speed was never under
70. The gas was supposed to be spreading up north. I didn't have
any idea what I was fleeing from, and that made me all the more
wife and I were driving through the redwood forest when the broadcast
came over our car radio. At first it was just New Jersey, but soon
the things were landing all over, eve in California. There was no
escape. All we could think of was to try to get back to L.A to see
our children once more and be with them when it happened. We went
right by gas stations, but I forgot we were low in gas. In the middle
of the forest, our gas ran out. There was nothing to do. We just
sat there holding hands expecting any minute to see those Martian
monsters appear over the tops of the trees. When Orson said it was
a Halloween prank, it was like being reprieved on the way to the
girls in the sorority houses and dormitories huddled around their
radios trembling and weeping in each other's arms. They separated
themselves from their friends only to take their turn at the telephones
to make long distance calls to their parents, saying good-bye for
what they thought might be the last time. This horror was shared
by older and more experienced peopleinstructors and supervisors
in the university. Terror stricken girls, hoping to escape from
the mars invaders rushed to the basement of the dormitory. A fraternity
boy, frantic with fear, threw off dormitory regulations when he
sought out this girlfriend and started for home. Another boy rushed
into the street to warn other town of the invasion.
bible says that the first time the end of the world was by flood
and the next time I t will be by fire, and that went through my
tuned in to another station and heard some church music,. I was
sure a lot of people were worshiping God while waiting for their
believed the broadcast as soon as I heard the professor from Princeton
and the officials in Washington. I knew it was an awfully dangerous
situation when all those military men were there and the secretary
of state spoke.
If so many of those astronomers saw the explosions, they must have
been real. They ought to know. I was most inclined to believe the
broadcast when they mentioned places like South Street and the Pulaski
looked out of the window and everything looked the same as usual,
so I thought it hadn't reached our section yet.
should have announced that it was a play. We listened to the whole
thing and they never did. I was very much afraid. When it was over,
we ran to the doctor's to see if he could help us get away. Everybody
was out in the street, and somebody told my husband it was just
a play. We always listen to Orson Welles, but we didn't imagine
this was it. If we hadn't found out it was a play almost as soon
as it was over, I don't know what we'd have done. (The
radio station announced it was a play several times)
only thought involving myself as a person in connection was it was
a delight that if it spread to Selton I would not have to pay the
broadcast had us all worried, but I knew it would at least scare
ten years' life out of my mother-in-law.
My girlfriend pointed out to me that I had passed a couple of red
lights, and I answered, "What's the difference? If I get a
ticket, it will only be burned anyway."
was a thrill of a lifetime
to hear something like that and
think it's real. I knew it was the Germans trying to gas all of
us. When the announcer kept calling them people from Mars, I just
thought he was ignorant and didn't know yet that Hitler had sent
looked out of my window and saw a greenisheerie light
which I was sure came from a monster. Later on it proved to be the
lights in the maid's car.
announcer said a meteor had fallen from Mars, and I was sure he
thought that, but in the back of my head I had the idea that the
meteor was just a camouflage. It was really an airplane like a Zeppelin
that looked like a meteor, and the Germans were attacking us with
gas bombs. The airplane was built to look like a meteor just to
The Jews are being treated so terrible in some parts of the world,
I was sure something had come to destroy them in this country.
knew it was something terrible and I was frightened. But I didn't
know just what it was. I couldn't make myself believe it was the
end of the world. I've always heard that when the world would come
to an end, it would come soe fast nobody would knowso
wy should God get in touch with this announcer? When they told us
what road to take and get up over the hills and the children began
to cry, the family decided to go out. We took our blankets and my
granddaughter wanted to take the cat and the canary. We were outside
the garage when the neighbor's boy came back and told us it was
just a play. (This whole scene can be seen
recreated in The
Night That America Panicked a 1975 made for TV movie. The film
is available on VHS if you look hard enough!).
I felt it might be the Japanesethey are so crafty.
Koch the playwright:
Catching ominous snatches of conversation with words like "invasion"
and "panic," I jumped to the conclusion that Hitler had
invaded some new territory and that the war wee all dreaded had
finally broken out. When I anxiously questioned the barber, he broke
into a broad grin, "Haven't you heard?" and he held up
the front page of a morning newspaper with the headline Nation in
Panic from Martian Broadcast."
Letter to Orson Welles:
those things landed, I thought the best thing to do was go away,
so I took 3.25 out of my savings and bought a ticket. After I had
gone sixty miles I heard it was a play. Now I don't have any money
left for the shoes I was saving up for. Would you please have someone
send me a pair of black shoes, size 9-B. (Orson
sent the man a pair of shoes despite his lawyer's advice not to)
From Welles's friend and drama critic for the NYT:
This only goes to prove my beamish boy, the intelligent people
were listening to the dummy and that all the dummies were listening
("The dummy" was a talking puppet
named Charlie McCarthy, which was on the popular competing radio
first I was very interested in the fall of the meteor. It isn't
often that they find a big one just when it falls. But when it started
to unscrew and monsters came out, I said to myself, 'They've taken
one of those Amazing Stories and are acting it out.'
all sounded perfectly real until people began hopping around too
when people moved 20 miles in a couple of minutes I put
my tongue in my cheek and figured it was just about the smartest
play I'd ever heard
wanted to take the car and get out to be safe. Just then a friend
of mine came in, she knew the voice of Welles.
I heard the announcer say he was broadcasting from New York and
he saw a Martian standing in the middle of Times Square and he was
tall and as a skyscraper. That's all I had to hearjust
the word Martian was enough
I knew it had to be a play.
I kept translating the unbelievable pats into something I could
believe until finally I reached the breathtaking point-I mean
my mind just couldn't twist things anymore
I tuned in and heard that a meteor had fallen. Then when they talked
about monsters, I thought something was the matter. So I looked
in the newspaper to see what program was supposed to be on and discovered
it was only a play.