31 October 2009

The Greatest Halloween Trick Ever Played

Posted by Dan Satterfield

On October 30th 1938 Orson Welles and his Mercury Theatre on the air convinced several million Americans that we were being invaded by creatures from Mars.

He was told by the bosses at CBS, dealing with the panic he caused, to tell the audience at the end of the program that it was only a joke. His off the cuff “apology” is a classic. It still has valuable advice 71 years later on this last day of October…

OrsonWellesRadioCBS Radio October 30, 1938- Orson Welles:

Starting now, we couldn’t soap all your windows and still all your garden gates by tomorrow night, so we did the next best thing. We annihilated the world before your very ears ,and utterly destroyed the CBS.

You’ll be relieved (I hope) to know that we didn’t mean it, and both institutions are still open for business.

So good night everybody and remember for the next few days the terrible lesson you leanred tonight.

That grinning, glowing globular invader of your living room is an inhabitant of the pumpkin patch, and if your doorbell rings and no-body’s there….

That was no Martian!


You can hear a recording of the above as it was broadcast here:

Orson Says Sorry (mp3)