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War Of The Worlds (1938 Mercury Theatre Of The Air Radio Broadcast) [Cast Recording]

Mercury Theatre On The Air, Orson WellesAudio CD
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)


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Product Details

  • Audio CD (July 11, 2000)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Cast Recording
  • Label: Radio Spirits
  • ASIN: B00002R145
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #124,470 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
34 of 34 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating! August 2, 2000
Format:Audio CD
I bought this CD because I was intrigued by the fact that the broadcast had created such a scare. Welles wasn't trying to convince people that Martians had actually invaded, and in fact it never occurred to him that people would believe it, but he unwittingly became the perpetrator of one of the most effective hoaxes in history.
It's easy to see why people got so excited that night. Welles' drama was utterly convincing, well written, and wonderfully performed by the Mercury Theatre Players. If I was around in '30 I'd have been holed up in the basement just waiting for one of those monsters to come suck my brain out.
What really impressed me, though, was the quality of the recording. I had expectedt it to be scratchy, hard to hear, maybe parts missing, whatever, but playing this CD, it sounds exactly like listening to the radio. It's a high quality recording, and it has been wonderfully preserved over the past 70 years.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
Format:Audio CD
Uncut and complete. This one-hour audio CD of the Mercury Theatre On The Air live adaptation of The War Of The Worlds is crystal-clear. Just as you would have heard it if you lived around the corner with a good radio. The sound effects, made live as Orson Welles and the cast read live from the script, are absolutly titilating and eerie. Would you believe one of the sound effects is actually an empty mayonaise jar being opened slowly in the toilet? True! Why is this radio broadcast so famous? Well, remember there was no television then. It had not been invented for the public yet. American families listened to radio. People who dialed in to this program late or just plain were not paying close attention thought it was real. Times were sensitive then, so many thought it was the beginning of war or Martians were actually landing on earth or a UFO was destroying a city. On October 30, 1938, this live program caused mass hysteria all over America. People got scared. But for those smart people that recognized the voice of Orson Welles knew this was just another Mercury Theatre radio play on station CBS. If you ever get the chance to see the tv-movie THE NIGHT THAT PANICKED AMERICA, I highly recommend it. This film dramatizes the radio broadcast and what people were doing in thier homes at the time of this broadcast. It also shows what happened behind-the-scenes of the live broadcast at the CBS radio station.
Then, of course, there is the motion picture THE WAR OF THE WORLDS (1953), which is a film version of the CBS Mercury Theatre On The Air script, by Howard Koch, Paul Stewart and John Houseman, originally written by H.G. Wells. Orson Welles was in the classic film Citizen Kane (1941) three years later.
In 2005, three new film versions were released.
Read more ›
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Unsurpassed April 4, 2000
Format:Audio CD
I really don`t know where to begin, I`ve always had a fascination for 50`s sci-fi. When I first bought this cd I didn`t really listen to it just threw it in the player for halloween effect. Some time later I dimmed the lights and imagined myself sitting by the radio some 40 years ago. The first thing to strike me was the realism of the interviews and the sound effects. Considering that Mr. Welles was limited to only his imagination and some assorted household items, i.e. the opening martian cylinder was simply a mason jar being unscrewed inside a toliet bowl, it`s no wonder folks went mad and stormed the streets in search of the mythical invaders from Mars. Although I`ve never claimed to be very well educated it is safe to say that the purchasing of this cd would make every collection complete.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Exceeds every expectation.. March 26, 2003
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
Its 65 years old..the sound is that of a 65 year old radio broadcast..yet it is spellbinding! I bought this to help my son in his study of the book..to visualize the impact of what was narrated as events 'in the later years of the nineteenth century' (though this setting is in the 1930s New York.NJ area..) and was utterly astounded to find a 6th grade boy listening to it every night for days..this treatement (and Orson Welles voice..) is gripping and worthy of asmuch accolade as a classic as the original book.
(As an aside, I was moved to consider what impact re-broadcasting this as a modern version of this treatment would have in these troubled times. I quickly dismissed this idea as wholly irresponsible - it would cause widespread mayhem and chaos - just as it did on the eve of WW2. Imagine...)
The result of my son's study was his "book review" assignment presented in class as a video broadcast (we shot some of it on wasteland in the Bronx!) that took the stance of a news reporter witnessing heavily armored machines racing across the countryside wreaking havoc as they went..successful beyond his anticipation..as the tanks rolled into Iraq. As I said. Imagine.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Stuff-Especially for Halloween! October 1, 2002
Format:Audio CD
This is GREAT STUFF! Old time radio at it's best! Orson Wells opening monologue is appropriately creepy. The core part of the broadcast, the martians' landing at Grover's Mill, is wonderfully handled and has a nice "you are there" feel to it. The final segment, of Orson Wells (I think) journey of wandering through a post-apocalyptic New York is an amazing predecessor for what would become a sci-fi staple in the Atomic age. For best effects, play this in a dark room with some friends-preferrably on halloween night. I attended a similar "theme party" based around this and it was quite a success.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Hear for yourself the most famous radio broadcast of all time
It is, of course, the most famous radio program of all time; I daresay many members of future generations would have no idea that their ancestors actually sat around a radio once... Read more
Published on December 23, 2005 by Daniel Jolley
4.0 out of 5 stars Complete, but lacking
This recording retains the whole broadcast, but the sound quality is certainly lacking in this recording. The higher end treble is gone due to noise suppression. Read more
Published on March 11, 2004
5.0 out of 5 stars 5000 STARS
This is my ALL TIME favorite old time radio program. I also love all the other Mercury Theater on The Air programs. Read more
Published on May 27, 2002 by James J. Varela
5.0 out of 5 stars War Of the Worlds 1938 Mercury Theatre On the Air Broadcast
I already have a copy of this purchased years ago, but
wanted this one as a prize in a Halloween contest since the
price here was so good. Read more
Published on October 18, 2001 by "phili1twenty1"
5.0 out of 5 stars War of the Worlds
I had the cassette about 22 or more years ago and it had excellant music and the story line followed the book quite well. I have no idea who narrates it or even who does the music. Read more
Published on March 16, 2001 by "digitallights"
5.0 out of 5 stars This guy got people thinking that Mars had invaded US!
This is the (in)famous broadcast that got Americans to belive that Mars had invaded the US! This guy need a Nobel prize on hoaxes or drama!Amazing! Read more
Published on March 18, 2000 by Kendal B. Hunter
5.0 out of 5 stars Still scary after all these years
This (in)famous radio play is beautifully acted and produced, and even now, after all the advances in what might be called fright technology, remains creepy. Read more
Published on January 3, 2000 by Casey R. Law
5.0 out of 5 stars Every true culture-loving American should hear this.
Orson Welles is the master of storytelling. He took Poe to another level. It's masterful, witty, and truly original. Read more
Published on October 26, 1999
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