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Mars Attacked, 65 Years Ago Today 294

Jodrell writes "Forget solar flares, and the upcoming Halloween festivities - tonight marks the 65th anniversary of the broadcast of Orson Welles' radioplay version on The War Of The Worlds."
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Mars Attacked, 65 Years Ago Today

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  • Terrorists! (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 30, 2003 @06:39PM (#7352700)
    The Martian Government has determined that the people of Earth are harboring biological weapons. Prepare to be liberated.
    • by night_flyer ( 453866 ) on Thursday October 30, 2003 @06:48PM (#7352795) Homepage
      We'll hold 'em off with Slim Whitman!!!
      • Speaking of terrorists, does anyone remember the old early 90's tv show "War of the Worlds"? In it, the aliens (who had been resurrected from the '53 invasion) were using all sorts of terrorist attacks against humans in attempt to purge the earth of humanity.

        Among the things they tried:

        Starting a nuclear war between the U.S. and the Soviet Union with their own homemade weapons.

        Poisoning major sources of food with biological weapons.

        Brewing illegal drugs to turn addicts into their willing slaves.

        and so
        • That's some kinda shitty attempt to purge the earth of humanity.

          Alien #1: Hey, I thought of this great idea on how to DESTROY ALL HU-MANS!
          Alien #2: Yeah?
          Alien #1: Yeah! I know this Columbian guy from when I was in the joint, right, and...

          Brain the size of a planet and this is the best you come up with? No wonder you get smoked by fucking e-coli.
    • There was a story to this effect on Broadcasting House ( a few months ago. The Martians contended that the United States had weapons of mass destruction, was aiding terrorism, etc., and so they invaded. Turns out, their economy relied on methane gas as fuel, and in fact, the Martians were invading only to get control over American cows, or more precisely, one particular by-product. The story ended with a reporter pointing out, "It's well known that the United States is t
    • The Martian Government has determined that the people of Earth are harboring biological weapons. Prepare to be liberated.

      Please. There is no centralized "Martian" government, and please use the correct name, Barsoom. Everyone should remain calm. I have word from Captain Carter that everything is under control, and we have nothing to fear . . . except maybe from those *red* Barsoomians.

    • Man, I'm screwed, I've flu.... And now you are telling me I need to watch out becuase I might be on some martian terrorist watch list for harboring Biological Weapons? Can't a guy get a break?
  • Panic (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Carnildo ( 712617 ) on Thursday October 30, 2003 @06:39PM (#7352701) Homepage Journal
    I wonder what sort of panic would ensue if someone were to do a similar broadcast now?
    • You'd most likely be considered a terrorist.
    • I doubt it (Score:5, Insightful)

      by MonkeyCookie ( 657433 ) on Thursday October 30, 2003 @06:51PM (#7352829)
      I've heard parts of the original Orson Welles broadcast. With all the media we're exposed to, there is absolutely no way we'd be fooled by it today.

      Even with good editing and falsified television footage, I still doubt such a thing would fool us. We've seen way too many alien movies and such to be fooled. Something more believable and fear-inducing, such as falsified terrorist threats and terrorist attacks might do it.

      I would also point out that it would make it even more difficult to pull such a hoax now due to the fact that we have so many more media sources now. Back then there were only a few radio stations. Now we have the Internet, radio, television, etc. It would certainly look strange if one channel/station was covering it and everyone else seemed oblivious to it.
    • Re:Panic (Score:2, Funny)

      by frkiii ( 691845 )

      About the only effect that would have would be Democrats blaming Republicans for it, and Republicans blaming Democrats for it.

      And terrorists claiming it was God's way of punishing the infidels.




    • I wonder what sort of panic would ensue if someone were to do a similar broadcast now?

      If you broadcast it on FoxNews, I'm sure you'd catch quite a few people.

      As an Australian, I watch FoxNews for the comedy value.
      O'Reilly is much, much funnier than Letterman these days.
    • The BBC did a similar thing in 1992, but on TV. They broadcast a fake "live" documentary called Ghostwatch [], which was supposed to be an hour-long live show partially presented from "The most haunted house in Britain" (A very ordinary house in a housing estate), and partially from a studio with interviews and phone-ins, etc.

      The house was supposedly haunted by a ghost called "Pipes", so called because it rattled the pipes a lot, and the show starts off exactly the way you'd expect a live documentary about a

  • by r_glen ( 679664 ) on Thursday October 30, 2003 @06:39PM (#7352703)
    They could have just checked Snopes []
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 30, 2003 @06:43PM (#7352749)
    Just thinking about Mars Attacks makes War of the Worlds seem Utopian.
  • WOTW Audio (Score:5, Informative)

    by Pastor Fluff ( 555255 ) <pastor_fluff@so[ ] ['fth' in gap]> on Thursday October 30, 2003 @06:44PM (#7352756) Homepage
    You can get the audio for the show here []. Not the best fidelity, but still...
    • Not the best fidelity, but still...

      You were wanting CD-quality? Or maybe cassette quality?
    • of course it's not the best fidelity, it was done 65 years ago.
    • You can get the audio for the show here.

      Yeah, if you want to pay for the download.

      I wonder when the copyright ran out on this.
      • Erm, never. If you want audio that's fallen out of copyright, I think there are a few of those wax cylinder dealies around, but Mickey Mouse showed up a good bit before WOTW. This is a corporate work, so it's 95 years. If you can manage to kill all the lawyers in the country before 2033, maybe you'll be able to download it for free, but only if somebody can find an original recording.
      • Re:WOTW Audio (Score:3, Informative)

        by jerde ( 23294 )
        Yeah, if you want to pay for the download

        Huh? They have it for free, in both streaming [] or downloadable [] real audio.

        - Peter
        • Wow, thanks Peter. The server must have been busy the previous 7 times I tried to download.

          Now, after a painless 10 minute dowmload of RealPlayer (my mouse index finger is sore from clicking the "don't send me spam" button) I can now hear the file!

  • Did anyone else read the headline as we attacked Mars?

    Maybe if an updated modern-day equivalent reading (perhaps, special effects on the news) were to happen today, we could scare the current administration into launching a manned Mars mission ...even if only to get the Martian Terrorists.
  • by burgburgburg ( 574866 ) <> on Thursday October 30, 2003 @06:46PM (#7352772)
    "Laugh-a while you can, monkey boy!"

    John Bigboote points out:

    "It's not my goddamn planet, understand, monkey boy?"

    Where are we going?
    Planet 10!
    Real soon!

  • Listen to it here (Score:5, Interesting)

    by sdmartin101 ( 601186 ) on Thursday October 30, 2003 @06:46PM (#7352775)
    You can find an MP3 version of the original broadcast at []. (Be nice -- the server is slow even when not being slashdotted.)
  • by hendot ( 622445 ) on Thursday October 30, 2003 @06:47PM (#7352787)
    It reminds me of an april fools documentary which seemingly had evidence and proof that the moon landing was faked. It had all sorts of high profile people finally coming out and stating that it was faked. Even Buz Aldrin was in on it.
    The documentary gets sillier and sillier until in the final credits, the interviewees start asking to see the script again etc. etc. Had me going for a while too.
  • Well... (Score:5, Funny)

    by EverDense ( 575518 ) on Thursday October 30, 2003 @06:47PM (#7352788) Homepage
    Then isn't it about time for some payback?

    I am sick of living on a planet so full of peaace lovers.
  • YoYoDyne today? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by acroyear ( 5882 ) <> on Thursday October 30, 2003 @06:48PM (#7352796) Homepage Journal
    Speaking of said invasion, what has become of YoYoDyne Propulsion's assets, anyways. I'd be interested in seeing what company took advantage of the severe drop in their stock prices after Buckaroo Bonzai "visited" their HQ back in 1984...

    then again, it was probably Enron, which is why it still has no value today...stupid monkeyboys...
    • Re:YoYoDyne today? (Score:3, Informative)

      by Tumbleweed ( 3706 )
      Well, here's their whois entry, but I suspect the contact information is out of date:

      Yoyodyne Software Systems (YOYODYNE-DOM)
      19772 Rawhide Road
      Sonora, CA 95370-8002

      Domain Name: YOYODYNE.COM

      Administrative Contact:
      Bigboote, John (JSB)
      Yoyodyne Software Systems
      19772 Lizardo Road
      Sonora, CA 95370-8002
      (209) 532-6030 fax: (209) 532-0541
      Technical Contact:
      McMahon, John J (jm757) fuzzface@I
  • Seriously, with the widespread nature of the media, could you ever pull something off like that today and have so many people scared shitless
  • by badboy_tw2002 ( 524611 ) on Thursday October 30, 2003 @06:51PM (#7352825)
    From my grandfather, who worked at a gas station about 20 miles from the "landing site" He said of all the people that stopped at the station that night, half were leaving to get away from the aliens, and the other half were driving towards it!
  • by jeffy124 ( 453342 ) on Thursday October 30, 2003 @06:53PM (#7352846) Homepage Journal
    the farmer who took his rifle and fired shots at the town water tower, thinking it was a spacecraft.
  • Something like it happened in 1984. Excellent made for TV movie called Special Bulletin. Made up to look like a realtime broadcast of a nuclear terrorist incident. I remember people were alarmed when they saw it, despite the disclaimers and the fact that it took place in the fictional studios of the "RBS" network. Occasionally hokey, it was well written and acted, with a humdinger of an ending.
    • Was this where they detonated a bomb in Charlston SC?
      • Was this where they detonated a bomb in Charlston SC?

        Yes, that was the one. A fairly well-done treatment of domestic terrorism. The movie was liberally sprinkled with brief announcements that it was fictional, so anyone watching for more than about 15 minutes would have figured it out.

        • So, what was the one with metors coming in, and we knocked them out only to discover that they were alien craft... and ended with the earth being bombarded by metors?

          IIRC, the creator of that did several other "news story" movies made for TV. They were quite good (for a made for TV movie), and starred real news anchors.

          Evan "It's been bugging me all day".

  • ..quite like stories of the gulibility of your average person.

    It just makes me giddy.
    • Nothing makes me smile quite like stories of the gulibility of your average person.
      You must be a marketer or an executive. :)
    • Then you must find slashdot to be unbearable comedy, only to be taken in short doses lest you laugh yourself to death.

      From the hysterical rantings that a university doing genetic research on viruses is a black ops military program to conquer the world for American Imperialism(TM) to the wholesale shouting that there never were WMD in Iraq, slashdot is home to some of the most gullible people on the planet.

      The nice thing about positive karma is you can troll and flamebait...
  • ...SCO announced it was dropping all lawsuits and putting the Unix V source into the public domain. Also, Bill Gates announced that Microsoft would be releasing documentation for all file formats for the companies products. Finally, the patent office today revoked the Amazon one click buying patent.

    Stay tuned to this program for more details.
  • by Stiletto ( 12066 ) on Thursday October 30, 2003 @06:58PM (#7352898)

    Instead today, the public is often manipulated not by what they see/hear through the media, but what they are kept from seeing/hearing. Through censorship or spin, you are told what you need to be told so that your opinions and beliefs about what is "true" match what the teller has in mind, and you are not told things that will counter those goal beliefs.

    ONe has only to compare the major U.S. news outlets with news reporting throughout the world to see examples. Not that news reporting in other countries is any less censored/spun to advance THEIR goals.....
  • Uh - huh. (Score:5, Funny)

    by gailwynand ( 213761 ) on Thursday October 30, 2003 @06:59PM (#7352912) Homepage
    My grandfather, for one, welcomed our new Martian overlords.
  • Why does this comes up every year at Halloween? I thought years ago we proved that this whole War of the Worlds panic was just a big hoax, and no one was really scared. There was a video clip released that showed several people from that night not scared at all, and just sort of looking around for some candy. The video is a bit grainy, but you can clearly tell that it is hunger and not panic on their faces.

    I'm starting to think there might be a cover-up going on.
    • Why is 65 significant? I don't remember celebrating last year at 64? Is it just because it's a multiple of 5? I mean, can we celebrate insignificant events like this on multiples of 10 at least, if not 25?

      65 sounds like one of the years used for sales at a furniture store.
  • How far has the original radio broadcast signal gotten out in space I wonder...?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 30, 2003 @07:05PM (#7352965)
    Well, he is if you think about it. I wonder if at the end of the radio script was the line "By the way, listening audience, 'YHBT. HTH. HAND.'"
  • The original "Wells", H.G.Wells published his account of the martian invasion in 1898. I think the later Welles was a little late with the news.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    The fact that we regard this radio broadcast as fiction shows the how effectively the conquering Martians have infiltrated all organs of the state.
  • Crop Circling (Score:5, Interesting)

    by bluethundr ( 562578 ) * on Thursday October 30, 2003 @07:17PM (#7353047) Homepage Journal
    A fews years ago, a few friends and I decided to mark this occasion in what we thought was a pretty interesting manner. We, being native Jerseyites, took a trip out to the location where the "meteor" (sparking the invasion [] and spooking the local population []) originally impacted - Browns Mills, NJ [] - and making some of our own "crop circles". We were drunk and not very skilled at this endeavor, but the end result turned out pretty nicely we thought. We kept at it while too and make them farily large and noticable. We did this in the dead of night, and whether or not the farmer in question caught the meaning of what we did, I'm fairly certain we gave him something to scratch his head over and ponder the next morning.
    • We... took a trip out to the location where the "meteor"... originally impacted

      In one sense, at least, the original impact point was several thousand miles away, in Horsell Common in Surrey...

    • took a trip out to the location where the "meteor" (sparking the invasion and spooking the local population) originally impacted

      We walk our dog in the sandpit where the first cylinder landed in the book; Horsel Common is just up the road from where we live and there's a nice statue of a war-machine in the town centre [] too.


  • Interesting... in the report, it claims "not much" happened as a result from the outcry from the broadcast to make sure it didn't happen again.

    As a former radio broadcaster, I can call BS on that -- one of the FCC's No No's includes things that would incite a panic falsely.

    If you want more info on it, the FCC [] giveth.
  • You mean I can finally come out of my bomb shelter? After 65 years, the fallout from the atomic wars has surely dissapated.
  • Is anyone old enough to recall the 1983 TV movie Special Bulletin []? It was presented as real-time coverage of a nuclear terrorist/hostage situation. Everyone at the network remembered the WotW broadcast, so the show carried lots of disclaimers. In spite of that, there were a lot of phone calls made to the police, especially in the area where the story was supposed to be taking place.
  • Go rent Buckaroo Banzia []. Highly recommended, but watch it with a group of people.

    And remember. Wherever you go ... there you are.
  • ...of the best movie marquee I ever saw. I took a picture, but I can't find it right now.


  • Did anyone else read the headline of this story to mean that Mars had been attacked? I don't know where my mind was going with that... Maybe The Onion [] knows.
  • I'm surprised nobody has linked to official website [], where you can listen to the entire broadcast [].

    They're offering a transcript [], MP3 files [] and a Real Audio stream [] as well as in-depth background [] information.

Loose bits sink chips.