American Experience: War of the Worlds
The night began as any other peaceful Sunday evening, with millions of listeners tuned to their radios. Yet the outward calm hid a nation tense with apprehension: the Great Depression refused to let up, and the threat of war in Europe loomed larger every day. Then, at 8:15 p.m., there was a report on the radio that Martians had landed in New Jersey.
Almost instantly, people listening in responded to the shocking news. Newspapers were flooded with calls from worried listeners; many feared that New Jersey had been laid to waste and that the Martians were heading west. In cities and towns throughout the country, people stopped a moment to pray - then grabbed their loved ones and fled into the night. What began as a broadcast performance of H.G. Wells's fantasy, The War of the Worlds, turned into one of the biggest mass hysteria events in U.S. history.
AMERICAN EXPERIENCE examines the elements that together created this frenzy, including our longtime fascination with life on Mars; the emergence of radio as a powerful new medium; and the creative wunderkind Orson Welles, the twenty-three-year-old director of the drama and mischief-maker supreme.
Special Bonus Features include…
- On Set: The Making of War of the Worlds
- Dear Mr. Welles: Letters That Inspired the Film
VIDEO USAGE RIGHTS
Why the AV version? Because it provides additional usage options for PBS videos. AV versions come with limited performance rights so they can be shown in classrooms, at PTA meetings, during after school programs, and transmitted on a closed-circuit system within a building or on a single campus. They also can be enjoyed in admission-free public screenings, which also makes them ideal for use by library patrons and businesses involved in community clubs and organizations.