WCBS-A Commemorates War Of The Worlds' 75th Anniversary
October 30, 2013 at 4:19 AM (PT)
Long before the era of social media, and even television, ORSON WELLES led the MERCURY THEATER ON THE AIR in the fictitious retelling of H.G. WELLS' WAR OF THE WORLDS about martians landing in GROVER'S MILL, NJ. The radio play aired on a SUNDAY night on CBS RADIO 75 years ago with a disclaimer that the following was a dramatization. However, many people missed the opening few minutes, tuning away from the successful EDGAR BERGEN AND CHARLIE MCCARTHY SHOW on NBC.
Remembering the occasion, CBS RADIO News WCBS-A Afternoon Co-Anchor WAYNE CABOT spoke to an announcer from Radio's Golden Age. BILL OWEN, although a child during the broadcast, appears to be a radio historian, much like CABOT.
CABOT asked his guest if CBS was banned from using "We Interrupt This Broadcast" for dramatic purposes. OWEN said, "The FCC was only four years in existence at that time. So this was one of their first big things to get involved with."
OWEN understands the mass hysteria and panic that ensued during the live broadcast in 1938, but, "can't figure out why people weren't sophisticated enough to realize, 'Hey, wait a minute, let's tune to another station and see what their reports are. That would be the natural inclination."
When ALL ACCESS attempted to get a quote from CABOT, he pointed us to WELLES' comment at the conclusion of the program.
"We annihilated the world before your very ears and utterly destroyed the CBS. You will be relieved, I hope, to learn that we didn't mean it, and that both institutions are still open for business."
The three-minute interview is scheduled to air TODAY on WCBS-A.