Friday, October 26, 2012

everyday is halloween

does it get any better for fright than orson welles' radio adaptation of h.g. wells' 1898 novel war of the worlds?  utter genius.  an ordinary radio broadcast of a big band playing in the ballroom of a hotel with cuts in of news reports of odd activity on mars breaks thru that wall that separates fiction and news.  broadcast on october 30, 1938 welles' mercury players created a template that we still mine today with our obsessions with 'found footage' in movies.  welles blurred the distinctions of the fancies of fiction and the brutal objectivity of the news report.  over 70 years later and this broadcast still sends a shiver down the spine.  for me it is the moment when the news reporter live at the scene in grover mills, new jersey, describes the martian attack.  the broadcast stops in mid-sentence.  that scares the hell out of me.  that is the moment when the foundation of the objective news report collapses into pandemonium.  imagine listening to this broadcast in 1938 as the world lurches toward world war and you hear live an attack that takes out the news reporter.  panic is the result.  this broadcast has turned to myth. 



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