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Where's our Orson Welles?

October 24, 2008 - Per Peterson
Next Thursday marks the 70th anniversary of what has to be one of the best Halloween pranks of all time — Orson Welles’ dramatization of H.S. Wells’ “War of the Worlds.” A feature on some locals who remembered the radio show can be found in Saturday’s C-Section. Reading the story, you’ll find that what was a typical day was pretty much turned upside-down for millions of Americans who caught the broadcast on the radio. This simple broadcast alone, for me, puts Welles in the genius category. Imagine, scaring the crap out of an entire country from behind a microphone. Thinking of how all these people were fooled into believing they were under attack by aliens, got me to thinking: What kind of tale could someone spin today over the airwaves to scare, or just plain fool us into believing something we normally would find conceivable? How far would someone have to go to fool us into believing news that really isn’t happening? How far-fetched would it have to be? Are we as gullible as people were in the 1930s, or are we at a point in our society where we’d believe just about anything we hear or read? One has to wonder what it would take in this post-9/11 era for us to hear something on the radio and wonder if it really could be true. You’d think by now — after having two hijacked planes slam into the Twin Towers — we’ve seen it all.


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