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Orson Welles’ The War of the Worlds radio program in Woody Allen’s Radio Days (Video)

It was October 30, 1938. Exactly at 8 p.m. the broadcast of an episode of the American radio drama anthology series The Mercury Theatre on the Air started on CBS Radio – an adaptation of the well known H. G. Wells’s novel The War of the Worlds. Directed and narrated by Orson Welles, the episode became famous for causing panic among the radio listeners who believed the devastating alien invasion recreated was real, taking place around the world. More about this historical misinformation case here.

Woody Allen’s Radio Days was released in 1987. The comedy film tells the story of the everyday life of a modest Jewish-American family living in Rockaway Beach in the 30s. Allen itself is narrating the story of his brilliant movie about the role of the mass media (radio) in the life of ordinary people. This scene is taken from there and is obviously inspired by the aforementioned event from 1938. Double Academy Award winner Dianne Wiest (both of her accolades for roles in Allen’s movies) is playing Aunt Bea – one of the secondary characters in Radio days, that I can watch again and again and stay genuinely entertained.

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