“Ladies and Gentlemen, we interrupt our program...”
If you tuned in late, those might have been the first words many listeners heard of Orson Wells’ radio broadcast of H.G. Wells’ “War of the Worlds.” Here’s a link, with a youtube link, to an article that Time magazine did on the 70th Anniversary of the show.
At that time, radio was the medium and that’s where everyone got the latest breaking news, which was considered gospel. Yes, the explanation (that it was a re-telling of Wells' story) was given at the beginning of the show - but if you missed that - you were sure the world was being invaded, with death and destruction imminent. As a matter of fact, this event - which had folks running into the streets in terror to their churches to prepare to meet their Maker, wet towels clutched to their faces as makeshift gas masks - has become a case study on mass hysteria.
It doesn’t take much to imagine how people felt, especially after our current events of 9/11, when we stared in horror at the images unfolding on any available TV or internet news webpage. Or, when New Orleans, as we knew it, was being wiped out by Hurricane Katrina. Or, our horror and sadness at the devastation in Haiti.
However, one has to wonder if we will become so inured to horrific events that they will become mundane and we’ll just click to a different channel or open a new webpage and not realize the actual apocalypse is at the door.
What do you think?