In 1928, the science fiction novel "The War of the Worlds" by H.G. Wells had already been a popular and well-known story for over thirty years. However, it was not until the infamous 1938 radio broadcast that the story gained a new level of notoriety.

The 1938 broadcast, produced by Orson Welles and his Mercury Theatre, caused widespread panic and hysteria as listeners believed that a real alien invasion was occurring.
While the 1938 broadcast is the most well-known adaptation of the story, there were actually two earlier radio adaptations of "The War of the Worlds" that are often overlooked.

The first radio adaptation of "The War of the Worlds" was produced by the American Radio Laboratory and aired on CBS radio on October 30, 1927.
This production was notable for its use of sound effects to create a sense of realism, such as using a buzzing sound to represent the Martians' heat-ray weapons. The broadcast was well-received by listeners and critics, and it paved the way for future adaptations of the story.

The second radio adaptation of "The War of the Worlds" was produced by the Mercury Theatre and aired on CBS radio on July 28, 1928.
Unlike the later 1938 broadcast, the 1928 production was not presented as a news bulletin and did not cause any panic or hysteria. Instead, it was presented as a straightforward drama and was well-received by listeners.

The 1928 radio script was faithful to the original novel, with some minor changes to the dialogue and character names.
The story follows the progress of a Martian invasion of Earth, told from the perspective of an unnamed narrator. As the Martians land in England and begin to wreak havoc, the narrator joins a group of survivors and witnesses the destruction first-hand.

One notable difference between the 1928 radio adaptation and the later 1938 broadcast is the tone.
The 1928 production is more contemplative and philosophical, with the narrator reflecting on the nature of humanity and the fragility of civilization in the face of an alien threat. In contrast, the 1938 broadcast is more action-packed and frenzied, with the focus on the panic and chaos caused by the invasion.

Overall, the 1928 radio adaptation of "The War of the Worlds" is a fascinating piece of media history that is often overshadowed by the better-known 1938 broadcast.
While it may not have caused the same level of panic and hysteria, it was a well-crafted and thoughtful adaptation that captured the spirit of H.G. Wells' original story. Today, it serves as a reminder of the power of radio drama to captivate and transport audiences to other worlds.

More details from the Event Listing on Coast Box Office..

War of the Worlds is a radio play written by H.G.
Wells and was performed by Orson Welles' Mercury Theatre on the Air in 1938. The radio play is an adaptation of H.G. Wells' science fiction novel of the same name, which tells the story of a Martian invasion of Earth. The radio play was performed in the form of a news bulletin, with actors playing the parts of news reporters, eyewitnesses and experts, giving the impression of a real-life invasion.

The radio play begins with the narrator, who is a radio news reporter, discussing the recent discovery of strange explosions on the planet Mars.
The radio reporter then goes on to describe how the Martians, who are advanced beings, have landed in New Jersey and began to invade the Earth with their advanced technology. The radio play is filled with sound effects that created a sense of panic and chaos, including the sound of the Martian's ships, explosions, and the screams of people running away.

The radio play created a sensation in the United States and around the world, with many listeners believing that the events being described were real.
The War of the Worlds radio play is considered one of the most famous and controversial radio broadcasts in history. It's a powerful example of how radio can create a sense of realism and immediacy, and how it can be used to create suspense and panic. The War of the Worlds radio play is a classic of science fiction and radio drama that continues to be remembered and studied to this day.

Now, 85 years later, Hunter Drama's senior drama students will present a faithful recreation of the world's most famous radio event.
Directed by James Chapman (She Kills Monsters)

Hunter Drama is presenting War of the Worlds at Civic Playhouse Wed, 2nd to 5th August '23

Tap the "War of the Worlds" button below for more information.

Hunter Drama | Wednesday, 15 February 2023

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