War of the Worlds

Did you know Orson Welles narrated the War of the Worlds on the radio on October 30, 1938?

The famous radio broadcast was presented in a bulletin style format which made many Americans believe the world was being attacked by Martians.  The outcry that followed the news style bulletins helped cement Welles’ name in Hollywood history.

It all began with H.G. Wells story, War of the Worlds which was adapted for the broadcast to take place in Grover’s Mill, New Jersey.  It is there that a crowd gathers and onlookers see a tentacled Martian barely alive blasting people with heat-rays.  The story goes on and interrupts the “news” but finally ends with the Martians dying due to pathogenic germs.

At the end of the narrative, Welles breaks character and announces it was a Halloween trick.  Legends state that panic was widespread over the broadcast and was felt from New York to Washington D.C.  Lawsuits popped up, most were dismissed but one man sued for his shoe money which he spent trying to escape the Martians.  Welles insisted he be paid so that he could buy new shoes.

In 1938, men’s shoes cost $1.59 in Morris County New Jersey.  Imagine the lawsuit was paid and the claimant was awarded a one dollar bill, two Washington Quarters, one Buffalo Nickel and four Lincoln Wheat Pennies.

In 1938, Washington Quarters were made of silver and Lincoln Wheat Pennies were composed of copper.   The Buffalo Nickel was last minted in 1938.



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