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The Mercury Theatre on the Air

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The Mercury Theatre on the Air was an American radio series made by the Barnard Broadcasting System in the early 20th century. The series starred and was produced by Orson Welles.


At 8pm on 30 October 1938, it produced an adaptation of H.G. Wells' science fiction novel The War of the Worlds. (DS9 short story: "Captain Proton and the Orb of Bajor")

The broadcast caused a mass panic in the United States of America as many believed that it was in fact a news report about a real Martian invasion. James Wainwright, who was then 21, did not hear the broadcast but read about it in the newspapers the next day. On 23 September 1947, Professor Jeffrey Carlson told him that there was a theory that the broadcast was used as a cover story for the discovery of an actual alien spaceship. However, Wainwright dismissed this theory, branding it "crazy." (TOS novel: From History's Shadow)



  • In reality, The Mercury Theatre on the Air was broadcast on CBS Radio.

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