Saturday Evening Post Time Capsule: October 1938 – Aliens and Fascists

A radio broadcast reporting that humanity was being wiped out by invading Martians wasn’t so hard to believe in October 1938, when sinister events brewing in Europe made the unthinkable seem all too real.

Illustration depicting a battle during the H.G. Wells novel War of the Worlds

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One of the illustrations by Henrique Alvim Corrêa for the original publication of H.G. Wells’ The War of the Worlds (1906)(Public Domain Review)

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  1. While very interesting, this report on October 1938 is deeply disturbing and frightening aside from the infamous broadcast. I first heard about this story in the 5th grade and remember feeling badly for the people who were in such distress not realizing it was ‘entertainment’. We weren’t given the additional facts in this video then.

    Hopefully there weren’t people who had heart attacks or committed suicide, and that such reporting was an attempt on the part of newspapers to ‘get back’ at the first electronic media threat (radio) and its stealing of their audience’s time and probably ad dollars. The next monster, television, was waiting in the wings and would have started wreaking ITS havoc several years earlier had it not been for World War II, already well under way in the late ’30s.


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