1938 Preview – War of The Worlds

At Centuries of Sound I am making mixes for every year of recorded sound. This is one of the ten chapters in the full version of Centuries of Sound 1938
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Certainly the most famous episode of The Mercury Theatre on the Air, Orson Wells’ adaptation of H.G. Wells’ (no relation) science fiction novel caused a scandal on broadcast when it allegedly caused panicked listeners to flee to the hills. The people actually fleeing or even complaining in vast numbers appear to have been an invention of some sort, certainly the main change when the dust settled was that Orson Wells was now well-known nationwide and able to pick up his first directing work, and I’m sure everyone knows what that is. From my POV the most interesting thing about War of the Worlds is the way it combines fantastic elements with an imitation of a standard radio programme with breaks for a live broadcast of light music. Here we have most of the first half of the drama, with the music swapped for more interesting lighter dance music from 1938, plenty of it from the UK, and at least some of it re-used later by Leyland Kirkby for his The Caretaker project.

00:00 Raymond Scott Quintette – The Happy Farmer
(Clip from War of the Worlds)
00:57 Russ Morgan – What Do You Know About Love
(Clip from War of the Worlds)
02:47 Leslie Hutchinson – It’s De Lovely
(Clip from War of the Worlds)
04:11 Geraldo – You’re As Pretty As A Picture
(Clip from War of the Worlds)
09:00 Bob Wills & His Texas Playboys – Pray For The Lights To Go Out
(Clip from War of the Worlds)
12:17 Harry Roy – Highland Swing (Vocal – Ray Ellington)
(Clip from War of the Worlds)
19:02 Unknown Mahafaly – Flute Solo (Ampanihy, Madagascar)
(Clip from War of the Worlds)
21:05 Prof. Anukul Ch. Das – Piano Instrumental- Ramprasad Sen
(Clip from War of the Worlds)
25:20 Bruno Walter & Wiener Philharmoniker – Gustav Mahler Symphony No. 9
(Clip from War of the Worlds)
33:37 Artie Shaw And His Orchestra – Nightmare
(Clips from Orson Welles Press Conference)

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