On October 31, 1938 Orson Welles directed and narrated a performance of H.G. Well's The War of the Worlds for Mercury Theater on the Air. Though no official statistics exist showing the extent of the response, it was widely reported that the realistic performance of news bulletins combined with lack of commercials (Mercury Theater on the Air was a sustaining show, meaning it had no commercial) led to an overall panic as listeners tuning in assumed that they were hearing real reports about a real alien invasion.
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