Orson Welles’ War of the Worlds Did Not Touch Off a Nationwide Hysteria. Few Americans Listened. Even Fewer Panicked.
On Sunday, October 30, 1938, millions of radio listeners were shocked when radio news alerts announced the arrival of Martians. Many ran out of their homes screaming while others packed up their cars and fled. Though what the radio listeners heard was a portion of Orson Welles' adaptation of the well-known book, War of the Worlds by H. G. Wells, many of the listeners believed what they heard on the radio was real.