Thursday, October 30, 2008

70 Years Ago Today in Grover's Mill, NJ...

...the Martians landed. Well, they did according to Orson Welles' Mercury Theater radio adaptation of H.G. Wells' War of the Worlds. If you have no idea what I'm talking about, read all about it here. This is one of my favorite moments in American pop culture and I'm proud to say that I live mere miles from where this all transpired. Citizens of Grover's Mill were seriously spooked on October 30, 1938 as the Welles' radio show commenced, documenting an advancing invasion force of Martians, the first landing of which was supposed to have happened in Grover's Mill. In the black of the night, fearful farmers shot at menacing, shadowy water towers, thinking they were the Martians in their tripods, come to claim our planet as their own. Alas, it was all a Halloween prank orchestrated by the brilliant Welles and one of the most famous moments in broadcasting history. If you want to recreate the scenario for yourself, listen to the original broadcast here from 8:00 to 9:00 pm EST tonight. A wonderful plaque commemorating the "Martian Landing Site" exists! Since Grover's Mill no longer exists (it's now called West Windsor Twp/Princeton Junction), the plaque stands near Grover's Mill Pond in West Windsor Twp. in Van Nest Park. See me posing with it back in 2005. Update (10/31): All kinds of articles about the anniversary have appeared today. Time Magazine. NY Daily News. USA Today. NY Post. And this one about those crazy kids at Illinois' Millikin University as they recreate the broadcast. There's hope for the Earth yet!

No comments: