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The Granddaddy of all radio dramas…

We just realized Orson Welles was punk-rock-Elvis. Y’know, young, skinny, arrogant badass gains public awareness by creating chaos, outrage and timeless art – and then dying all fat and drunk. (eh, but to be fair, dying is a lose lose situation as far as grace and dignity go unless you fall on a grenade to save your platoon while riding a great white shark).

Welles himself said, “I started at the top and worked my way down.” Which is kinda true, though being a voice in the 1986 Transformers animated movie isn’t the absolute rock bottom of cinema – that would come years later with Michael Bay’s live version of Transformers. But we’re not here to talk about the bottom and we’re certainly not here to remind you about THIS horrible gift incident.

We’re here to remind you about this:

You see, Johnny Rotten had a group called The Mercury Theater and as one did in 1938, he and his band performed radio dramas… adapted performances of classic pieces of literature… cover songs if you will. And while they did okay with their covers of Bram Stoker’s Dracula and The Thirty Nine Steps by John Buchan, but it wasn’t until the eve of Halloween that they did a performance so powerful that there was anarchy in the USA.

War of the Worlds was not only an innovative and ingenious adaptation, it was also a shrewdly calculated social experiment. It’s worth listening to if you’ve never heard it, but we also recommend this podcast that RADIOLAB put out a few years back. They not only dissect Welles adaptation, but a couple others that you may not have heard about. Check it out or live your life in ignorance. Your choice.

AND COME BACK MONDAY FOR A BRAND NEW PODPLAY! WHEEEEE!!!

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