Thursday, October 30, 2014

'War of the Worlds' Panic Broadcast Remembered by NJ Woman

War of the worlds4

By Glenn A. Walsh
Reporting for SpaceWatchtower

At the age of 4 years-old, Joan Geraci remembers the fear of her grandparents when their family suddenly and mysteriously abandoned the regular floors of their southern New Jersey farmhouse for an unfinished cellar constructed completely of dirt. She and her 3-year-old brother did not know that their grandparents were responding to, what was thought as, radio news reports of Martians landing in central New Jersey and attacking the local populace.

Of course, what they actually heard on the radio was the first portion of the radio drama, "The War of the Worlds" on CBS Radio's Mercury Theater on the Air, hosted by a young rising radio star named Orson Welles. This evening will mark the 76th anniversary of the historic radio broadcast, which captivated and frightened many people across the nation.

Now age 80, Joan Geraci remembers being afraid, after seeing how frightened her grandparents were. However, she particularly remembers being cold, as someone got the idea that wet blankets could prevent them from dying from poisonous gas. Water from a well  was used to wet blankets, and the wet blankets covered the family members.

The farmhouse had no telephone, so the family had no way to check with others to confirm the existence of the Martian invasion. And, the cellar had no electricity, so they could not listen to the ending of the radio program, when Orson Welles confirmed that it was simply a radio drama. So the family stayed in this cellar for most of the night, with but one gas light, until a friend of the grandfather finally convinced them to return back upstairs.

Joan Geraci's son, Ron Garaci who authors the blog, The Minty Plum, recounts his mother's recollections of that strange evening in the cellar in a blog post that was sent to SpaceWatchtower this morning.

Here is Ron's complete blog post: Link >>>

Related Blog Post ---

'War of the Worlds' Panic Broadcast: 75th Anniversary (2013 Oct. 29):

Link >>>


Source: Glenn A. Walsh, Reporting for SpaceWatchtower, a project of Friends of the Zeiss.

2014: 75th Year of Pittsburgh's Buhl Planetarium Historic Zeiss II Planetarium Projector at Pittsburgh's original Buhl Planetarium and Institute of Popular Science.

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