War of the Worlds

With all the media blitz surrounding Spielberg’s War of the Worlds movie and the ensuing TomKat craziness, it’s easy to forgot the original radio play that Orson Welles performed on Halloween of 1938. Luckily, the fine folks at WNYC haven’t forgotten and have provided a rather cool deconstruction of that infamous radio play. So, if all this nonsense about Scientology, Tom & Katie, and Dakota Fanning’s doe-eyed horror have got you done, remeber the original and wonder whether a cultural phenomenon like this could ever happen again. Or, if you’re a marketer or artist, how do you perpetrate this kind of mass hysteria to your benefit?

Free Katie
Tom Cruise kills Oprah
Tom Cruise Gets Squirted
Tom vs. Matt Lauer
The Descent – Another movie that’s using a viral game and a frightengingly infective message to entice viewers.
Archive of old-time radio broadcasts
War of the Worlds theatrical trailers
Jan Wahl’s Failed Audience Uprising

To be sure, no one has come close to duplicating this effort as it relates to entertainment and I doubt they ever will. Still, it’s instructive to listen to a scholarly dissection of the event and ponder all the angles.

And just to clarify some additional points:

1) Tom Cruise has gone batshit nutty and probably would kill Oprah, Sith lord-style
2) Katie Holmes had become ensnared by Scientology and must be rescued
3) War of the Worlds looks great and I’ll definitely see it
4) Orson Welles was a genius
5) I want to do something similar to this in my lifetime, whether for an employer or as a singular creative endeavor

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