Terror spread by radio play! Read the Telegraph's 1938 report on Orson Welles's War of the Worlds broadcast - Telegraph
In New York, 75 years ago, thousands of people listening to Orson Welles' reading of The War of the Worlds were convinced it was reality. Here is the Telegraph's 1938 report

NEW YORK, Monday.

The Federal authorities to-day began investigation of the most amazing episode in the history of broadcasting, the dramatisation of H. G. Wells’s novel” The War of the Worlds,” which last night flung thousands into a state of panic, and convinced them that the United States was being invaded by a host of supermen from Mars.

The names of American cities were substituted for the original place-names, and Mr. Wells today cabled his American representative, Mr. Jacques Chambrun, stating that “totally unwarranted” liberties had been taken. He also expressed deep concern at the effect of the broadcast.

Mr. Chambrun has placed the matter in the hands of his lawyers.

He said to me: “At no time was it explained that this dramatisation would take liberties that amounted to complete rewriting of the novel, rendering it an entirely different story.

“Mr. Wells and I consider that in doing this the Columbia Broadcasting System and Mr. Orson Welles – the producer and principal actor in the play – far overstepped their rights. I believe that the Columbia Broadcasting System should make a full retractation.”...
(Please click the link above to read the whole story)

The War of the Worlds at 75: how to listen online - Telegraph
Orson Welles's famous 1938 broadcast of the HG Wells classic still packs a punch

Seventy five years ago today, actor and filmmaker-in-waiting Orson Welles directed and narrated a radio adaptation of HG Wells's classic 1898 novel War of the Worlds for Hallowe'en.

Aired over the Columbia Broadcasting System in the US, The War of the Worlds was presented as a series of news bulletins. The power of this format was considerable with many Americans believing that Earth really was being invaded by Martians. Unsurprisingly, the broadcast led to a public outcry, with commentators disgusted at what they felt was the public deception caused by the format. Apparently, Adolf Hitler saw the panic as "evidence of the decadence and corrupt condition of democracy".

The broadcast continued to have an impact for decades and in 1994, Steven Spielberg bought one of the surviving War of the Worlds scripts for $32,200 at Christie's in New York. Spielberg's 2005 film adaptation was rather less successful.

To listen to the original recording from 1938, click here.