Monday, October 30, 2006

Boy, Radio Listeners Are Gullible

On this day in 1938, the original episode of ‘Punked’ aired on CBS Radio’s ‘Mercury Theater on the Air.’ Well, it was something like that. Orson Welles’ aired his production of H.G. Wells’ ‘War of the Worlds.’ (Boy that’s great alliteration, isn’t it? Welle’s version of Wells’ War of the Worlds) Despite the introduction by Welles saying that it was a radio adaptation, most people tuned in late and actually thought the Martian invasion was real. The only difference between what Orson Welles did that day and current reality TV is that he adapted a story from a book and made it up so it sounded real while reality TV is real and looks so made up.

Oh, to have that type of gullibility amongst us today. Back in ’38, people all over the east coast panicked, took to the highways to flee the Martian landing area and there were even reports of suicides. None could ever be confirmed though. I guess the havoc it wreaked must have looked a lot like the movie ‘Mars Attacks.’ It would be so much harder to get that type of response to a radio or TV production like that today. With so many cable news outlets and the internet, the hoax would be uncovered pretty quickly. Besides, if it was a hoax attempted over the internet, thousands would flock immediately to Snopes.com for confirmation of the hoax and discover it wasn’t true. People are just no fun these days. We can no longer believe our politicians and we question everything. Now granted, that is probably a good policy to adapt towards most things these days, but wouldn’t a good old-fashioned radio hoax be a hoot. Of course, the creator of it would be sued to the fullest extent of the law if they caused traffic backups and mass hysteria, but that’s part of the fun!

There was an elementary teacher I had two years in a row who would play the Orson Welles radio show every Halloween. (I swear it wasn’t because I was held back. He changed the grades he was teaching - no really!) We thought it was the coolest thing. He would explain the hysteria it caused and then we’d listen to it with the classroom lights turned off while only sunlight shined through. Of course we were the ‘Star Wars’ generation and found the whole premise of the show hard to believe, but we still enjoyed it and humored our teacher. If he attempted to play that radio show today, someone would complain and he’d be put on administrative leave until further notice! Then it would get press attention and end up in the odd news section and I’d get to blog about it all over again. I guess that’s what they call the circle of life.

Maybe the most recent attempt at messing with American audiences that I can think of was the FOX broadcast a few years back of the alien autopsy. At least I think they meant that to be perceived as real. We should use blogsville to perpetrate our own worldwide hoax. It could be something like the internet only has room for a few thousand more blogs, genetic testing has proven that Fidel Castro and Osama Bin Laden are the same person, Monday has been replaced on the calendar by a new day called Funday or that this weekend’s recent time change was an accident and should actually take place in two more weeks, except in Mentone, California and Fort Fairfield, Maine where the clocks should move forward by eight hours. If done correctly and promoted the right way through the Wondernet, the fake story could spread as fast as news of the E-Coli spinach outbreak did. Although that story was very real, I think.

On second thought, maybe I won’t spread a fake story via the Wondernet. I just got off the phone with a relative in the mid-west and she said there are strange clouds appearing out of nowhere that are emitting electricity and toxic fumes and they’re heading west. If you need me, I’m relocating to the closest cave for a while. Hopefully it has a Wi-Fi connection!

15 comments:

tthe laughorist said...

Try this one out, Michael. Let's pretund a rotund and almost-jailed radio talk show host criticizes a political opponent and accuses the opponent of faking Parkinson's disease. That faking, as in f-a-k-i-n-g. I know. Too far-fetched. No one would believe it, eh?

Odat said...

So glad you clarified that you weren't left back in school..lol.

Well, you know how I love the idea of "Funday", so I think all bloggers should change their monday postings to Funday...

Hope you have enough light in that cave to see this!!!

Peace!

C said...

Caves with WIFI - sounds like interactive tourism in the Carlsbad Caverns.

Empress Bee said...

oh give it up michael. same teacher two years in a row... pullleeese, maybe your mamma just didn't tell you that you were left back. sorry to be the bearer of bad news.....bee

ChiefMommy Owl said...

I loved the movie Mars attacks. I didn't think it was real, but I did run around for months screaming, "ACK, ACK, ACK" at anyone who annoyed me. I think I might start doing that again.

Sara :) Happy Funday! (To be followed by BoozeDay)

Violet said...

I wouldn't be too worried about people knowing you were held back. After all, you turned out okay in the end, eh?

Michael C said...

Laughorist: Wouldn't believe it for one second. Someone who did that just be publicly flogged by the Martian in my photo!

Odat: Let's give the Funday thing another go! I think the world is ready. I'm hoping Lulu the Lizard will be in whatever cave I find!
;-)

C: That's probably not that far fetched. They 'd probably put a Starbucks in their first though.

Empres Bee: really, I swear. Now I'm gonna have to go and get my school transcripts to prove it ;-)

Chiefmommy Owl: Ack, Ack. I had forgotten about that but I bet you I'll be doing it at work tomorrow! Happy Funday to you, too!

Michael C said...

Violet: Really I wasn't held back!!! Honestly ;-)

I think the jury is still out about me turning out ok, unfortunately ;-)

ian said...

Here's one for ya...remember, you read it here first!

The recent Blogger outages? They SAID it was server/upgrade issues. What they DIDN'T tell you was that the "upgrade" was a subliminal message that flashes just before your comments post. It says you WILL sign up for Google Adsense. Seriously. And if you DON'T, your blog may be "accidentally" corrupted.

Think I'm lying?

Ian

Meloncutter said...

Try this one out. Readers, there is good news and bad news today.. The bad news is, Aliens have landed on the west coast, Thousands of them.

The good news is they are eating eating anyone who doesn't speak english, pissing gasoline and headed east.

Just a thought

Later Y'all

ShadowFalcon said...

I love the Orson Welles Broadcast, you can totally see why people believed (plus I love H.G as well).

Lizza said...

You mean to tell me that alien autopsy wasn't real??? Oh, isn't there anything that one can believe in anymore these days? :-D

Michael C said...

Ian: OK, now you've got me really freaked out!! Really!

Melon: Those are aliens I can deal with. I just gotta get some buckets ready for the gas!

Shadow: It is pretty neat to hear.

Lizza: No one was more depressed about that not being real than I was ;-)

Captain Great said...

While I'd like to think we aren't that gullible anymore I just don't know.

For example, have you ever heard all that shit that scientologists believe in?

Barb said...

Ok.. I'm sitting here cracking up at what you wrote at the bottom of your blog. Nice site counter :)