Belated Happy Halloween! I hope you weren’t too scared by all the ghosts and goblins that were out and about last night.
Every Halloween I can’t help but think about Orson Welles’s The War of the Worlds. You may recall that he directed a radio broadcast adaptation of the H. G. Wells classic on October 30, 1938, in which Martians invaded Grover’s Mill, New Jersey. The first part of that broadcast simulated a series of newscasts which convinced many listeners that an invasion was actually underway. Needless to say it created quite a stir.
It seems that Mars has long been the topic of considerable speculation and fear of alien life. Much of that can be attributed to Italian astronomer Giovanni Schiaparelli who in the 1870’s reported “canali” or channels on Mars. Somehow that was misconstrued to mean canals, and we were off into the world of wild speculation.
Who built the canals, and what are these creatures like? So it was Martians that gave us cause for concern, not Jupiterians, Venusians, or some other imaginary occupant. There were occasional reports that led some people to believe that the Martians were even trying to communicate with us. It wasn’t until the 1960’s that all that speculation was finally disproved.
Today it’s kind of hard to relate to all that Martian paranoia. Remember some of those old movies about Martians, such as the Flash Gordon movie Mars Attacks the World from 1938, and Mars Needs Women from 1967. There were also some movies on the lighter side such as Abbott and Costello Go to Mars (1953), and of course the television show from the 1960’s My Favorite Martian. Mars was a part of popular culture for much of the 20th century. Oh, for the good old days!
Mars has icecaps at both poles and shows signs of other geological processes similar to that of earth. However, from what scientists can tell, it’s a cold and lifeless place. So, as Bobby McFerrin would say: “Don’t worry. Be happy.”
Natural North Dakota is supported by NDSU Central Grasslands Research Extension Center and Minot State University-Bottineau, and by the members of Prairie Public. Thanks to Sunny 101.9 in Bottineau for their recording services.
Listen To Radio Online
Log-on and dig deep into the news of the day. It’s all online in our Public NewsRoom.» Visit the Public NewsRoom
Your contributions make quality radio programming possible.» Pledge your support today.