Today’s Document from the National Archives

Document for October 30th:
Letter from J. V. Yaukey to the Federal Communications Commission regarding the "War of the Worlds" broadcast, 11/01/1938


Letter from J. V. Yaukey to the Federal Communications Commission regarding the "War of the Worlds" broadcast, 11/01/1938 (National Archives Identifier: 596223); Series: General Correspondence, 1927 - 1971; Records of the Federal Communications Commission, 1875 - 2002; Record Group 173; National Archives.

On October 30, 1938, the Columbia Broadcasting System (CBS) broadcast an adaptation of The War of the Worlds by H. G. Wells. The hour-long radio program began with an announcer introducing a musical performance and moments later interrupting with a special news bulletin describing the landing of Martians in New Jersey and their subsequent attacks with death rays. Although CBS made four announcements during the broadcast identifying it as a dramatic performance, millions of Americans who heard it were scared into some sort of action, many wrote letters. The newly created Federal Communications Commission received more than 600 letters about the broadcast, including the one featured here.

"Letters to the FCC about the ‘War of the Worlds’ Broadcast" in Prologue
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Yesterday's document: October 29th
"The White Angel Bread Line"

Tomorrow's document: October 31st
"Halloween Visitors to the Oval Office..."

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