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This section is about the great and versatile actor, director and producer Orson Welles who is best known for the greatest film ever, Citizen Kane and for his radio broadcasts of the 1930’s. He was one of those extremely talented and creative people who seem to have trouble fitting into the norm. He made a big splash with his Mercury Theatre broadcast of War of the Worlds and Citizen Kane, although in my opinion the best film of all time, caused big issues since it was so closely patterned after William Randolph Hearst, the newspaper mogul. Click on the links above to learn more about this genius of a man.
Welles directed a number of high-profile stage productions for the Federal Theatre Project in his early twenties, including an adaptation of Macbeth with an entirely African American cast, and the political musical The Cradle Will Rock. In 1937 he and John Houseman founded the Mercury Theatre, an independent repertory theatre company that presented a series of productions on Broadway through 1941. Welles found national and international fame as the director and narrator of a 1938 radio adaptation of H. G. Wells’ novel The War of the Worlds performed for his radio anthology series The Mercury Theatre on the Air. It reportedly caused widespread panic when listeners thought that an invasion by extraterrestrial beings was actually occurring. Although some contemporary sources claim these reports of panic were mostly false and overstated, they rocketed Welles to notoriety.
Be sure to check out the PBS’s documentary “War of The Worlds 75th anniversary of The Panic Broadcast!”