St. Ambrose Students Revisit "War of the Worlds" - News and Weather For The Quad Cities -

St. Ambrose Students Revisit "War of the Worlds"


It was 75 years ago that the famous "War of the Worlds" broadcast had people believing Martians were invading our planet. And now, St. Ambrose students are revisiting the Orson Welles classic, with a twist.

As the announcer describes our world being watched at the beginning of the last century, students listen at the beginning of this one, listening to the famous radio play that panicked our entire country. SAU senior Tom Prior says, "We never really fully grasp what it was like during the 1930s. We never look back in time to realize that radio was the premiere medium of the time and that's how you got information to people. And I think that's why people started freaking out, because this was the way the quickest news was getting to the population and they believed it."

Prior is one of the students who had to believe it, recording the play for broadcast. He says, "We were told imagine this is real, this is happening." But this time, it's happening in our area, rewritten to take place in the QCA. Junior Brooke Schelly joined other students listening to the show. She says, "It kind of added a really hometown, realistic feel to everything."

Instructors say the goal is not only a fun way to teach students about the future. Production Specialist Johnna Klossing works in the SAU Communications Department. She tells us, "They want to get jobs doing voice work, they want to get jobs in radio, maybe tv. This gave them a chance to explore something new."

This also teaches them to learn from the past about the power of media. Klossing says, "It seems crazy now to think that everyone would believe aliens are attacking. But if you look at Facebook and Twitter now, people see something on Facebook now and they believe it. They think it's true."

And students this night are looking at Facebook and Twitter. They are hearing the words come over the speakers, getting the story of the "War of the Worlds", even as they are getting caught up on what's happening in their world today. Schelly says, "I think it's hard to switch off the phone." Which may mean the next time we hear about aliens in our world, there may be fewer believers.

Klossing says, "Now obviously rumors can get debunked a lot faster with Facebook and Twitter, so someone can be like that's not true, that's bogus." Or maybe not.

If you missed the broadcast, it will re-air on KALA Radio on November 29th at 8 o'clock. That's 88.5 on your FM dial.

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