Monday, October 19, 2009

Buffalo declared War of the Worlds capital

The city of Buffalo has declared itself the War of the Worlds Broadcast Capital of the World. It's a claim that it can make with some justification, having suffered not only the original 1938 Orson Welles broadcast, but a 2nd locally produced production by WKBW radio. It was every bit as scary as the original, in fact I'd go so far as to say it was better then Welles production as it seamlessly integrated the story into existing programming and used many well known local news reporters. The initiative to declare Buffalo War of the Worlds Broadcast Capital of the World came from Governor David Paterson and the State senate. However, it's worth noting that there is another contender. Lisbon in Portugal has been hit several times by locally produced War of the Worlds radio broadcasts and of course Quito in Ecuador saw significant loss of life in 1949 when a production went badly wrong. You can read the full story of these broadcasts in my book Waging the War of the Worlds, which tells the history of 10 distinct panic broadcasts around the world.