Last week Liberty Science Center celebrated an iconic day in science fiction history! Tuesday, Oct. 30 was the 80th anniversary of the famous War of the Worlds radio broadcast, and we went all-out with a live recreation in the Jennifer Chalsty Planetarium, the biggest planetarium in the Western Hemisphere.
For one special evening, guests filled the dome and looked back at that day 80 years ago when soon-to-be-famous director Orson Welles caused a nationwide alarm with a realistic-sounding radio broadcast reporting that Martians had landed in the United States.
And of course, the War of the Worlds story has a connection to New Jersey. In the so-called “real” radio broadcast, the aliens were reported to have landed in Grover’s Mill, NJ. Additionally, parts of the War of the Worlds 2005 movie with Tom Cruise were filmed in NJ (the famous bridge collapse scene was filmed locally in Bayonne).
Our anniversary event began with a historical overview of the world in 1938. It was a moment in history when we were on the brink of World War II, and people were understandably on-edge about the future.
From there, the show began. Lasers and music filled the theater with dramatic flare as our LSC team took on the roles of the story: from astronomer Professor Pierson to reporter Carl Phillips to the announcers and operators creating the illusion of an authentic broadcast.
It was a fitting tribute to that historic evening! Luckily this time around, there wasn’t any hysteria from people who thought the alien invasion was real. In fact, after the show, guests were invited to have a look at Mars (the actual planet!) through our telescopes out on the lawn.
Thanks to everyone who came out for the 80th anniversary celebration. Check out more photos from the event:
Didn’t make it out to the War of the Worlds 80th Anniversary Event? No fear! We play out-of-this-world shows every day in the Jennifer Chalsty Planetarium, the biggest planetarium in the Western Hemisphere. Click here to see a full list of what’s currently playing.