Eighty years ago tonight, October 30, 1938, one Welles (Orson) staged a radio theater production of another Wells’ (author H. G.) science fiction classic The War of the Worlds. Tonight, Rupert Murdoch and Fox News brings you an updated version La Guerra de los Mundos. Below is an excerpt from the highly guarded script, obtained from Russians who hacked Donald Trump’s un-encrypted iPhone.
The War of the Worlds
Donald Trump and Fox Theatre on the Air
Tuesday, October 30, 2018
TRUMP: It was near the end of October. Business was better. My bad hair day was over. More men were back at work. (Women were also back at work making 78 cents on the dollar.) Sales were picking up. On this particular evening, October 30, the White House communications office estimated that thirty-two million people were listening in on radios. (FactCheck: The U.S. Park Service reported it was more like 500,000.)
ANNOUNCER #1: Good evening, ladies and gentlemen. From the Melania Room in Trump Tower in New York City, we bring you the music of Kid Rock and Kanye West. With a touch of the Spanish. Kid Rock leads off with “La Cumparsita.”
(PIECE STARTS PLAYING)
ANNOUNCER #2: Ladies and gentlemen, we interrupt our program of dance music to bring you a special bulletin from Fox Radio News. At twenty minutes before eight, central time, White House national security advisor John Bolton, reports observing several trails of dust, occurring at regular intervals just south of the Mexican border. The spectroscope indicates the dust to be moving towards the United States. We now return you to the music of Kid Rock and Kanye West, playing for you in the Melania Room of Trump Tower, situated in downtown New York.
(MUSIC PLAYS FOR A FEW MOMENTS UNTIL PIECE ENDS . . . SOUND OF APPLAUSE)
ANNOUNCER #1: Now a tune that never loses favor, the ever-popular “Star Dust.” Kanye West . . .
ANNOUNCER TWO: Ladies and gentlemen, following on the news given in our bulletin a moment ago, the Immigration and Naturalization Service has requested all on-duty agents across the country keep a watch out for any further disturbances occurring along the Rio Grande River. Due to the unusual nature of this occurrence, we have arranged an interview with White House policy advisor Stephen Miller, who will give us his views on the event. In a few moments we will take you to INS headquarters outside Laredo, Texas. We return you until then to the music of Kid Rock and Kanye West.
(MUSIC . . .)
ANNOUNCER TWO: We are now ready to take you to the Mexico border where Carl Phillips, our commentator, will interview senior policy advisor Stephen Miller. We take you now to Laredo, Texas
PHILLIPS: Good evening, ladies and gentlemen. This is Carl Phillips, speaking to you from INS headquarters outside Laredo. I am standing in a large semi-circular room, pitch black except for a narrow window in the south-facing wall. Through this opening I can see across the Rio Grande River. The ticking sound you hear is the vibration of the clockwork. Stephen Miller stands directly beside me on a small platform, peering through a giant lens. I ask you to be patient, ladies and gentlemen, during any delay that may arise during our interview. Besides his ceaseless watch of the Mexican frontier, Miller may be interrupted by telephone or other communications. During this period he is in constant touch with the other alt-right fear mongers around the world . . . Mr. Miller, may I begin our questions?
MILLER: At any time, Mr. Phillips.
PHILLIPS: Mr. Miller, would you please tell our radio audience exactly what you see as you observe the border area through your telescope?
MILLER: Nothing unusual at the moment, Mr. Phillips. Just a few flat bed trunks and what looks like people, mostly women and children, rehearsing for the annual Day of the Dead parade.
PHILLIPS: In your opinion, is this significant?
MILLER: It could be. They do not call it “the day of the dead” for nothing?
PHILLIPS: Then you’re quite convinced as a alt-right nationalist that living intelligence as we know it does not exist in Latin America?
MILLER: I’d say the chances against it are a thousand to one.
PHILLIPS: By the way, Mr. Miller, for the benefit of our listeners, how far are these people from the border?
MILLER: Approximately 1,000 miles or, as we say, one day’s walking distance.
(OFF MIKE) Thank you.
PHILLIPS: Just a moment, ladies and gentlemen, someone has just handed Miller a message. While he reads it, let me remind you that we are speaking to you from INS headquarters outside Laredo, Texas . . . One moment, please. Miller has passed me a message which he has just received . . . Mr. Miller, may I read the message to the listening audience?
MILLER: Certainly, Mr. Phillips
PHILLIPS: Ladies and gentlemen, I shall read you a wire addressed to Neil deGrasse Tyson of the Natural History Museum, New York. “9:15 P. M. eastern standard time. Seismograph registered shock of almost earthquake intensity occurring within a radius of twenty miles of El Paso. Please investigate. Signed, Lloyd Gray, Chief of Astronomical Division” . . . Mr. Miller, could this occurrence possibly have something to do with the disturbances observed south of the border?
MILLER: Hardly, Mr. Phillips. Those Latinos really know how to party. It could be a geological effect similar to fracking. However, we shall send a research team to investigate, as soon as daylight permits.
PHILLIPS: Thank you, Professor. Ladies and gentlemen, for the past ten minutes we’ve been speaking to you from INS headquarters outside Laredo, bringing you a special interview with White House advisor Stephen Miller. This is Carl Phillips speaking. We are returning you now to our New York studio.
(FADE IN PIANO PLAYING)
ANNOUNCER TWO: We take you now to El Paso, Texas.
(CROWD NOISES . . . POLICE SIRENS)
PHILLIPS: Ladies and gentlemen, this is Carl Phillips again . . . I hardly know where to begin, to paint for you a word picture of the strange scene before my eyes, like something out of a modern “Arabian Nights.” Well, I just got here. I haven’t had a chance to look around yet. I guess that’s it. Yes, I guess that’s the . . . thing, directly in front of me. What I can see of the . . . object itself doesn’t look very much like a caravan, at least not the caravans I’ve seen. It looks more like a huge bread line straight out of the Great Depression. It has a diameter of . . . what would you say, Mr. Miller?
MILLER (OFF-MIKE): What’s that?
PHILLIPS: What would you say . . . what is the diameter?
MILLER: About thirty yards.
PHILLIPS: About thirty yards . . . well, I’ve never seen anything like it. The color is sort of brown-ish. Curious spectators now are pressing close in spite of the efforts of the police to keep them back. They’re getting in front of my line of vision. Would you mind standing to one side, please?
POLICEMAN: One side, there, one side.
PHILLIPS: While the policemen are pushing the crowd back, here’s Mr. Wilmuth, who owns the property where the aliens crossed the border. He may have some interesting facts to add . . . Mr. Wilmuth, would you please tell the radio audience as much as you remember of these rather unusual visitors that dropped in your backyard? Step closer, please. Ladies and gentlemen, this is Mr. Wilmuth.
WILMUTH: Well, I was listenin’ to the radio.
PHILLIPS: Closer and louder please.
WILMUTH: Pardon me!
PHILLIPS: Louder, please, and closer.
WILMUTH: Yes, sir — while I was listening to the radio and kinda drowsin’, that Miller fellow was talkin’ about the caravan, so I was half dozin’ and half…
PHILLIPS: Yes, yes, Mr. Wilmuth. Then what happened?
WILMUTH: As I was sayin’, I was listenin’ to the radio kinda halfways . . .
PHILLIPS: Yes, Mr. Wilmuth, and then you saw something?
WILMUTH: Not first off. I heard something.
PHILLIPS: And what did you hear?
WILMUTH: A strumming sound. Like this: (makes strumming sound). . . kinda like a Cinco de Mayo celebration.
PHILLIPS: Then what?
WILMUTH: Turned my head out the window and would have swore I was to sleep and dreamin.’
WILMUTH: I heard a splashing sound and then zingo! A bunch of people came up from the river. Knocked me clear out of my chair!
PHILLIPS: Well, were you frightened, Mr. Wilmuth?
WILMUTH: Well, I — I ain’t quite sure. I reckon I — I was kinda riled.
PHILLIPS: Thank you, Mr. Wilmuth. Thank you.
WILMUTH: Want me to tell you some more?
PHILLIPS: No . . . That’s quite all right, that’s plenty.
PHILLIPS: Ladies and gentlemen, you’ve just heard Mr. Wilmuth. I wish I could convey the atmosphere . . . the background of this . . . fantastic scene. Hundreds of cars are parked in a field in back of us. Police are trying to rope off the roadway leading off Mr. Wilmuth’s ranch. But it’s no use. They’re breaking right through. Cars’ headlights throw an enormous spot on the pit where the object’s half buried. Some of the more daring souls are now venturing near the edge carrying tiki torches. Their silhouettes stand out against headlights of the flat-bed truck.
(FAINT HUMMING SOUND)
One man wants to touch the aliens. . . he’s having an argument with a policeman. The policeman wins. . . . Now, ladies and gentlemen, there’s something I haven’t mentioned in all this excitement, but now it’s becoming more distinct. Perhaps you’ve caught it already on your radio. Listen:
(LONG PAUSE) . . .
Do you hear it? The aliens are speaking in what must be their language. I’ll move the microphone nearer. (PAUSE) Now we’re not more then twenty-five feet away. Can you hear it now? Oh, Mr. Miller!
MILLER: Yes, Mr. Phillips?
PHILLIPS: Can you tell us what the aliens are saying?
MILLER: It must be some kind of code. So we cannot know how they will carry out their plans to distribute drugs, infect the population with supposedly eradicated diseases like small pox or steal our jobs .
PHILLIPS: I see, do you still think it’s a caravan?
MILLER: I don’t know what to think. I just know they represent a mortal threat to our way of life.
PHILLIPS: Just a minute! Something’s happening! Ladies and gentlemen, this is terrific!
VOICES: They’re movin’! Keep back, I tell you!
(SUDDENLY THE CLANKING SOUND OF A HUGE PIECE OF METAL)
VOICES: It’s open. The door to the flat-bed truck is opening! Look out there! Stand back!
PHILLIPS: Ladies and gentlemen, this is the most terrifying thing I have ever witnessed . . . Wait a minute! Someone’s crawling out of the cab. Someone or . . . something. I can see peering out . . are they eyes? It might be a face. It might be . . .
(SHOUT OF AWE FROM THE CROWD)
PHILLIPS: Good heavens, something’s wriggling out of the shadow like a gray snake. Now it’s another one, and another. They look like tentacles to me. There, I can see the thing’s body. It’s large, large as a bear and it glistens like wet leather. But that face, it . . . Ladies and gentlemen, it’s indescribable. I can hardly force myself to keep looking at it. The eyes are black and gleam like a serpent. The mouth is V-shaped with saliva dripping from its rimless lips that seem to quiver and pulsate. The monster or whatever it is can hardly move. It seems weighed down by . . . possibly gravity or something. The thing’s raising up. The crowd falls back now. They’ve seen plenty. This is the most extraordinary experience. I can’t find words . . . I’ll pull this microphone with me as I talk. I’ll have to stop the description until I can take a new position. Hold on, will you please, I’ll be right back in a minute.
(FADE INTO PIANO)
TRUMP: Tune in for tomorrow night’s rally from Fort Myers, Florida to hear how I alone will save America from these alien invaders. Happy Halloween. Be afraid, very afraid!
POSTSCRIPT: Thanks to www.sacred-text.com which posted the script from the original 1938 broadcast.
For what it’s worth!