Beyond the War of the Worlds
Imagine a world without nuclear weapons. Without cruise missiles. Without even fighter jets. This is the world of 1895, which was attacked by the warriors of Mars in H.G. Wells' classic tale, The War of the Worlds. This story, retold many times, comes to life in this one-hour special. Using state-of-the-art computer effects, actual locations, and expert interviews, we trace the lineage of this first-ever invasion of Earth and its creator.
Herbert George Wells led a very ordinary existence until he began writing such classics as The invisible Man, The Time Machine, and The War of the Worlds at the birth of the 20th century. The book stunned readers at the turn of the century. Then the 1938 radio broadcast by Orson Welles brought panic and terror to the streets of America, and this timeless story was given new life. We will meet some of those terrified listeners, as well as an actor from the Mercury Theater which brought us the show.
But radio had more tricks in store... in 1949, in Quito, Ecuador, crowds rioted when it was discovered that yet another Halloween broadcast was a fake- this time claiming 15 lives at the offending radio station. And again, in 1968, thousands panicked in Buffalo, NY when a local radio station updated the drama!
This story of alien invasion was retold many times, climaxing in 1953 with the Paramount release of George Palís frightening movie version of The War of the Worlds. This updated, Los Angeles-based telling of the tale was a landmark in science fiction.
Until 1965, when NASAís Mariner 4 flew past Mars, we knew little about our neighboring planet. Men like Percival Lowell had their own ideas, and in the early 1900ís he popularized a view of Mars with a dying race of giant intellects irrigating their scanty crops with huge canals of scarce water. But the images of Mars that came back to Earth, as well as those that followed from NASAís Viking landers and later Mars Rovers, showed a dead, lifeless world.
In the following years, the story was re-imagined dozens of times in other films, culminating with the 1994 release of Independence Day. Now, in 2005, we have seen two versions of this classic story released as major motion pictures.
We trace the history of this amazing tale and its creator, as well as the many classic retellings. Using new video from the locations of the story, interviews with major writers, scientists and other experts, and cutting-edge visual effects, "Beyond the War of the Worlds" brings this story to life as never before.