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From the National Archives:

Cranks, Crack-pots, and Martians

"I suppose that by this time you have received many letters from numerous cranks and crack-pots who quickly became jitterbugs during the program. I was one of the thousands who heard this program and:
did not jump out of the window,
did not attempt suicide,
did not break my arm while beating a hasty retreat from my apartment,
did not anticipate a horrible death,
did not hear the Martians “rapping on my chamber door”,
did not see the monsters landing in war-like regalia in the park across the street…”
—Letter dated November 1, 1938, from J. V. Yaukey of Aberdeen, South Dakota, to the Federal Communications Commission regarding the “War of the Worlds” broadcast by Orson Welles’ Mercury Theater on the evening of October 30, 1938.

75 years ago on October 30, 1938, the Columbia Broadcasting System (CBS) broadcast an adaptation of The War of the Worlds by H. G. Wells. The hour-long radio program began with an announcer introducing a musical performance and moments later interrupting with a special news bulletin describing the landing of Martians in New Jersey and their subsequent attacks with death rays. Although CBS made four announcements during the broadcast identifying it as a dramatic performance, millions of Americans who heard it were scared into some sort of action, many wrote letters. The newly created Federal Communications Commission received more than 600 letters about the broadcast, Not everyone took to the streets however, and many, like the writer of this letter, felt that others were overreacting.
via Prologue: "Jitterbugs" and "Crack-pots" Letters to the FCC about the “War of the Worlds” Broadcast 

Image description:

From the National Archives:

Cranks, Crack-pots, and Martians

"I suppose that by this time you have received many letters from numerous cranks and crack-pots who quickly became jitterbugs during the program. I was one of the thousands who heard this program and:

  • did not jump out of the window,
  • did not attempt suicide,
  • did not break my arm while beating a hasty retreat from my apartment,
  • did not anticipate a horrible death,
  • did not hear the Martians “rapping on my chamber door”,
  • did not see the monsters landing in war-like regalia in the park across the street…”
—Letter dated November 1, 1938, from J. V. Yaukey of Aberdeen, South Dakota, to the Federal Communications Commission regarding the “War of the Worlds” broadcast by Orson Welles’ Mercury Theater on the evening of October 30, 1938.

75 years ago on October 30, 1938, the Columbia Broadcasting System (CBS) broadcast an adaptation of The War of the Worlds by H. G. Wells. The hour-long radio program began with an announcer introducing a musical performance and moments later interrupting with a special news bulletin describing the landing of Martians in New Jersey and their subsequent attacks with death rays. Although CBS made four announcements during the broadcast identifying it as a dramatic performance, millions of Americans who heard it were scared into some sort of action, many wrote letters. The newly created Federal Communications Commission received more than 600 letters about the broadcast, Not everyone took to the streets however, and many, like the writer of this letter, felt that others were overreacting.

via Prologue: "Jitterbugs" and "Crack-pots" Letters to the FCC about the “War of the Worlds” Broadcast 

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From the National Archives:

Did aliens land in Roswell, New Mexico, 66 years ago? We don’t have evidence of aliens, but we do have the schematics for a flying saucer.

This is a real report found recently in the National Archives by an archives technician processing 100 boxes of Air Force reports.

“What caught my eye was the icon of the saucer-looking shape,” he explains. The icon—a blue saucer over a red arrow—was in the corner of test flight reports and contracts with a Canadian company. And the strangest record of all? A drawing that Rhodes says “looked just like the flying saucer in the popular science fiction films made during those years.”

According to the report, the aircraft was designed to be a vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) plane. It was meant to reach a top speed of Mach 4, with a ceiling of over 100,000 feet and a range of over 1,000 nautical miles.

Read the story of how our archives technician found these unique records, which inspired an article in Popular Mechanics.