- uploaded: Jan 11, 2009
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It is sometimes said the news of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor was received in skepticism by the American public, as a consequence of the radio performance.
Because of the panic in the 1930s and 1940s, U.S. TV networks deem it necessary to post bulletins to the audience to inform them some TV stories were fiction. Disclaimers were shown during the 1983 television movie Special Bulletin, and during the 1994 telefilm, Without Warning, both of which were dramas disguised as news broadcasts (Without Warning, presenting Earth being hit by three meteor fragments, acknowledged it was a tribute to War of the Worlds and was broadcast on CBS TV on the 56th anniversary of the radio broadcast). NBC placed disclaimers in an October 1999 TV movie dramatizing the possible disastrous effects of the Y2K bug even though it was drama unlikely to be confused with reality.
On February 16, 1991, a popular Estonian TV satire show Wigla Sou reported, using the "we interrupt this program" device, that the government of Finland had voided the bills of one hundred Finnish Markka, most common banknote in Estonia, when the Soviet ruble was not trusted because of high inflation. That was parody of Soviet currency reform, but thousands rushed to get rid of 100 markka bills, some selling many times under market prices. TV reporters Ivar Vigla and Felix Undusk received threats while currency profiteers cheered unexpected high profits.
On December 22, 1991, the student-run satire TV show Ku-Ku on Bulgarian state channel Kanal 1 broadcast reports of an accident in the Bulgarian Kozloduy Nuclear Power Plant, to draw attention to the lack of preparedness for such an accident. The impact was heightened due to memory of the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant disaster and its incomplete coverage by official media during 1986. The show used TV news reporters because actors from the show would have been recognized. Reminders of the program's fictional nature were broadcast during music video breaks but largely ignored. There were reports of people taking iodine pills to protect their thyroid glands from radiation. In the aftermath, the show was canceled, but trial charges against director, screenwriter and producer were dismissed.
In 2005, Danish radio station P2 announced their plan to broadcast a remake of the original broadcast on September 3. As the broadcast was about to start, an announcer interrupted the show to report on a fake story about a biological terrorist attack on Copenhagen.
In 2006, a false Belgian news bulletin, broadcasted by RTBF, reported that the Dutch-speaking Flanders region of the country had declared its independence from Belgium, and led to widespread panic in French-speaking Belgium. It was a hoax inspired by The War of the Worlds.
A 2005 BBC report suggested that Welles' idea and style may have been influenced by an earlier 1926 hoax broadcast by Ronald Knox on BBC Radio. Knox's broadcast also mixes breathless reporting of a revolution sweeping across London with dance music and sound effects of destruction. Moreover, Knox's broadcast also caused a minor panic among listeners who did not know that the program was fictional.
A similar hoax from 1874 used wild animals rather than aliens claiming that they were escaping from New York Central Park Zoo and this also seems to have generated some public panic,