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SPOTLIGHT / WAR OF THE WORLDS

For details and a listing of all library events, visit princetonlibrary.org/events

Of War and Fake News A. Brad Schwartz’s book shows that 80 years later, we’re still learning lessons from The War of the Worlds

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ue to the unusual nature of this occurrence, we have arranged an interview with noted astronomer Professor Pierson, who will give us his views on the event. In a few moments we will take you to the Princeton Observatory at Princeton, New Jersey. We return you until then to the music of Ramón Raquello and his orchestra…”

cans to confront a problem that still bedevils us today: the media’s power to blend truth and fiction,” Schwartz said. “We all know about the supposed panic caused by Welles’s broadcast, but that story is itself a kind of fake news – a media myth that has persisted for 80 years. Learning the truth behind the myth can help us navigate today’s treacherous media landscape, where the persuasive powers of the Internet and social media far exceed that of radio at its peak.” Author Talk: A. Brad Schwartz Thursday, Oct. 18, 7 p.m. Community Room

OTH ER SERI ES EVENTS

Of course, there was no Professor Pierson — or Ramón Documentary: “War of the Worlds” Raquello, for that matter — but with these words, broadThursday, Oct. 4, 7 p.m. cast on CBS radio on the night of Oct. 30, This PBS American Experience documentary 1938, Princeton was indelibly linked to what explores how Welles’s ingenious use of radio was, at the time, the greatest example of fake struck fear into an already anxious nation. news the nation had known, the Mercury 51 minutes. Community Room Theatre dramatization of “The War of the Raconteur Radio performs “The War of Worlds.” the Worlds” Princeton’s role didn’t end with the mythWednesday, Oct. 10, 7 p.m. ical Professor Pierson’s breathless reporting This troupe presents a staged radio play of from nearby Grover’s Mill. The real-life Princ“The War of the Worlds,” loosely adapted eton Radio Project, co-founded by actual psyfrom the H.G. Wells classic. The 55-minute chology professor Hadley Cantril, spread its production features theatrical lighting, periown kind of fake news: lending credence to od costumes, Golden Age radio equipment, the popular, but never fully proven, notion of sound effects and vintage commercials. widespread hysteria during the broadcast, parCommunity Room A. Brad Schwartz ticularly among those who tuned in late and thought the country was under attack. Open Archive: “War of the Worlds” Fan (and Hate) Mail Cantril is just one of the fascinating real-life characTuesday, Oct. 23, 7 p.m. ters populating A. Brad Schwartz’s acclaimed re-examSpecialists from the University of Michigan will present firstination of the broadcast and its aftermath, “Broadcast hand archival material related to the “War of the Worlds” Hysteria: Orson Welles’s ‘War of the Worlds’ and the broadcast. This event will feature access to original letters Art of Fake News.” sent from Princeton and across New Jersey in response to Schwartz, a doctoral student at Princeton University the broadcast, as well as digital access to additional letters who appears Oct. 18 at the library, reaches far more nusent from across the country. Historians from the Universianced conclusions about the aftermath of the broadcast, ty of Michigan and Princeton University will be on hand to based on his examination of the surviving listener letters, speak about the material and answer questions. Newsroom including nearly 1,400 letters written by listeners to Orand Discovery Center Co-sponsored by the library and the University of Michigan Special son Welles. Once thought lost to history, these letters, Collections Library. now part of the University of Michigan’s Richard Wilson-Orson Welles Papers, are featured for the first time in Concert: War of the Worlds.80 Schwartz’s book. Several of these letters, including some Sunday, Oct 28, 3 p.m. written in Princeton, will be on display in an Oct. 23 The original radio script will be adapted into a series of Open Archive program. vignettes, between which musicians from the Einstein Alley “Although ‘fake news’ may seem like a recent invenMusicians Collaborative will perform a piece which reflects tion, Orson Welles’s ‘War of the Worlds’ forced Amerithe mood of the story. Community Room

www.princetonlibrary.org

All programs presented with support from the National Endowment for the Humanities: Any views, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed in this programming do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

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