On this day exactly one hundred years ago, Orson Welles was born, so it seems appropriate to write about the 1938 War of the Worlds radio broadcast, in which Welles’ Mercury Theatre on the Air enacted a Martian invasion of Earth that was based on H. G. Wells’s 19th century novel The War of the Worlds. Supposedly up to twelve million people listening at home believed the United States was being attacked by aliens in the little-known but real town of Grover’s Mill, near Princeton, New Jersey. This fictitious non-event, which secured Orson Welles’ fame, is memorialized with a “Martian Landing Site” monument that was installed in 1988 in the town’s Van Nest Park. The eight-foot high 3D bronze relief depicts a dramatic Mr. Welles talking into a microphone while a family listens in terror by their radio. At the top is a sinister-looking Martian machine, a metallic tentacled walking tripod because “flying saucers” weren’t invented until 1947. The back of the plaque is inscribed with a description of the evening. Unfortunately there is no mention of Orson Welles being the inventor of modern-day trolling.

(Image Source)

“I soon felt that strange and mysterious sensation which is awakened in the mind when looking down from lofty hilltops, and now I was able to do so without any feeling of nervousness, having fortunately hardened myself to that kind of sublime contemplation. I wholly forgot who I was, and where I was. I became intoxicated with a sense of lofty sublimity, without thought of the abysses into which my daring was soon about to plunge me.”
― Jules Verne

Scarlett Johansson for ‘Parade’ magazine

“We like to go out and go dancing. Other times, we like to sit at home and eat Thai food and watch House Hunters International for four hours,” she says. “And we’re interested in each other’s worlds. He’s interested in my weird, alien entertainment world. It fascinates him because it’s so different than what he knows. And I like to go to art openings with him and talk about art and emerging artists with him. That’s his passion.” – Scarlett Johansson