Among the incredible collection of rare Orson Welles scripts and photographs on offer at Profiles in History’s Hollywood Auction 74 next week, this “War of the Worlds” radio broadcast transcript stands out. The transcript was issued by CBS on October 31, 1938, the day after American listeners heard Welles read the H.G. Wells adaptation and promptly went mad. Yes, Welles’ dramatic reading of the sci-fi classic was so convincing that many believed a real Martian invasion was at hand, and hysteria ensued.
A cover letter included with the hole-punched typescript reads: “Attached is a complete transcript of the Mercury Theatre On the Air transcript of H.G. Wells ‘War of the Worlds’ broadcast over the WABC-Columbia Network last night (Sunday, October 30th, 8 o’clock to 9 o’clock PM, EST). This transcript presents an accurate and complete account from the recordings made of the program at the time it was broadcast. The Columbia network sincerely regrets the delay in getting this transcript to you, but it was felt that complete accuracy would be wanted by the press.”
The estimate is $20,000-30,000. Several Citizen Kane manuscripts are also for sale, including an original first rough draft and a final shooting script.
Image via Profiles in History.
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Reprinted with permission from Fine Books & Collections, Rebecca Rego Barry, author