Telephone operators discuss War of the Worlds panic

AT&T publishes interviews with switchboard operators from 1938


The AT&T Archives and History Center on YouTube has re-posted this film from 1988, celebrating the 50th anniversary of the original War of the Worlds radio broadcast. The film is a series of interviews with former switchboard operators talking about their experiences working that night (Oct. 30, 1938), in which most of the country was fooled in thinking that a radio play (produced by Orson Welles) was an actual news event, in which Martians had landed on the planet and were taking over the world.


A lot of the stories are sweet - people calling in to the operator to make sure that they connected one last time before the Martians took over; but other stories suggest that there was a darker side to this hoax.

AT&T says the 1988 interviews were part of an internal quarterly AT&T video newsmagazine called Directions.

Keith Shaw rounds up the best in geek video in his blog. Follow Keith on Twitter at @shawkeith. For the latest IT news, analysis and how-tos, follow ITworld on Twitter, Facebook, and Google+.

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