Listen to episode 162 of The Adelaide Show podcast, which was published September 28, 2016, to find out which story is fake. This week’s pieces cover old radio plays.



News November 1938

“Is that the police station? Shots are being fired on a boat in the river; men are screaming, and I think someone has been murdered.” This message, given in terrified tones by a woman in Hobart some years ago, caused a police boat filled with detectives, to dash at full speed up the Der went, only to find that the shots and screaming were part of the realistic effects in connection with a radio play, The Mystery of the Mai-ie Celeste.
This incident was quoted today by the Adelaide manager of the Australian Broadcasting Commission (Col. Thomas), commenting upon the panic which ensued in various parts of the United States on Sunday night, when a realistic radio performance of H. G. Wells’s The War of the Worlds was given. Although it was announced several times during the play that everything was fictitious, the fact that an American, instead of an English locale, with the names of actual American officials, was used, caused the confusion.
Wrong Impression “Incidents such as these show the difficulty- under – which broadcasting works,” said Col. Thomas. “With the written word, if any phrase arrests the attention, the reader can turn back, and get the context, but that is not possible with radio. “Many people have the radio going all day for the company as much as anything else, and perhaps a phrase catches their attention giving them quite the wrong impression. “I have frequently had complaints about remarks and talks that merited the complaint when the few words heard were isolated, but in their context they meant quite the opposite thing.”



The Advertiser July 1953

A contribution towards encouraging the writing of good radio scripts by South Australians, the outreach service has decided to conduct a competition. Entries are invited for radio plays or feature scripts of not more than 30 minutes’ programme time. The programme must be designed to illustrate healthy Australian lifestyles and is in part funded by the Federal Department of Immigration. A prize of £7/7/- has been donated and will be awarded to the best script if considered of suitable standard for broadcasting. The judges’ decision will be final. All entries must be submitted to the Secretary, APCOS, Box 1338, G.P.O., Adelaide, not later than September 7.


Northern Star July 1927

A considerable number of radio listeners were scared one night, last, week when-they tuned in on the Adelaide station 5CL. They heard the sound of. gunfire and bombs, while the air was full of shouting and uproar, and companied by the frenzied announcement that an enemy had invaded Australia. The whole business, of course, was a radio drama, but some innocent, listeners who switched on their sets in the middle of it did not realise, this fact, not having heard” the announcement at the beginning of the play.