On October 30, 1938, Orson Welles' Mercury Players performed a radio play version of H.G. Wells' War of the Worlds. Some people in the unsuspecting public took the broadcast as a real ... See full summary »




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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Edward R. Murrow ...
Himself / Narrator
Carl Phillips - Host
Robert Blackburn ...
Casey Allen ...
First Announcer
Norman Rose ...
Second Announcer
First Actor
Second Actor
Third Actor
Freda Holloway ...
Mary Morgan
John Gibson ...
Clint Kimbrough ...
Tom Clancy ...
Fred J. Scollay ...
Sam Chandler (as Jim Coburn)


On October 30, 1938, Orson Welles' Mercury Players performed a radio play version of H.G. Wells' War of the Worlds. Some people in the unsuspecting public took the broadcast as a real report about a Martian invasion. In this television play of twenty years later, several fictional storylines present the story of the 1938 broadcast and the panic it caused. Edward R. Murrow, as himself, provides short narrative bridges between scenes. The fun includes watching the young extras for a surprising number of faces that will later range from the familiar to the famous. Written by tlfisher-1

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Release Date:

9 September 1957 (USA)  »

Filming Locations:

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


TV debut of James Coburn. See more »


The events portrayed took place in 1938. The 'Rose-Bowl' pinball machine being played in the bar was not made by D. Gottlieb & Company until October 1951. See more »


Edward R. Murrow: One troubled face out of ten. But this is the face of dawning panic on the night America trembled
See more »


Version of The Night That Panicked America (1975) See more »


Introduction from "Le Coq d' Or"
Music by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov
See more »

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User Reviews

A Few Interesting Things
5 March 2015 | by (Louisville, KY) – See all my reviews

Studio One in Hollywood (1957)

"The Night America Trembled"

This episode in the series, narrated by Edward R. Murrow, takes a look back at October 30, 1938, which would seem like any ordinary day but it turns into mass chaos as Orson Welles and the Mercury Theatre would end up putting on a version of H.G. Wells' The War of the Worlds and a panic would break out. This docu-drama takes a look at a group of people and how the radio broadcast effects their lives.

THE NIGHT America TREMBLED is a mildly entertaining movie but by the time it's over you really can't help but be somewhat disappointed or at least wish it was better. I think there was a pretty interesting idea here but sadly it just never comes across and some of this is probably due to there being too many characters and not enough time to fully build up their stories. There's a babysitter who begs for the kid's parents to come back after she hears of a martian attack. There's another group of men discussing Hitler in a bar when the story of the attack comes in. There's a cop answering phone calls from terrified people. None of these stories really add up to much as there's not any drama.

For fans of the true event this thing is still worth watching just as a curiosity. There are several familiar faces who pop up here including Vincent Gardenia, James Coburn and Edward Asner. This here adds another reason for film buffs to watch it. With that said, there's no question that there's some interesting things here for film buffs but sadly you can't help but think more could have been done. Remakes are a bad word to some but I think something really good could be created if someone decides to try this story again.

Episode: C+

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