Share / Discuss

UFOs! Terror! Quakers!

Oct. 30 marks the 80th anniversary of Orson Welles’s 1938 War of the Worlds radio broadcast.

My favorite Swarthmore memory is our 1948 rebroadcast on WSRN. My freshman roommate, the late Ted Conant ’51, had a 16-inch radio transcription bootleg recording. “SN” was the center of all sorts of weird, interesting, and semi-nefarious activities, so we used it to do our own broadcast with Swarthmore inserts. (“From Parrish Hall, I can see the Chester shipyard cranes by the light of the flames!”)

Our signal was limited to campus and Michael’s, the drugstore in the Ville, through an amplifier and loudspeaker. But my recollection is that a Chester Times reporter in Michael’s heard it and interviewed us for the paper.

We enjoyed what we did, and I don’t remember any scoldings from the administration. By that time, they were used to the high jinks at SN, of which there were plenty.