October 20, 1996 — The Catholic Church announces the “Melbourne Response”

The Melbourne Response was a program by the Catholic Church in Victoria aimed at responding to the rising number of complaints of sexual abuse being made against Catholic clergy in that state. It came from the highest levels of the church in the state, being led by Archbishop George Pell of Melbourne.

It was a great success, according to the Catholic Church.

It was less of a success according to the victims and their families, who were treated with suspicion, disdain, a lack of empathy (a charge often leveled against Pell in particular), pitifully small cash settlements and non-disclosure agreements. Some years later, the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse would not be impressed by the Melbourne Response, but it sure saved the church a lot of money and kept a lot of people from going public, and isn’t that what’s really important (to George Pell)?

October 30, 1938 – Orson Welles broadcasts “War of the Worlds”

It is probably the most infamous radio broadcast of all time: Orson Welles’ Halloween 1938 dramatisation of H.G. Wells’ “The War of the Worlds”.

Welles transplanted the story from England to Grover’s Mill, New Jersey, and told it as a series of news reports, keeping the tension and hysteria of it all steadily rising. It terrified audiences at the time – like a hell of a lot of Welles’ work it is arguably a great work of art, and an enormous prank at once.

Whether or not there was panic during the broadcast, there was considerable outrage afterwards – how that has to do with the alleged ‘cruelty’ of it, and how much with people just hating to be fooled is an open question.

Orson Welles War of the Worlds 1938

As mentioned in:

Radio Ga Ga — Queen