Orson Welles’ broadcast his War of the Worlds Halloween radio show on October 30, 1938 at 8:00 PM from the CBS studios in New York City (see the data here). The radio play was carried by affiliate stations across the country. Some people assumed the story of Martians invading the Earth was real. While historians today tend to feel there was less panic than we’ve been led to believe, the incident demonstrated the power of technology to influence the public, and Orson Welles became famous.
The illusion of truth comes under the purview of the planet Neptune. Some people initially felt uncomfortable with the new radio technology because people could be “there” and yet “not there” at the same time, something like disincarnate spirits. Interestingly, transiting Neptune at the time of Welles’ broadcast was nearly exactly conjunct the U.S. Neptune (a Neptune return, which occurs approximately every 162-164 years, give or take). It was also nearly exactly parallel its own place in declination.
I use Evangeline Adams’ Gemini rising U.S. chart, which has Neptune square the Ascendant. Saturn is also closely contra-parallel Neptune in many U.S. charts. To me this reflects Americans’ preoccupation with image, the proliferation of celebrities, glamour, advertising and marketing, and the conflict between illusion and reality. And so the transiting Neptune in 1938 reiterates and accentuates these themes.
Orson Welles was born on May 6, 1915 at 7:00 AM in Kenosha, WI according to his birth certificate (see the Astrodatabank entry). With Gemini rising himself, he had an immediate resonance with America. His Jupiter in Pisces in the 10th made him a teller of tall tales, especially as it squared his and the U.S. Ascendants.
Welles’ powerful Jupiter in the 10th was also closely parallel a perhaps even stronger Mars in Aries in his 11th house, both in their ruling signs. And transiting Neptune activated these, nearly exactly contra-parallel Welles’ Jupiter and parallel his Jupiter at the time, bringing up the Neptunian ideas of deception, misunderstanding and image vs. reality. Welles gained great notoriety as a result of the broadcast, and become seduced by Hollywood. His first film Citizen Kane came out in 1941.
Some of the exaggerated response from the public to The War of the Worlds in 1938 was probably due to the disturbing events in Europe that would soon lead to WWII. Hitler, Mussolini and Stalin were already in control and Jews were actively persecuted in Germany. But that is a much larger Neptunian story.