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PostPosted: Sat Apr 09, 2005 7:38 pm 

Joined: Thu Jan 13, 2005 9:37 pm
Posts: 13
Location: Los Angeles
In a message dated 4/5/2005 4:43:24 PM Pacific Daylight Time, (e-mail deleted) writes:<br /><br /><br />I read with interest that some years ago you wrote a version of WOTW.<br /><br />I am a British actor and have often thought that WOTW deserves to be produced here as a stage play. I am unclear however about the copywright position of the original script.<br /><br />I wonder whether your play has ever been performed?<br /><br /><br />Hi, Actually, what I did was transcribe the Howard Koch radio play from a recording. It was slightly different from the version of the radioplay that appears in THE PANIC BROADCAST, the paperback that Koch put out in the late 1960s. According to information in that book, the radio play may still be under copyright, which surprises me because Koch was, presumably, a CBS employee in Oct., 1938, which would indicate to me that CBS would own it. The version of the radio play in that book became the basis of the film THE NIGHT THAT PANICKED AMERICA which was co-written by Nicholas Meyer ("Time After Time," "The 7% Solution," Star Trek II and VI). <br /><br />I still have my transcript, complete with my own directions and notations regarding musical cues.<br /><br />One thing that I learned recently: I had thought that Bernard Herrmann, the music director for the Mercury Theater on the Air, had written 2 original pieces for the broadcast. An intermission and an end title. He later re-used his end title for the end of the 1944 film of "Jane Eyre" which starred Orson Welles, but his intermission was not his--it comes from the prelude to Debussy's Pelleas and Mellisande. <br /><br />My understanding of the copyright situation: there is a split, in the USA "The War of the Worlds"--the novel by Wells, is p.d (public domain). In the EU it is under copyright until 2016 (Wells died in 1946, copyright in EU is life+70 years). I believe, but am not certain, that when Jeff Wayne did his rock version of "War" he obtained the rights from the Wells estate. How and what arrangements were made with respect to the new versions of the story, both Spielberg's and Pendragon's, I don't know but since they would want to release worldwide, the rights would have had to have been cleared up in Europe despite the story being p.d. in the USA.<br /><br />A few years ago, staged plays of the radio broadcast were put on in the USA and in the UK. The UK productions were shut down because of EU copyright but the USA productions were unmolested as far as a I recall.<br /><br />My "play" was only performed for the recording we made in 1976. I added a lot of musical underscore from records of the time and it is likely that the recording violates about 3 dozen copyrights, mostly music. I finally transferred the audiorecording to the digital realm and can spit out CDRs of it. <br /><br />I created a lot of my own sound effects, combining those with recordings of sound effects from various sources (including the movies THE WAR OF THE WORLDS and ROBINSON CRUSOE ON MARS, both created by the sound effects people at Paramount for those films). In fact, the sound of the martian machine used in THE NIGHT THAT PANICKED AMERICA comes from a sound effect from ROBINSON CRUSOE ON MARS. <br /><br />One thing I learned about a year ago pertained to a question I had for years. In the old days or radio, most everything was LIVE. A cast and crew would perform a radio play first for the eastern time zone and central time zone in the USA, then come back 3 hours later to redo the show for the western time zone. However, with THE WAR OF THE WORLDS radio broadcast it was live to the whole USA--this I determined by looking at the radio schedule for Los Angeles in the Oct. 20, 1938 edition of the Los Angeles Times, on microfilm at the main Los Angeles public library. The schedule showed that The Mercury Theater on the Air was to be broadcast at 5:00 pm Los Angeles time. In New York it was 8:00 pm.

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