Monday/August/10 2009 Filed in: Philosophy / World View
October 30, 1938 -- Bergen and McCarthy Save the World
One of the best known ventriloquist / dummy acts of all time was Edgar Bergen and his wooden-headed companion, Charlie McCarthy.
Though not technically the best voice-thrower -- his lips twisted a bit when he spoke -- Bergen was skilled enough to make audiences believe that dummy Charlie had a mind of his own.
Pulling the Strings
Amazingly, the act's greatest success was on radio. Charlie was the center of attention, often engaging one-on-one with guest stars. Bergen was happy to allow the dummy to have the spotlight while he pulled the strings in the shadows.
But something happened during the Bergen and McCarthy radio show on the night of October 30, 1938.
War of the Worlds
That same night, at precisely the same hour, Orson Welles broadcast the infamous War of the Worlds program on a competing network. The program was presented in such a way that tens of thousands of people across the country panicked, believing that the US was actually under attack from an alien enemy.
But many people listening to the radio that night never heard the sci-fi program because they were, instead, tuned the very popular Bergen-McCarthy show. Wikipedia reports that, consequently, some people credit the Bergen and McCarthy with "saving the world" that night.
No Clear Nor Present Danger
Of course, we understand now that there never was a genuine threat. The world was never really in danger. It was all make-believe. There was no pending apocalypse. Just a fabrication. Smoke and mirrors. An elaborate hoax.
Edgar Bergen and his wooden-headed companion, Charlie McCarthy. The world's greatest ventriloquist / dummy act until January 20, 2001.