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Niagara Falls News

Martians Land Near Niagara Falls 47 Years Ago On Radio

Martians landed on Grand Island, Halloween night forty-seven years ago and invaded the Niagara Frontier, at least on WKBW radio. The show was “War of the Worlds” and it was adapted by KB Program Director Jeff Kaye and based on the 1938 Orson Welles radio drama. In Kaye’s drama the Martian invasion wiped out Niagara Falls, Buffalo and most of the world until the common germ put them down.


North Grand Island Bridge

The radio dramatization was intended to be a tribute to the famous Welles broadcast and Jeff Kaye tailored it to the Niagara region. The first Martian capsule landed on Grand Island and local authorities blew up both bridges connecting the Island to thwart their advance. Of course it didn’t stop the aliens and the broadcast had people on the north Grand Island bridge being swept down the Niagara River and over the Falls.

Martians Avoided Niagara Falls

Ironically, according to the reporters on WKBW radio the Martians headed south towards Buffalo and not north to see the majestic waterfall just one mile down river from Grand Island. Niagara Falls did play a part in the broadcast however as a fictitious Professor from Niagara University was brought in to explain the explosions on Mars and possible meteor landing on the Island.

The radio broadcast was promoted by WKBW radio and was intended to be part of the annual Halloween fun that the 50,000 watt juggernaut  radio station did each year. Jeff Kaye and the show’s director Dan Kriegler created a radio masterpiece and it indeed scared a number of people who had no idea what the Orson Welles broadcast had done thirty years earlier.

The next day the Niagara Gazette and Buffalo News reported on the martian invasion and the number of phone calls local police agencies received asking about the explosions on Grand Island and the chaos that ensued. Now forty-five years later the WKBW “War of the World’s” broadcast has become the single most famous radio show in the history of Buffalo radio.

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