Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Final Terror: Welles' `Worlds' Revisited

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Final Terror: Welles' `Worlds' Revisited

Article excerpt

THE TV movie "Without Warning" starts as a routine romance.

But then a special news advisory flashes on the screen. Forget the love story. Everyone on the planet Earth is in final jeopardy.

The movie, produced by David Wolper, airs on CBS Sunday (8 p.m. on Channel 4). It is a science-fiction drama within a drama featuring an asteroid onslaught imperiling Earth.

The film quickly shifts into a simulated newscast about a huge asteroid striking the planet - and the threat of more impacts.

The fictional "Evening World News" races from Washington to New York to meteorite impact sites in Wyoming, France and China to bring information to viewers as it's supposedly occurring.

An advisory reassures audiences that "Without Warning" is a "realistic depiction of fictional events. None of what you are seeing is actually happening."

A disclaimer opened and closed Orson Welles' legendary 1938 radio broadcast "War of the Worlds," but none was included during the program. The realistic drama about an alien invasion of Earth induced panic across the country.

"We're going to put the advisory up at intervals during the broadcast, so people don't go into heart attacks," says Wolper, who promises a surprise ending.

The "news reports" should have a realistic ring. They are read by experienced TV anchors and reporters, including Sander Vanocur, Bree Walker-Lampley, Sandy Hill and Warren Olney.

Segments were taped on location, then cut together to simulate an evening-long live newscast anchored by Vanocur, who worked for ABC News for 16 years.

Author Arthur C. Clarke ("2001: A Space Odyssey") appears as himself, as does Rep. George E. Brown Jr., D-Calif., chairman of the House's Science, Space & Technology Committee.

"Without Warning" was indirectly inspired by last summer's comet assault on Jupiter. Wolper says he dusted off a script from the 1970s which had gone unproduced.

The original script wasn't inspired by any '70s event similar to the Shoemaker-Levy 9 comet clash with Jupiter, which was the first time that scientists knew of a planetary collision in advance. …

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