Resident’s ‘War of the Worlds’ audio production at Mt. Laurel Library on Oct. 26
There’s a war coming to the Mt. Laurel Library — a war of the worlds.
On Oct. 26, members of the public can join the Mt. Laurel Library for a presentation of Mt. Laurel author and voice actor Christopher H. Baum’s modernized audio production of “War of the Worlds,” a show adapted from Orson Welles’ 1938 radio performance of H.G. Wells’ classic tale of alien invasion.
Baum originally produced the show in 2013 and had it aired on website the KryptonRadio.com to commemorate the 75th anniversary of Welles’ 1938 radio show, which famously presented the story as a live news broadcast and caused news media of the time to report panic across the nation.
Although Welles’ 1938 adaption was performed in the style of a live news broadcast, Baum’s adaption casts himself as a survivor of the alien invasion, narrating a record of his account.
“It’s basically this guy who has survived and he’s recounting the events of his recent past while he’s in a bombed-out house in Moorestown,” Baum said, highlighting another change from Welles’ 1938 adaption.
While Welles had his alien invasion famously begin in Grover’s Mill, an unincorporated community within West Windsor Township, Baum’s story moves the action about 25 miles south to Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst and other nearby communities.
When asked what first attracted him to “The War of the Worlds,” Baum said while growing up, Welles’ broadcast was legendary in the area, but he recalls always having been a fan of the story’s 1950s film adaption starring Gene Barry.
“One of the earliest memories I have is being able to stay up late and watch this movie with my father,” Baum recalls. “I’m one of five kids, so any time I got to spend with my dad like that was really important.”
Aside from his own talents, Baum said he was able to cast 14 voice artists from across the nation in his production, many of whom he met through online communities such as audio narration service Spoken Layer.
According to Baum, his cast comes from a range of locations, ages and races, as well as work experience in backgrounds such as commercials, television series, video games and more.
“The cast of people I was able to assemble for this was pretty impressive,” Baum said.
Baum said modern technology allowed him to create entire conversations from people who were recorded on different equipment, in different locations, at different times.
“The funny thing is almost none of these people have met each other or me,” Baum said. “It was recorded all over the country and edited together by me. Something like 56 voices and tracks that I did in my home studio.”
In addition to Baum’s production, the Mt. Laurel Library also has a display featuring some of Baum’s “War of the Worlds” memorabilia, including local maps, models and comic illustrations.
Baum, who came to voice work later in life, describes it as a nice, creative outlet where he got to meet a lot of fascinating people digitally.
“I was and still am an IT consultant, but the voice thing has always stuck with me, and with technology coming along and having some time to experiment, as it turns out, I was pretty good at it,” Baum said.
The Oct. 26 presentation of Baum’s “War of the Worlds” will take place at the Mt. Laurel Library starting at 7 p.m. in Meeting Room 1 and 2. The 50-minute audio presentation will be followed by a Q&A session with Baum.
No registration is needed.
To learn more about the event, visit www.mtlaurel.lib.nj.us.