Orson Welles

Denny Hatch is the author of six books on marketing and four novels, and is a direct marketing writer, designer and consultant. His latest book is “Write Everything Right!” Visit him at dennyhatch.com.

In 1938, when Orson Welles adapted H.G. Wells’ novel, “The War of the Worlds,” for radio, it sounded like a real-time news broadcast. Millions of listeners went door-to-door notifying their neighbors of the “invasion,” causing a panic. The influence that peers had on one another during Welles’ broadcast is an early predecessor to the word-of-mouth campaigns marketers use today. Netflix, the world’s largest online movie rental service, has built word-of-mouth into its direct marketing campaigns using a tell-a-friend direct mail offer. The offer must travel from the Netflix member’s mailbox, into a friend’s hands and then finally push that friend online in order to

I damn near did not get today’s column done. I started reading Jack Valenti’s memoir, “This Time, This Place: My Life in War, the White House and Hollywood” and it grabbed me by the throat and would not let go. Valenti, a World War II bomber pilot who flew 51 missions over Italy, died at age 85 on April 26, just six weeks before publication. In the following half-century after his discharge from the Army Air Corps, Jack Valenti bestrode the mighty worlds of Washington and Hollywood like a colossus, quite a feat for someone a mere five foot five inches tall.

For years, audiences have suspected that Britney Spears was lip-synching at her live performances. As one fan wrote in a blog: In her concerts when her microphone is turned on for her to talk to the audience, you can hear Spears gasping and trying to catch her breath and seconds later when she breaks back into song, she is smoothly singing without a problem, yet somehow her fans are just catching on that she might not be the “live” singer they thought she was. Last week, America’s hottest little pop tart was hoist by her own petard. During her show in Orlando, Fla., the

What goes around comes around. The story of fake and counterfeit drugs being shipped all over Southeast Asia that are responsible for the deaths of 200,000 or more people annually was foreshadowed by the 1949 thriller, The Third Man, set in post-World War II Vienna. Directed by Carol Reed and starring Orson Welles and Joseph Cotten, The Third Man was deemed the finest British film ever made by the British Film Institute in 2000, and is the only British film in the American Film Institute’s 1996 list of greatest films of all time. It ranks #57. We spent four days in Vienna in 2005,

Art with a Capital F March 21, 2006: Vol. 2, Issue No. 22 IN THE NEWS Picasso's Daughter Says Drawing Is a Fake Maya Widmaier-Picasso, a daughter of Picasso who authenticates works attributed to him, said yesterday in Paris that a $40,000 drawing purchased by a California man through Costco last year was a fake. —Daphné Angelés and Carol Kino, The New York Times, March 18, 2006 We don't shop at Costco, but I know people who swear by it. My wife, Peggy, and I—with a tiny 16-foot-wide townhouse—cannot buy food in bulk, because we don't have the storage space, nor do

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