Since Serial there’s been a surge in new documentary-style podcasts. I’ve written about Meet the Composer (still my favourite) and 99% Invisible before, but new shows keep coming to my attention. The latest is Between the Liner Notes by Matthew Billy, whose first episode explores the invention and development of the reel-to-reel tape player. Worth a listen.
On a more cheerful note, this week’s episode of 99% Invisible is great, as usual. It’s about the Ghost Army, an American World War II troop whose job it was to deceive the Nazis.
On the battlefield, the Ghost Army also did “sonic deception.” The sonic deception unit would record the sounds of troops amassing in tanks and trucks and then be able to play those sounds back over loud speakers.
The Ghost Army had a library of recordings of different engines moving over different terrain. Sonic Deception was so new to the Army that they made a top secret film (screened for a chosen few) to explain how it worked.
Before the war, Hitler had made fun of Americans for reacting to Orson Welles’ famous War of the Worlds Hallowe’en Prank. Nice to see his army essentially being punked by the same trick.