Old Time Radio Horror, Mystery Collection (OTR) (2 x mp3 DVD)
This massive collection contains some of the best old time radio horror and mystery shows ever broadcast.
The Haunting Hour (38 episodes)
This old time radio show was billed as "Mystery at its Best" solves psychological mysterie, "whodunit" thrillers and crime crusades with a cast of network stars.
The Haunting Hour is a very mysterious show. First, let's note that the Haunting Half-Hour would actually be correct, but an odd title for the show. So Haunting Hour it was.
The second mystery is that, like so many of the great radio talents who labored in the background, unseen and unheralded, this show made for transcription has receded into the ethers of old time radio without a history. That is, the Magister Ludi of Old Time Radio himself, John Dunning, succinctly states in 'On the Air, The Encyclopedia of Old Time Radio', "There were no credits, so casts and production crews are unknown".
The shows are classic chills from the old school, with creepy organ, overwrought women and over the top men. Perhaps not the highest of melodrama, but obsessively workmanlike. After all, they might have known they were a skeleton staff toiling relentlessly without a ghost of a chance of fame. Thanks to transcription, these unknowns are still with us.
Witch's Tale (44 episodes)
Begun regionally on WOR radio in New York, this is one of the earliest of the horror genre shows. It also helped begin a trend in creepy hosts that "lives" on to this day in popular entertainment. "Old Nancy, the witch of Salem," was the cackling host of the show, and she was a caution! She quickly became a favorite of New York kids in the 1930's, who imitated her quips and cackles to scare their younger brothers and sisters at night.
Since Nancy was a witch from Salem, she knew of the old days, and relished a historical, and often hysterical, setting with her charming cat, Satan!
Nightfall (106 episodes)
Nightfall was the brainchild of producer Bill Howell, who was best known at the time for his work on CBC Playhouse and the cult favorite adventure series, Johnny Chase: Secret Agent of Space. (Howell later went on to be executive producer of CBC Radio's highly-popular series, The Mystery Project, which ran from 1992 to 2004.) When CBC Radio was revamped and given an expanded budget in 1980, Howell approached the newly-appointed Head of Radio Drama, Susan Rubes, about his idea for a supernatural/horror anthology series that would push the envelope. Though not a fan of the horror genre, Rubes recognized a hit when she saw one and gave Howell the green light to begin production.
Inner Sanctum (171 episodes)
The anthology series featured stories of mystery, terror and suspense, and its tongue-in-cheek introductions were in sharp contrast to shows like Suspense and The Whistler. The early 1940s programs opened with Raymond Edward Johnson introducing himself as, "Your host, Raymond," in a mocking sardonic voice. A spooky melodramatic organ score (played by Lew White) punctuated Raymond's many morbid jokes and playful puns. Raymond's closing was an elongated "Pleasant dreeeeaams, hmmmmm?" His tongue-in-cheek style and ghoulish relish of his own tales became the standard for many such horror narrators to follow, from fellow radio hosts like Ernest Chappell (on Wyllis Cooper's later series, Quiet, Please) and Maurice Tarplin (on The Mysterious Traveler).
Lights Out (97 episodes)
Lights Out debuted in 1934 and was radio's premier horror series. Director and writer, Wyllis Cooper's writing was characterized by grisly stories always matched with the appropriate acting and sound effects, he conceived in 1933 the idea of writing a dramatic midnight mystery serial catchy enough to the listeners' attention at a time when the competition was mostly airing music. It was however dropped in favor of an anthology emphasizing crime thrillers and the supernatural. He stayed with this program until June 1936 when another Chicago writer, Arch Oboler, took over. By the time Cooper left, the series had inspired about 600 fan clubs.
Arch Oboler was eccentric and ambitious when he took over and picked up where Cooper left off, following the latter's general example but investing the scripts with his own concerns using streams of conscious narration and sometimes social and political themes that reflected his commitment to anti-fascist liberalism. Although Lights Out would be closely associated with Oboler later on, he would always credit Wyllis Cooper as the series' creator and spoke highly of him as "the unsung pioneer of radio dramatic techniques" and the first person he knew who understood that radio drama is an art form.
Sleep no More (20 episodes)
An interestingly different show, Sleep No More offers dramatic readings of thriller stories (often two or three per show) rather than dramatizations by a full cast. Nelson Omstead reads the thrill chills with backup spooky music and fantastic sound effects. This series ran from 1952 to Nov 1956 as 15 minute shows and then on as 30 minute shows. Get out the butter churn and get your blood curdling because Sleep No More will really thrill!
Quiet Please (91 episodes)
Quiet, Please! was an old-time radio fantasy and horror program created by Wyllis Cooper, also known for creating Lights Out. Ernest Chappell was the show's announcer and lead actor. Quiet, Please! was first broadcast by on June 8, 1947 by the Mutual Broadcasting System, and its last episode ran on June 25, 1949, by ABC. A total of 106 shows were broadcast, with only a very few of them repeats.
Earning relatively little notice during its initial run, Quiet, Please! has since been praised as one of the finest efforts of the golden age of American radio drama. Professor Richard J. Hand of the University of Glamorgan (author of probably the most detailed critical analysis of the series) argues that with Quiet, Please, Cooper and Chappell "created works of astonishing originality"; he further describes the program as an "extraordinary body of work", which established Cooper "as one of the greatest authors of horror radio." Similarly, radio historian Ron Lackmann declares that the episodes "were exceptionally well written and outstandingly acted", while John Dunning describes the show as "a potent series bristling with rich imagination."
Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (58 episodes)
Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde was a 15 minute radio serial that ran for 52 episodes from September 9, 1943 to February 16, 1944 starring George Edwards.
Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde is the original title of a novella written by the Scottish author Robert Louis Stevenson and first published in 1886. The work is commonly known today as The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde or Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde. It is about a London lawyer named Gabriel John Utterson who investigates strange occurrences between his old friend, Dr. Henry Jekyll, and the misanthropic Mr. Edward Hyde.
The work is known for its vivid portrayal of a split personality, split in the sense that within the same person there is both an apparently good and an evil personality each being quite distinct from the other. The novella's impact is such that it has become a part of the language, with the phrase "Jekyll and Hyde" coming to mean a person who is vastly different in moral character from one situation to the next.
Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde was an immediate success and is one of Stevenson's best-selling works. Stage adaptations began in Boston and London within a year of its publication and it has gone on to inspire scores of major film and stage performances.
Frankenstein (13 episodes)
Frankenstein, or, The Modern Prometheus is a novel written by the British author Mary Shelley. Shelley wrote the novel when she was 19 years old. The first edition was published anonymously in London in 1818. Shelley's name appears on the revised third edition, published in 1831. The title of the novel refers to a scientist who learns how to reanimate flesh and creates a being in the likeness of man out of body parts taken from the dead. In modern popular culture, people have tended to refer to the Creature as "Frankenstein" (especially in films since 1931).
Frankenstein is a novel infused with some elements of the Gothic novel and the Romantic movement. It was also a warning against the "over-reaching" of modern man and the Industrial Revolution, alluded to in the novel's subtitle, The Modern Prometheus. The story has had an influence across literature and popular culture and spawned a complete genre of horror stories and films. The novel questions many debates that can be linked to today's culture. The evolution of man and the extent to which man collects knowledge can ultimately backfire and fail to produce any good outcomes.
Peril (24 episodes)
Peril, stories of suspense, is a syndicated old time radio show. The plots of the shows vary from week to week but most of the shows deal with the topic of the limitation of human morality.
Four actresses receive an invitation to a deserted house only to be trapped by a murderous fiend. Two conjoined brothers (who argue a lot and are in love with the same woman) plan to be separated; the operation is complicated when one of the twins will not survive. A woman and her boyfriend kill her disabled husband, who happened to be filthy rich.
The plots of Peril are original and well constructed, the characters of complex, and the acting is surprisingly good as there are not many recognizable actors in this show. The conflict of each show builds and there are twist and turns.
Weird Circle (78 episodes)
Along with Mercury Theatre on the Air, Columbia Workshop, Great Scenes From Great Plays, Screen Guild Theater, and Lux Radio Theater, The Weird Circle brought to life the works of great authors in the history of letters in the English language.
The program adapted several Edgar Allan Poe works, as well as great treasures from Robert Louis Stevenson, Guy de Maupassant, Hans Christian Anderson, and Charles Dickens. However, The Weird Circle had a particular niche, the adaptation of horror stories or other chilling tales of the paranormal or supernatural.
Dark Fantasy (27 episodes)
Dark Fantasy was a horror/ suspense thriller old time radio program that consisted of thirty-one (31) short episodes that aired from November 21, 1941 until June 19, 1942 broadcasting from Station WKY in Oklahoma City. Though the anthology barely made a year of air time, it managed to capture a huge audience due to the creepy and disturbing nature of its narratives. Each story in the series dealt with the secrets of the unknown, ranging anywhere from bone-chilling tales from the crypt, science fiction and murder mysteries. In the golden age of radio, Dark Fantasy was the breath of fresh air that revived interest in the horror genre. Also known for his work on The Mysterious Traveler and The Sealed Book, Scott Bishop managed to merge the supernatural with science fiction, and injected it with a twist of old-fashioned folklore. As old radio shows went, Dark Fantasy was way ahead of its time. Thrill yourself with the spine-tingling adventures in the Dark Fantasy anthology!
Mystery in the Air (8 episodes)
A summer season, a creaking hinge, a soft gasp, a sharp scream in the night ! Mystery in the Air was a short lived mystery and suspense series, hosted and acted in by Peter Lorre, an actor who would later gain “B” movie cult status in the Hammer films. He is well known among horror fans, and his voice here is often wonderful.
In one of the all time great quotes, from a perhaps apocryphal anecdote related by Vincent Price, Lorre is reported to have attended Bela Lugosi's funeral, and whispered as an aside to Vincent, “Do you think we should drive a stake through his heart, just to be sure?”
Hermit's Cave (29 episodes)
One of the first of the "best heard in the dark" horror shows with a spooky host, The Hermit's Cave starred John Kent in the Detroit run, and on the west coast, Mel Johnson, as the Old Hermit who shambled out of the mouth of his cave, warning the faint of heart not to listen. Was the Hermit's Cave wired for radio? No matter!
Origin of Superstition (39 episodes)
Origin of Superstition offers such truly enlightening and fascinating tales of superstitions that you will want to repeat them to all your friends.
Why is Timmy afraid of the boogey man? Why does Aunt Ethel always carry a rabbit's foot around? Why doesn't papa ever open an umbrella in the house?
Pick up your four leaf clover and keep an eye out for a shooting star, because this is going to be one show you won't want to miss!
Murder at Midnight (41 episodes)
From the pens of some of the most talented writers working in radio, (including Robert Newman, Max Ehrlich, and William Norwood) Murder at Midnight delivered tales of supernatural suspense and macabre crime. Hosted by Raymond Morgan, it is believed that 50 episodes were produced. The show was briefly rebroadcast in 1950, but there were no new episodes made, as all of that creative talent had already been snapped up by other shows.
Format: 2 x mp3 DVD.
Contained in: Transparent plastic wallets.