Friday, 31 October 2014

Be Afraid, Be Very Afraid. Home. Alone. In the Dark.

There is nothing quite like a good fright. Especially on Halloween. You are invited to gather your loved ones together in the living room with the lights turned low, cuddle up with some pillows and blankets in front of the radio (okay, in this case, computer), and enjoy some of the most frightening shows ever produced for the theatre of the mind.

Our evening begins with the December 5, 1946 episode of Suspense starring Robert Taylor.

A real estate agent finds a manuscript in a house that's never been lived in.  The manuscript tells the story of a couple that rented that house, and on their first night, strange noises are heard, then blood is found running from under a locked closet door.

And now, SuspenseThe House in Cypress Canyon.

We now bring you the March 17, 1950 episode of Escape starring Vincent Price - Three Skeleton Key

Tonight's feature episode is Mercury Theatre on the Air's October 30, 1938 production of War of the Worlds directed and narrated by Orson Welles and adapted from the H.G. Wells novel.

The first two thirds of the 60-minute broadcast were presented as a series of simulated news bulletins, which suggested to many listeners that an actual alien invasion by Martians was currently in progress. Compounding the issue was the fact that the Mercury Theatre on the Air was a sustaining show (it ran without commercial breaks), adding to the program's realism. Although there were sensationalist accounts in the press about a supposed panic in response to the broadcast, the precise extent of listener response has been debated.

In the days following the adaptation, however, there was widespread outrage and panic by certain listeners, who had believed the events described in the program were real. The program's news-bulletin format was described as cruelly deceptive by some newspapers and public figures, leading to an outcry against the perpetrators of the broadcast. Despite these complaints, the episode secured Welles' fame as a dramatist.