I love a good story, no matter what the format. Don't we all? I think my beginnings in hearing good stories began when I was very young. As a family we were constantly on the move. In fact I figured out that we moved about every two years until my sophmore year in high school. At least I was able to graduate with my class mates of, count 'em, "three" years. One of the wonderful things I discovered of traveling, moving or otherwise, was late at night they played a radio show I'll never forget. Our father would always search these out on the AM stations and eventually he'd come across it, around 11 pm or, (theme music here please) midnight! It was the CBS Radio Mystery Theater hosted by E.G. Marshall who would intone "Come in... Welcome" with the drums in the beginning, and the weird trumpet eliciting the hairs to stand up on the back of my neck. Hey, I was a kid, and this was scary stuff! The show featured actors from all walks of life. Anyone out there remember those? Man, that was some cool listening material. Some of of it was mystery, but some splashes of supernatural and un-explained, were thrown in there too. At least that's how I remember it. And yes, this is the official logo for the CBS Mystery Theater.
Later, as an adult, I learned writers for this show were Alfred Bester (who received the first Hugo Award ever given for Best Novel for The Demolished Man in 1953), and Henry Slesar ( many episodes of Alfred Hitchcock presents, Man From U.N.C.L.E., Twilight Zone, Tales of the Unexpected). And then there's Sam Dann, the writer that wrote 311 (out of 1,399) episodes of the CBS Radio Theater between 1974 and 1982. Where's his award? Whew!
I did learn from Wikipedia that: the episode "Children of Death", broadcast February 5, 1976, written by Sam Dann, served as the basis for Dann's 1979 novel, The Third Body, published by Popular Library. Another of his stories for Mystery Theater, "Goodbye Carl Erich" from the 1975 season, was also turned into a novel by the same name, first published in 1985.
Actors? Let me tell ya.... Roy Thinnes ( lead actor in The Invaders), Richard Crenna, Kim Hunter (Planet of the Apes "Zira" for the sci-fi geeks, but she was in decades of film) was in about 25 episodes, Jerry Stiller, Ruby Dee (The Stand), Amanda Plummer, Ed Ames, Kathleen Quinlan, Jerry Orbach, Agnes Moorehead, Kevin McCarthy, (Original Invastion of the Body Snathers), Casey Kasem (the voice of Top 40!), and did you know John Lithgow was in ten episodes! Too many more to mention here.
For years I wanted to share these with my family, but as far as I know they were never produced for public sale. I recently found an MP3 set of all the episodes for a few bucks! For me, this was a wonderful find. I would think there would be market for these episodes. But then again, I grew up in a world of four - FOUR - TV channels, and a few radio stations. Now, you could stay awake 24-7 and "never" be able to see or do all that's available today. Movies, video games that can take days (weeks) to complete, tv series, et el. What's funny about that is, I remember when television stations would go "off" the air at night. They would show the American Flag of the US and play our anthem, and then fooossssshhhhhh white static until the morning programs. The youngun's today can't even imagine a world like that. Hey, don't get me wrong, I like a lot of what I can do today with the technology that's been passed around to us. But in many ways it seems just too busy. With that said, it's time to go out and throw the new Frisbee I bought for the family. Something we can do "outside" and physical. Of course, if we're not sure what we're doing with it, or how to throw it, this Frisbee came with a DVD. Go figger.
Listen to episodes of the CBS Radio Mystery Theater HERE!