"I am the Whistler, and I know many things, for I walk by night. I know many strange tales, hidden in the hearts of men and women who have stepped into the shadows. Yes... I know the nameless terrors of which they dare not speak."
CBS had a talent for "pull the sheet over your head" radio shows with programs like Suspense and Escape. Mutual also had their share of spine tinglers with selections like The Mysterious Traveller and The Witches Tale. Of course the Blue Network (later ABC) had The Inner Sanctum Mysteries, and NBC was also the home of Lights Out under both Wyllis Cooper and Arch Oboler.
Arguably the greatest of them all was The Whistler which played on CBS's West Coast network for thirteen years beginning May 16, 1942. Although there were a number of different players involved in the program, The Whistler is unique among network radio dramas in that the program never took a summer break during the entire thirteen year run.
Thirteen years without a break means there are a lot of The Whistler episodes for fans to enjoy, perhaps an overwhelming amount. Our selections in the Best of The Whistler Collection are a less intimidating sampling of great radio mysteries.
With the introduction's clicking footsteps, the lonesome whistled tune courtesy of Dorothy Roberts, and the The Whistler's own ominous warning, the listener knows that there is trouble in the air. The Whistler took a decidedly different approach to murder than other programs. The stories are told from the killer's point of view, with the narrating The Whistler providing commentary. The Whistler often took the role of Greek Chorus, talking directly to the unhearing protagonist. Of course, no matter how smart or careful the killer is, there is no way they can get away with it. Usually, there is a simple flaw in the plans which undoes the killer when he least expects it.
Although The Whistler only played in the East for two and a half years, from 1946 through 1948, the program did spawn a successful series of noir films, The Whistler (1944), The Mark of the Whistler (1944), The Power of the Whistler (1945), The Voice of the Whistler (1945), Mysterious Intruder (1946), The Secret of the Whistler (1946), The Thirteenth Hour (1947) and The Return of the Whistler (1948).