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Horror and Mystery on the Radio

Phantom of Opera Frankenstein

Radio is the ideal medium for horror and mystery entertainment. In the minds eye, old time radio horror and mystery shows can conjure the most frightening of scary sensations. With sound effects, good timing, and the power of suggestion horror and mystery in classic old time radio created some of the scariest and most memorable horror productions in history.

In many ways, horror radio shows differ from horror in film. In film, when the monster or antagonist is shown, it diminishes its veracity--especially if the monster suit looks fake or silly. Images that the listener pictures in his own mind-eye are often scarier than what a make-up artist or producer deems as visually frightening.

Vincent Price

Another reason why radio is scarier than film is lighting and perspective. If we see the person stuck in a pitch black haunted house or stuck in a coffin, the fear is slightly diminished. If we picture ourselves stuck in a dark room or coffin, the intensity of the fright is much more genuine.

Macabre Excerpt (1932): Buried Alive in a Coffin (1:30 min)

The boundaries of horror blur with other genres including drama, crime, science fiction, and even comedy known as black humor. Any topic was made available and spooky, building suspense and danger in the listener's ear. Topics of the horror genre vary widely including monsters and ghouls, noir horror, and the scariest of them all: man.



Introduction and Hosts

Miriam Wolfe, 12 years old, took on the voice role of 'Old Nancy' the witch.As characters week to week were slashed, murdered, killed, and/or driven insane among other atrocities, we could count on the host returning week to week. This allowed the audience to form an attachment to the show.

Much credit is due to the use of a host in Witch's Tale, one of the earliest old time radio horror shows. Cackling Old Nancy and her cat, Satan (meows provided by producer Alonzo Dean Cole), introduced each show and ended with a tongue and cheek epilogue. Old Nancy was originally played by the 75 year old Adelaide Fitz-Allen. Upon her death, the very young 13-year-old Miriam Wolfe, whose previous experience until that time was on the children's show Let's Pretend, assumed the role of Old Nancy:

Witch's Tale excerpt (1932): Old Nancy Introduction (0:30 min)

Inner SanctumThe introductions on many of the horror radio shows featured tongue and cheek narrations with ghoulish hosts including Ernest Chappell on Quiet, Please, and Maurice Tarplin on The Mysterious Traveler, the Hermit on Hermit's Dave, and the Keeper on Sealed Book. Opening with a creaking door and organ rifts, Inner Sanctum featured Host Raymond Johnson with a tongue and cheek introductions filled with macabre puns. Your Host Raymond ended with "Pleasant dreaaaams, hmm?"

Excerpt from ending of Inner Sanctum Mysteries (1946): "Pleasant dreaaaams, hmm?" (0:12 min)

Other horror old time radio shows feature a more serious host such as The Man in Black on Suspense and The Whistler. Orson Welles ended Black Museum with: "Now until we meet again in the same place and I tell you another tale of the Black Museum", his signature phrase, "I remain, as always, obediently yours."

Excerpt from ending of Black Museum (138): "I remain, as always, obediently yours." (0:15 min)

Both Wyllis Cooper and Arch Oboler opened the show Lights Out with a warning those with "timid soul" to turn off their radios.

Horror film stars also appeared in old time radio show including Boris Karloff, Peter Lorre, Bela Lugosi and Vincent Price. Peter Lorre hosted show Mystery House and Mystery in the Air.


Inner SanctumOrson Welles was against interrupting horror shows with sponsor ads. In Mercury Theater, producers omitted advertisements for Pabst Blue Ribbon during the show so the suspense could be built "from spooky start to spooky finish." Vincent Price also disagreed with interrupting horror shows with advertisements, saying it was the over commercialization of radio.

How could horror and mystery show integrate sponsors with the heightened drama of a scary show? In Lights Out and among other shows the host would welcome you back, and give a quick recap of the show.

One show that weaved its sponsorship with the show was Inner Sanctum. The drama was interrupted with conversations between macabre "Your Host Raymond" and cheerful Lipton Tea Lady Mary Bennett. These quick skits are amusing, as Mary attempts to steer the conversation back to Lipton Tea or Lipton Soup and Raymond makes puns and light jokes about the characters in the story.

Lipton Commercial exceprt from Inner Sanctum (1946)
Mary and "Your Host Raymond" banter (1:15 min)


Orson Welles' Mercury Theater (Campbell's Playhouse)

After directing a seven-part radio serial adaptation of Victor Hugo's Les Miserables, the Mutual network approached Orson Welles to make an hour long dramatic radio program for the summer on 1938. Campbells PlayhouseWelles insisted on including the Mercury Theatre troupe included Joseph Cotten, Martin Gabel, Agnes Moorehead, Ray Collins, Hans Conreid, Paul Stewart, Will Geer, George Coulouris, Olive Stanton, and Everett Sloane. Under Orson Welles complete creative control, Mercury Theater run was extended beyond the summer months.

Orson Welles based the scripts of the shows on literary works such as "A Tale of Two Cities," "Heart of Darkness," "Dracula,' "The Count of Monte Cristo," and most famously "War of the Worlds." The October 30, 1938 adaptation of H. G. Wells' "The War of the Worlds" or "Halloween hoax" episode sent people into the streets in panic that the Martians were invading. The show forever changed broadcast history because of its realism and highlighted the broad cultural impact of the radio medium.

Mercury Theater (1938): War of the Worlds (60 min)

The "War of the Worlds Broadcast" made Orson Welles into a household name and attracted the sponsorship of Campbell's Soup. Mercury Theater was renamed Campbell's Playhouse and the theater troupe moved to Hollywood.



Orson Welles' Black Museum

Black museum is a crime drama hosted by Chief Superintendent John Davidson, the pretend curator of the Black Museum at Scotland Yard. The show featured stories inspired by artifacts held by the real London crime museum, nickname "Black Museum." The real Black Museum features gruesome exhibits from famous cases, including Jack the Ripper, dating back to 1875 and is not open to the public.

Orson WellesLike Dragnet and other shows based on true events, Black museum is based on real crimes. In the Black museum collection, there is a log of the real crime committed that each show was based on.

Orson Welles, with his usual theatrical flare opened the show with:

"This is Orson Welles speaking from London." [Big Ben starts chiming in the background]. "The Black Museum, repository of death... Here, in this grim stone structure on the Thames which houses Scotland Yard, is a warehouse of homicide, where everyday objects, a piece of wire, a chemist's flask, a silver shilling, all are touched by murder." [dramatic music]

Black Museum
(1938): Introduction by Orson Welles (0:35 min)


Lights Out

The brainchild of Wyllis Cooper, Lights Out was first produced out of Chicago in the fall of 1933. Wyllis Cooper wanted Lights Out to be "a midnight mystery serial to catch the attention of the listeners at the witching hour." The show was innovative and Cooper developed some of the first sound effects. When Wyllis Cooper's workload from other writing commitments gave him less time to work on Lights Out, a young ambitious writer named Arch Oboler filled his shoes.

Willis CooperArch OblerArch Oboler wrote scripts while still in high school in Chicago, Ill. He was made famous with the Mae West and Don Ameche Garden of Eden sketch on Edgar Bergen and Charlie McCarthy that resulted in Mae West being banned from radio. Arch Oboler took the reigns of Lights Out when Wyllis Cooper left the show for Hollywood. Lights Out aficionados often separate between Wyllis Cooper reign and Arch Oboler.

Arch Oboler continued with innovative sound effect used by Wyllis Cooper and invented his own including the much sited wet rubber glove for the sound of a man turning inside out. Arch Oboler also kept the same gruesome stories, but unlike Cooper Oboler insinuated that the stories could be true.

Wyllis Cooper already set the standard for Lights Out as the most gruesome and notorious radio show on air, Arch Oboler looked to spook audience even more. His first broadcast was the horrifying "Burial Service" about a paralyzed girl buried alive. The show sparked outrage and letters flooded the station.

Arch Oboler sprinkled Lights Out with occasionally drama shows that focused on political themes. This interest in anti-Nazi and social radio shows led to Arch Oboler Plays , an anthology created during WWII. Arch Oboler Plays (1939-1940) was a platform for Oboler's anti-facist beliefs and stars clamored to get in including Ingrid Bergman, James Cagney, Joan Crawford, Katharine Hepburn, Peter Lorre, Frank Lovejoy, and many more. Arch Oboler eventually left radio to write for the big screen.




Roma WinesSuspense is a classic horror and mystery old time radio show. One of the longest running radio drama, Suspense broadcast ran between 1942-1962. The show also had a brief run on television from 1949-1954 and there was a Suspense Magazine tied with the show from 1946-1947. During it's twenty-year run, Suspense changed hosts, sponsors, directors, and producers. Originally hosted by "the man in black" first Joseph Kearns and then Ted Osborne. Roma Wines (R-O-M-A Roma Wines!) first sponsored the show and then Autolite Spark Plugs sponsored the Suspense. Agnes Moorehead best known for her performance on Lucille Fletcher's "Sorry, Wrong Number" on Suspense.

Suspense (1948): Sorry Wrong Number(30 min)

HitchcockAlfred Hitchcock directed the audition episode of Suspense, presented on the show Forecast. The show was a version of Hitchcock film "The Lodger." Mystery writer John Dickson Carr wrote many episodes.

With a large budget Suspense had many well-known performers on the show including Orson Welles, Agnes Moorehead, Gene Kelly, Alan Ladd, Jack Webb, Jimmy Stewart, Henry Fonda, Humphrey Bogart, Ronald Colman and Cary Grant. Even comedians like Jack Benny and Jim and Marian Jordan (Fibber McGee and Molly). Musicians Phil Harris and Alice Faye guest starred in "Death on My Hands."




Monster Created by Electronic Computer

Like all old time radio shows, horrors show had to stick to time constraints, sponsor's demands, and the regular foibles of putting on a production. The old time radio horror shows attracted big name stars, big budgets, and creative people. In old time radio horror shows, producers used sound effects, plot, actor's performances, and the human imagination to strike fear in the listening audience. It's in the mind's eye where the most terrifying of all images are created. In this way, radio is the ideal medium to enjoy horror genre.


Favorite Mysteries

Highlighted OTRCAT Mystery-Horror Special Collections: Special spooky compilations of handpicked Horror and Mystery Old Time Radio Shows:

Comedians in Suspense Comedians in Suspense - Hear your favorite comedians in ways that you would never expect!
Boogeymen in Comedy Boogeymen in Comedy - Shudder and Laugh! Our favorite screen scream stars (Boris Karloff, Peter Lorre, Bela Lugosi, and Vincent Price) having fun with comics.
Apocolypse Apocolypse Collection What's scarier than the end of the world? Duck and cover, plagues, robot attacks, time travel, annihilation, Cold War Speeches, and more!
Blind Terror Blind Terror Old Time Radio horror and mystery shows about blindness, losing one's vision, and people with visual impairment.
Boo Broadcasts Radio Shows Boo Broadcasts includes shows specifically about ghosts, haunted houses, and eerie sounds in the night.
Creepiest Old Time Radio Shows Creepiest Radio Shows Collection Turn the lights down low and sit as close as you can to your Sweetheart when this scary collection plays!
Devils in Old Time Radio Devils, Demons, Satan, and Lucifer in Old Time Radio! In this collection where the Devil himself actually shows up perhaps as a stand-ins for "the evil which lurks in the hearts of men."
Gothic Horror Radio Shows Gothic Horror Collection features creepy shows contrasting the innocent victims with the super evil villains find their home in the theater of the mind.
Halloween Scary Sampler Halloween Scary Sampler has some of the greatest spooky radio shows for the festive season listening.
Halloween Variety Shows Halloween Variety Specials Collection is a fang-tastic compilations comedic radio Halloween special shows.
Highway of Horrors Highway of Horrors - spooky tales of freaky freeways, rocky roads, and terror on the turnpikes, this collection is filled with murderers, joyriders, hitchhikers, and kidnapping from Inner Sanctum, X Minus One, Big Town, Dragnet, Suspense, and more.
Haunted House Collection Haunted House Collection - radio is the perfect medium for a good haunted house story because not seeing the ghost is almost equally as frightening as seeing one.
Aliens Martians UFO Radio Shows Martians, Aliens, and UFOs is a wonderful science fiction collection with little green men, Martians, and flying saucers. The most memorable in this sub-genre is Orson Welles' radio adaptation of H.G. Wells "War of the Worlds" in Mercury Theater.
Monster Collection Monster Collection featuring monsters of all shapes and sizes from Dracula, Frankenstein's, zombies, and swamp monsters. There is a long literary and cinematic, and radio history featuring monsters.
Robots Old Time Radio Robots Collection features another horror sub-genre focusing on Robots and other artificially intelligent creatures.
Superstition in Old Time Radio Superstition in Old Time Radio Break a Mirror, follow a Black Cat, Step on a Crack or walk under a ladder, just get to a Radio as soon as you can to enjoy our Superstitions Collection!
Vampires Vampires and Dracula in Old Time Radio Get your garlic and crucifix, this collection includes a wide variety of vampire-themed old time radio shows.
Voodoo Voo-Doo in Old Time Radio different old time radio shows featuring Voodoo as a plot device for revenge, murder, and Voodoo doll shenanigans
Voodoo Werewolves in Old Time Radio different Werewolves in Old Time Radio Legends of shape-shifting wolf men have been around since ancient times, these old time radio shows include werewolves and the ferocity of their attacks.
Zombies Zombies in Old Time Radio Most of the Old Time Radio stories about Zombies involve the traditional Voodoo Zombies, but it can never hurt to be prepared for when the people next door develop a taste for brains...


Stressed Pumpkin

Best of Collections:

Best of Escape Best of CBSRMT - There were 1,399 original episodes of CBSRMT recorded, and this collection is of fifty of the very best.
Best of Escape Best of Escape - Featuring hand-picked radio shows from Escape, one of the best drama anthologies on the air.
Best of Suspense Best of Inner Sanctum - Best Inner Sanctum shows with host Raymond."Pleasant Dreeeeeams, hmm?"
Best of Suspense Best of Suspense contains the hand-picked favorites of OTRCAT. Suspense ran for 20 years with over 980 episodes. Our Best of Suspense collection is great for people new to the show or long time fans looking for a "greatest hits" of the series.
Best of Suspense Best of The WhistlerOne of the most popular and best Mystery shows in the history of old time radio, The Whistler ran for 15 straight years. This collection includes the best of The Whistler.


Stressed Pumpkin

Great horror stars:

Agnes Moorehead Collection Agnes Moorehead: This marvelous actress was much more than Samantha's mom on Bewitched; she was part of the backbone of Orson Welles' Mercury Theater and one of the most talented and versatile voices Suspense and the Golden Age of Radio. Agnes Moorehead
Boris Karloff Boris Karloff: The original Frankenstein's Monster, Karloff was one of Radio's great Horror and Comic voices. Boris Karloff at the microphone
Bela Lugosi Bela Lugosi: Consistently type cast as The Vampire, Lugosi was an enduring talent who was an entertaining guest on many radio projects. Screaming Bela Head
Vincent Price Vincent Price: Mr. Price was one our most prolific native Horror Men, but also an incredible comic talent. And one of Radio's best Soft-boiled Detecties, The Saint. Vincent Price in top hat and bowtie
Orson Welles Orson Welles: Responsible for one of Radio's Great Halloween Pranks, War of the Worlds, Welles career was on of the most creative and prolific in Radio. Orson Wells
Peter Lorre Collection Peter Lorre: The Hungarian Lisp is one that means Terror for listeners. Lorre became a talented and versatile comic and dramatic radio actor. Peter Lorre

Stressed Pumpkin

Great Horror Authors and Producers

Agatha Christie Agatha Christie Collection - Enjoy these "whodunits" from the famous detective novelist: These exciting old time radio tales from various series have plot twists perfect for "radio's outstanding theater of thrills".
Alfred Hitchcock Alfred Hitchcock Collection - Includes radio adaptations on Hitchcock's most memorable films, including Spellbound, The Birds, Rebecca, Sorry Wrong Number, and Shadow of a Doubt.
Arch Oboler Arch Oboler Collection -  enjoy the great radio plays in this anthology of the eccentric horror fiction writer Arch Oboler who is best known for pushing the medium of radio in sound production, writing, and programming.
Boogeymen in Comedy Carlton E Morse Collection - one of the greatest authors of his generation, Cornell Woolrich's stories were sought out by radio and film producers alike.
Boogeymen in Comedy Cornell Woolrich Collection - one of the greatest authors of his generation, Cornell Woolrich's stories were sought out by radio and film producers alike.
E Jack Neuman E Jack Neuman -  one of the most prolific writers and producers in show business including credits on Sam Spade, Suspense, and Yours Truly, Johnny Dollar.
Edgar Allen Poe Edgar Allen Poe Collection -  Macabre Tales from the Spookiest Favorite American Author including scripts based on The Tell-Tale Heart, The Pit and the Pendulum, Cask of Amontiago, The Black Cat, and more!
HP Lovecraft HP Lovecraft -  This collection includes episodes from the great horror and mystery writer H.P. Lovecraft who loved "freaking the tarnation" out of audiences with episodes of Rats in the Wall, Outsider, and Dunwich Horror.
John Dickson Carr John Dickson Carr Collection - Mystery writer extraordinaire John Dickson Carr was a prolific writer during the golden age of detective mysteries in the 1930s. He is considered a master of "locked room mysteries" stories that required complex logic to solve because on the surface they seemed unsolvable. 
John Michael Hayes John Michael Hayes Collection - best known as the screenwriter for several big Alfred Hitchcock films, including Rear Window, The Man Who Knew Too Much, and To Catch a Thief. John Michael Hayes also wrote for old time radio shows such as Escape, Sam Spade, Night Beat, Suspense and more!
Lucille Fletcher Lucille Fletcher Collection - Writer of acclaimed old time radio show "Sorry Wrong Number", "The Hitchhiker", and many more, Lucille Fletcher was discovered by Norman Corwin who adapted her stories for Columbia Workshop.
Norman Corwin Norman Corwin - One of the greatest creative minds that has ever floated through the airwaves, Norman Corwin's poetic personality left an impression on listeners everywhere including the genre of horror with many of his Columbia Workshop episodes.
Patricia Highsmith Patricia Highsmith Collection - A crime novelist best known for The Talented Mr. Ripley and Strangers on a Train, she infused troubled psychologies into her amoral characters, writing taut thrillers about betrayal, threats, and manipulation.
Ray Bradbury Ray Bradbury Collection - A Collection of Vintage Bradbury Stories adapted for radio including many of his Escape, Radio Workshop, and Suspense episodes will send a chill down your spine.
Wyllis Cooper Wyllis Cooper Collection - Cooper's commitment to mind-bending, truly affecting science fiction ensured that his programs would win over listeners and draw critical acclaim.

Old Time Radio Horror & Mystery Quick Reference Guide

Radio Show Title


Lead Monster or Good Guy

ABC Mystery Time 1957-1958 Don Dowd (host) Anthology Monday through Friday Drama on ABC Radio, aka "Masters of Mystery"
Adventures by Morse 1944-45 Carlton E. Morse(Producer), Gayne Whitman(announcer) Captain Bart Friday, Skip Turner, Good Guys A globetrotting Private Investigation get entangled in espionage, kidnapping and murder along with secret Nazi bases, snake worshippers and voodoo.
The Adventures Ellery Queen 1943-1967 Carleton Young, Marian Shockley, Santos Ortega Ellery Queen Ellery Queen was an author who solved mysteries in his spare time and then wrote about his harrowing adventures; his sidekick was his own father, Richard Queen.
Appointment with Fear 1943 Suspense writer John Dickson Carr Anthology Adaptation of Suspense!
Arch Oboler Plays 1939-45 Various Anthology This series features creepy stories by the master of radio horror, Arch Oboler.
Bela Lugosi Collection       Consistently type cast as The Vampire, Lugosi was an eduring talent who has an entertaining guest on many radio projects.
Beyond Midnight 1968-69 Various Anthology Let us journey "into the land that lies beyond midnight, into a world of ghost hunters, men going mad, and DEATH DEATH DEATH! South African Origin.
Black Castle and Black Chapel 1942-1944 Don Douglas, Ted Osbourne A Mysterious Hooded Figure and the Wizard of the Black Castle A pair of 15 minute shows with very creepy plots, each done by a single actor.
Black Museum 1951 Orson Welles London's worst criminals Black Museum is based on Scotland Yard's Black Museum (aka Crime Museum) in London, where crime artifacts are stored.
Cabin B13 1948 Arnold Moss as Dr. Fabian S.S. Maurevania A luxury liner's doctor leads the listener to different tales of mystery on the S.S. Maurevania.
Chandu the Magician 1932 - 1935, 1949 - 1950 Bob Bixby, Betty Webb, Chandu Frank Chandler, American born mystic, conquered the art of magic through his learnings with Indian yogi. Renaming himself Chandu and crystal balling around, Chandu the Magician delighted audiences for a number of years.
The Chase 1952-1953 Various Anthology Each show is consistently exciting and always contains a chase scene.
Creeps by Night February 15-August 15, 1944 Karloff Anthology Creeps by Night is a rare horror series hosted by the spooky great man of horror Boris Karloff
Dark Fantasy 1940 - 42 Various Anthology Very popular but short lived NBC Friday Night Horror series
Dark Venture 1945-1947 Various Anthology Dark Venture is a psychological thriller show that keeps you at the end of your seat.
Diary of Fate 1948 Herb Lytton Fate Diary of Fate is a mystery and horror program where "Fate" narrates and always wins by the end of the story.
Dr Jerkyll Mr Hyde ?? George Edwards Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde Serialization of the great psychological thriller by Robert Louis Stevenson.
Dreadful John at Midnight 1963 to 1967 Dreadful John Dreadful John Instead of using a script and actors, the host simply reads short stories by authors like Edgar Allan Poe and Ambrose Bierce.
Edgar Allan Poe Collection Broadcast in 1940s and 1950s     This collection includes some of Poe's most famous writings. Macabre tales appeared on some of the most suspenseful and best horror old time radio shows of all time.
Eleventh Hour   South African Anthology   Time - the silent herald of life and death, success or failure, you are invited to listen to these tales of adventure if you dare!
Ellery Queen Minute Mysteries 1965, Syndicated Bill Owen Ellery Queen A series of very short mysteries, in some markets listeners were encouraged to call in with their solution to the mystery and claim sponsor prizes.
Escape 1947 - 1954 Various Anthology Tired of the everyday grind?Ever dream of a life of . romantic adventure?Want to get away from it all?We offer you . ESCAPE!
Everyman's Theater October 1940 - March 1941 Various Anthology Everyman's Theater was a follow-up to the popular Arch Oboler's Plays of the 1939 season. And both of these built on the success of the Horror Anthology "Lights Out".
Five Minute Mysteries 1945-48     A series of very short mysteries, in some markets listeners were encouraged to call in with their solution to the mystery and claim sponsor prizes.
Frankenstein 1931 - 32 George Edwards Dr Frankenstein and his Monster A faithful serialization of Mary Shelley's novel.
The Shadow of Fu Manchu 1939 - 40? Gale Gordon Dr Fu vs Good Guys Commissioner Denis Nayland Smith and Dr. John Petrie Dr. Fu Manchu was "tall, lean, and feline, with. a face like Satan. with all cruel cunning of an entire Eastern race, accumulated in one giant intellect."
Ghost Corp 1930s   K.C. Smith "Ghost Core is the name given to the mystery-shrouded organization of freelance diplomats operating throughout the near and Far East."
Hall of Fantasy 1946-1947, 1949-1952, 1952, 1953 Various Anthology The series featured stories involving struggles against the supernatural where man was usually the loser, specializing in shock endings.
The Adventures of Harry Lime (The Third Man) 1951-1952 Orson Welles Harry Lime Ne'er-do-well Harry Lime finds him self in scrapes and desperate situations.
The Haunting Hour 1944 -46     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 Hermits Cave 1940 - 43 John Kent, Charles Penman, Toby Grimmer, and Klock Ryder. The Old Hermit "Ghhhhhooooossstt stories Weeeiiirrrrddd stories and murders too! The Hermit knows of them all! Turnnnn out your lights!"
House of Mystery 1945-47? John Griggs Roger Elliot, the Mystery Man House of Mystery is a light mystery and suspense show that would be acceptable for some younger listeners.
I Love a Mystery 1939-1953 Various the A-1 Detective Agency Jack Packard, Doc Long, and Englishman Reggie Yorke Three friends run a detective agency and traveled the world in search of adventure.
I Love Adventure 1948 Michael Raffetto, Tom Collins Jack, Reggie and Doc A continuation of the I Love a Mystery concept, with the same characters played by different actors.
Inner Sanctum Mysteries 1941 - 52 Various Anthology The original creaking door horror anthology with jocular and sarcastic host, Raymond.
The Key 1956 Various Anthology The Key features murder: murder of showgirls, murder of robbers, even murder of old men! Behind every door is a mystery and new spooky story.
Lights Out 1934 - 47 Various Anthology Radio's premier horror series created by writer/director Wyllis Cooper.
Macabre 1961 Various Anthology, for AFRS "Man lives in a world of time and space; he lives in a spectrum of the universe. When he ventures beyond this limit, he is in the unknown a realm where strange forces are brought into play. When man attempts to misuse these forces, he is sometime destroyed. This is Macabre."
Majestic Master Mystery 1933 - 34 Maurice Joachim    
Mercury Theater 1937 Orson Welles and Company Anthology The Mercury Theater on the Air concentrated on classic literature such as " Treasure Island," "The Count of Monte Cristo" and "Dracula".
Molle Mystery Theater 1943 - 54 Geoffrey Barnes, a crime fiction expert Bernard Lenro, Joseph Julian, Anne Seymour, and Raymond Edward Johnson Classic tales from well-known authors, as well as modern unknowns were presented, and the endings were often twists or shockers.
Murder at Midnight 1946 - 1950 Various Anthology Murder at MidnightM, offers stories of the "witching hour, when night is darkest, our fears are the strongest, our strength at its lowest ebb -- MIDNIGHT!
Murder by Experts (1949 - 51) Various Anthology Some of the top writers in the history of mystery and the show exhibits some of the best mystery writing known on radio.
The Mysterious Traveler 1943 -52 Marice Tarplin   "This is The Mysterious Traveler, inviting you to join me on another journey into the strange and terrifying. I hope you will enjoy the trip, that it will thrill you a little and chill you a little. So settle back, get a good grip on your nerves, and be comfortable--if you can! "
Mystery House 1940s the publishing company staff Anthology Developed by the Mystery House publishers as a means to test manuscripts
Mystery in th Air 1947 Peter Lorre Anthology Peter Lorre starred in Mystery in the Air, a summer replacement. The show used stories "of the strange and unusual... culled from the Four corners of World Literature."
Mystery is My Hobby 1947-1948 Glen Langan Barton Drake Mystery is My Hobby is performed before a live audience. Barton is always getting into gripping situations
Mystery Playhouse 1944 Peter Lorre Various This program featured Peter Lorre introducing some of the best mystery shows of the era for the AFRS audience.
Nightmare 1953-1954 Peter Lorre Various "From out of the dark of night, from the shadows of the senses, comes this- the fantasy of fear."
Obsession AFRTS Various Anthology Obsession is mystery shows about human beings in conflict with themselves and their own obsession. The shows includes the stories of personality as the announce states, "like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde that brings the audience to look at the minds of murders, evil geniuses, and tyrants"
Origin of Superstition 1935 Unk Various Origin of Superstition offers such truly enlightening and fascinating tales of superstitions that you will want to repeat them to all your friends.
Peril       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.
The Player 1948 Paul Frees Various Tales of murder and mayhem with Paul Frees playing all the voices.
Quiet Please 1947 - 49 Ernest Chappell Various Chilling tales from the creator of Lights Out and writer for Campbells Playhouse.
Robots of the Old Radio       This collection includes the best science fiction old time radio episodes featuring robots.
Sealed Book 1945 Phillip Clarke Keeper of the book This Mutual entry in the horror and mystery genre was far from the best remembered, such as Suspense, Quiet Please, and Inner Sanctum.
Sleep No More 1956 - 57 Nelson Olmsted   Sleep No More offers dramatic readings of thriller stories (often two or three per show) rather than dramatizations by a full cast.
Standby for Adventure 1948-50 Parker Fennelly   Standby for Adventure stars a newspaper man and adventurer who "uses his newspaper experiences as a springboard for more fascinating experiences." Our dear newspaper man comes in contact with the world's most notorious criminals and crimes.
Strange Dr Weird 1944 - 45 Maurice Tarplin   "Perhaps you'll drop in on me again soon? I'm always home. Just look for the house onthe other side of the cemetery...the house of Dr. Weird!"
Suspense 1940 -1962 Various Anthology "Radio's outstanding theater of thrills"
Suspicion 1935 Various Anthology Mysterious stories of murdered actresses, affairs, rumbles, traitors, and dead bodies found.
Tonight at Nine-Thirty 1945-46 Various "the Stage Door Keeper" Tonight at 9:30 includes a variety of entertainment from suspenseful thrillers to lighthearted comedy.
Unsolved Mysteries 1949 Stanley Peyton   Unsolved Mysteries tell stories of unexplained true happenings. Your skin will creep as you listen to truths about voodoo, witch doctors of Africa, double murders that could never occur in a thousand years, dead men telling tales, and supernatural forces. Unsolved Mysteries has proof that zombies do exist!
Weird Circle 1943 - 47 Various Anthology In this cave by the restless sea, we are met to call from out of past, stories strange and weird. Bell keeper, toll the bell, so that all may know that we are gathered again in the Weird Circle!
Whisperer 1951 Carlton Young Philip Gault, brilliant young attorney A brilliant man loses his voice when his vocal cords are crushed during a horrific accident. Turning adversity into benefit, he works his way inside a crime syndicate to help destroy it from within.
The Whistler 1942 - 55 Gerald Mohr, Frank Lovejoy, Betty Lou Gerston, Hans Conried, Wally Maher and Lurene Tuttle The Whistler Our host is the moody Whistler, who serves as host and narrator in these twisted tales of fate.
Witch's Tale 1931 - 38 Adelaide Fitz-Allen "Old Nancy, the witch of Salem," One of the very first successful radio horror anthologies
Yankee Yarns 1943 - 1951 Alton H. Blackington.   New England tales that are alternately amazing, eccentric, horrifying and comical.

Full List of Mystery - Horror Old Time Radio >>

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These shows are incredible. I listen to them throughout the year, but make a point to listen with family every year around Halloween. Some of the Lights Out, Inner Sanctum and Suspense programs are my favorite. Love it - thanks for finding all these!


Some of my favorite episodes of Suspense are "Narrative about Clarence," starring Laird Cregar; "Summer Night," based on a Ray Bradbury story about a serial killer, the Lonely One, loose in a small town; "Zero Hour," from the famous Bradbury story of an unusual invasion from Mars; and "Goodbye Miss Lizzie Borden," about the famous murder...

Michael Samerdyke

Yep, 'Lights Out' is a classic. It was the very 1st.One I bought. Years ago. My boy is now about to turn 9, and it's his favorite. He also likes the early Sci-Fi titles. THE Absolute very best stories I've got from you are: "The Thing on the Fourble Board". -From 'Quiet Please' and the Vincent Price version of: "Three Skeleton Key". The one where a ship full of half-eaten sailors and monster Rats arrives at the light-house Where Vincent Price lives, and swarm all over it... Brrr! Very scary stuff. Awfully well done.


I love how the author of this article new exactly what both the story were like.


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