Well, Blog-o-weeners (I'm really gonna have to think of a better name), we made it! It is 31 October; it is Halloween! I hope everyone has a great time today...what with the chill in the air...and the trick-or-treating...and the spooky movies...and the bobbing for apples...and the carving of pumpkins...ooohhhh, laaadyyy!
Here at LARPing Real Life HQ, I'm gonna throw on Zacherley's Horrible Horror, an old VHS tape I bought at Hill's Department Store in the 1980s. After that, I'm putting myself in the hand of Commander USA and his 1985 USA Network Halloween Special. I say "hand," because we all know that the Commander has his other hand full with his right-hand man, Lefty. Sure.
So, now we come to it. The final three old time radio show of Blog-o-ween 2022. And boy, oh boy, are they scary. I mean, I honestly hope you all are wearing a belt or a pair of suspenders at the very least, because these shows are going to scare the pants right off of you! Oh, yeah! I mean, double-knot your shoelaces, because the three thrilling and chilling stories we have today are going to knock your socks off! You bet!
Our first entry for Halloween is a 1948 episode Wyllis Cooper's Quiet Please. It is a terrifying tale called “The Thing on the Fourble Board.” I don’t want to give too much away on this one. All I will say is that a “fourble board” is the working platform on an oil derrick. Everything about this episode - the writing, the acting, the sound design - is sheer horrific perfection. And the story’s ending is absolutely unforgettable.
Next, let's you and I take a trip into the canyons of Los Angeles -- Cypress Canyon to be precise. There, we will find a house belonging to James and Ellen Woods. It's a nice little place, perfect for a married couple. There's lots of closet space. In fact, one closet in particular seems to house enough blood to give Dracula a tummyache. Written by Robert L. Richards, directed by William Spier, and starring Robert Taylor and Cathy Lewis, “The House in Cypress Canyon” from the series Suspense is considered by many people to be the scariest radio program of all time. Do you dare listen to see if they are right?
Last, we have what I think is the scariest radio show of them all. The above shows are doozies, no mistake about it, but this next just has that certain je ne sais quoi, that little bit extra, whether it's the acting, the mood, the ending, that nudges it above everything else in my opinion. It is an adaptation of W.W. Jacobs's classic tale "The Monkey's Paw" as performed on the Canadian radio show Nightfall.
The story is simply told: at the turn of the 20th century, an English family is visited by a friend just back from serving in India. The visitor has in his possession a souvenir from his time there: a shriveled, mummified monkey’s paw. He tells the family that it allegedly grants three wishes, but those who tempt fate through the paw’s powers are forever sorry they do so. The visitor tries to toss it onto the fire and burn it, but the paw is saved and kept by the family.
What does the family wish for? Do they get what they want?
What follows is a tale of terror and bitter irony that still sends a shiver up my spine. “The Monkey’s Paw” is a marvel of construction, simple, but with powerful moments leading up to its heartbreaking climax.
I hope you enjoyed our trip through old time radio this month. If you want to hear more, you are in luck! There are many more shows available for streaming at the Internet Archive, as well as your favorite podcast platform.
Be well, my fiends, stay scared...