Terror on the Air!

Horror Radio in America, 1931–1952


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SKU: 9780786469192 Categories: , , ,

About the Book

The macabre world of monsters, killers on the loose and revenge from beyond the grave existed not only in the movies, but also on the radio before television’s dominance in American homes. One of many distinct genres born of early broadcasting, terror-inspiring radio thrilled millions. Nearly 80 such programs, many of enduring sophistication, aired every week in the late 1940s.
This first full-length study of golden age horror radio focuses on six representative programs, starting with The Witch’s Tale in 1931 and ending with The Mysterious Traveler in 1952. Each chapter is a critically and historically informed study of one series. The book ends with a look at the demise of horror radio and its enduring influence. Photographs are included.

About the Author(s)

Richard J. Hand is a professor of media practice and the director of drama at the School of Art, Media and American Studies and the School of Literature, Drama and Creative Writing at the University of East Anglia in Norwich.

Bibliographic Details

Richard J. Hand
Foreword by David Kogan
Format: softcover (7 x 10)
Pages: 192
Bibliographic Info: 26 photos, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2012 [2006]
pISBN: 978-0-7864-6919-2
eISBN: 978-0-7864-9184-1
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments      viii

Radio and the Power of Imagination: A Foreword by David Kogan      1

Preface      3

Terror on the Air: An Introduction      5

1. Horror Beyond Horror: Horror Radio in the Golden Age of American Broadcasting      13

2. Hosts and Music, Sound and Silence: Narrative Techniques and Formal Strategies in Horror Radio      23

3. The Cult of the Actor: Acting and Genre in Horror Radio of the Golden Age      38

4. The Grandmother of Horror Radio: Alonzo Deen Cole and The Witch’s Tale (1931–1938)      69

5. The Ultimate in Horror: Lights Out (1934–1947), Arch Oboler and Horror      83

6. Exploring Horror Form and Genre: The Hermit’s Cave (1935–1944)      106

7. The Paradigm of Horror Radio: Himan Brown and Inner Sanctum Mysteries (1941–1952)      118

8. The Eclectic Horrors of Robert A. Arthur and David Kogan: The Mysterious Traveler (1943–1952)      131

9. The Unsettling Universe of Wyllis Cooper and Ernest Chappell: Quiet, Please (1947–1949)      145

10. Conclusion      162

Bibliography      169

Index      177

Book Reviews & Awards

“covers the genre well”—Big Reel; “long awaited and thoroughly researched…the illustrations are splendid…recommended”—OTR Digest; “excellent”—Gothic Studies; “a well written, highly documented greatly researched book…chuck full of interesting information. I can’t say enough about this book. From cover-to-cover it will keep you spellbound. It’s just one great and enjoyable book.”—Illustrated Press; “it is a masterful job, full of historical detail and careful analysis…fills a vital niche”—Journalism History.