Quiet, Please
Introduction Episodes Listen Scripts Press Clippings Fan Forum Copyright Info Links

New Book with chapter on Quiet Please
Terror on the Air - book with chapter on QP

Comments on New Book with chapter on Quiet Please
Dr Hand
New

Usergroup: Member
Joined: May 21, 2003
Location: Wales UK

Total Topics: 3
Total Comments: 6
#1 - Quote - Permalink
2 of 4 people found this comment helpful
Posted 05/16/06 - 1:09 AM:

Dear QP Friends,
My new book Terror on the Air: Horror Radio in America, 1931-52, has just been published by McFarland and is available on Amazon (and elsewhere):
www.amazon.com/gp/product/0...?s=books&v=glance&n=283155
The book gives an overview to golden age horror radio and has a full chapter on Quiet Please (with photos of Wyllis Cooper and Ernest Chappell) as well as chapters on Lights Out etc.
All best wishes,
Richard J. Hand
MS
Senior Member

Usergroup: Member
Joined: Mar 14, 2003

Total Topics: 72
Total Comments: 240
#2 - Quote - Permalink
2 of 4 people found this comment helpful
Posted 05/23/06 - 12:57 PM:

Well, having thumbed through Dr. Hand's Grand Guignol book, I'm looking forward to reading this one.

In a recent issue of the OTR Digest, David S. Siegel wrote about (I'm quoting) 'Richard Hand's long awaited and thoroughly researched study of: TERROR ON THE AIR which focuses on HORROR RADIO IN AMERICA from 1931 to 1952. The publisher is McFarland. The Forward is by non other than radio's premier living writer of mystery and suspense, David Kogan. The illustrations are splendid. The index is vast.

'BEST OF ALL, the contents of this volume follows a rational path beginning with "the mechanism and structure of Golden Age" horror radio followed by chapters that carefully scrutinize the elements leading to the success of six well known series chosen for CASE STUDY COMPARISON (The Witch's Tale, Lights Out, The Hermits Cave, Inner Sanctum Mysteries, The Mysterious Traveller and Quiet Please). Other well known series (Mystery In The Air, The Molle Mystery Theater, The Weird Circle, The Haunting Hour, Sleep No More, Creeps By Night, The Hall Of Fantasy, etc.) are not neglected as one can easily discern from an examination of the index, BUT for the sake of detailed study and reasonable space restrictions do not receive quite the same degree of scrutiny.

'If, like myself, you are among those fans of old radio who enjoy the sensation of listening to a thriller late at night with the lights out and no one nearby (that you know of).......This book is for you.' [end of verbatim quote]

Siegel is co-author of, among other things, _A Resource Guide to the Golden Age of Radio_ (Book Hunter Press, 2006).
Old Timer
Senior Member
Avatar

Usergroup: Member
Joined: Jun 30, 2002

Total Topics: 14
Total Comments: 102
#3 - Quote - Permalink
2 of 4 people found this comment helpful
Posted 05/30/06 - 1:52 PM:

I checked out the price at the Barnes & Noble website... price is the same (unless you're a B&N member)

search.barnesandnoble.com/b...31%2D1952&z=y&cds2Pid=9481

illoman


Usergroup: Member
Joined: Feb 26, 2006

Total Topics: 3
Total Comments: 10
#4 - Quote - Permalink
2 of 4 people found this comment helpful
Posted 06/04/06 - 10:47 AM:

I just ordered a copy of this, and am really looking forward to reading it. Amazon lists the page count as over 300, but the McFarland site list it as under 200. Which is correct?

Mike
Dr Hand
New

Usergroup: Member
Joined: May 21, 2003
Location: Wales UK

Total Topics: 3
Total Comments: 6
#5 - Quote - Permalink
2 of 4 people found this comment helpful
Posted 06/04/06 - 12:51 PM:

Hi Mike,
The page count is 184. It was originally going to be more but McFarland decided to publish it as a hardback in a large 10 inch by 7 inch format instead of the usual smaller size. This has permitted some of the photographs to be published in larger scale than might have been possible.
I hope you enjoy the book.
Richard J. Hand
illoman


Usergroup: Member
Joined: Feb 26, 2006

Total Topics: 3
Total Comments: 10
#6 - Quote - Permalink
2 of 4 people found this comment helpful
Posted 06/04/06 - 3:14 PM:

Thanks, Dr Hand, I'm really looking forward to reading it. My favorite genre of OTR is horror. I am somewhat surprised that many people refer to Quiet, Please as a horror series. Certainly some of the episodes were, and some of the best of the series were. When i think of the episode about Lincoln's first love, or the story where the little girl's unborn spirit visits the man, I don't think of these as horror.

Willis Cooper was certainly an amazing writer, and Ernest Chappell's vocal work was some of the best, if not the best in all of OTR. The fact that he could play so many different characters, and really not change his voice all that much was testament to his talent.

Dr Hand, do you have some favorite episodes of QP? What are some of your other favorite OTR programs?

Thanks,
Mike
Dr Hand
New

Usergroup: Member
Joined: May 21, 2003
Location: Wales UK

Total Topics: 3
Total Comments: 6
#7 - Quote - Permalink
2 of 4 people found this comment helpful
Posted 06/06/06 - 5:04 AM:

Hi Mike,
yes I agree that QP is in many respects not horror. I like John Dunning's defintion of it as "dark fantasy". Having said that, I think Fourble Board, Whence Came You and even Three Sides are probably as good as anything popular horror performance has ever produced - and that is why I wanted to showcase the series as a special case study in the volume.
Regarding other shows, I am a big fan of Lights Out which even in its Oboler days always bore the hallmark of Cooper. There are also certain epsidoes of Suspense, Mysterious Traveler, Escape, Hermit's Tale that I think are surpeme examples of horror. They are about as good as it gets as far as horror is concerned - after all, even Stephen King has suggested that radio is the ultimate medium for horror.
Best wishes,
Richard J Hand
illoman


Usergroup: Member
Joined: Feb 26, 2006

Total Topics: 3
Total Comments: 10
#8 - Quote - Permalink
2 of 4 people found this comment helpful
Posted 06/06/06 - 12:58 PM:

On that note, I would recommend King's book, Danse Macabre where he explores horror, and more importantly radio horror. He talks about Arch Oboler, and relates how radio was the best medium for horror since the listener creates all the images in his/her own mind.he has some interesting thoughts about the medium.

Mike
Zorka
Junior Member

Usergroup: Member
Joined: May 04, 2003

Total Topics: 3
Total Comments: 36
#9 - Quote - Permalink
2 of 4 people found this comment helpful
Posted 06/27/06 - 12:43 PM:

Dr. Hand's book is worth a buy to any serious fan of radio horror. Paul, with your strong interest in QP, you should definitely get this book. It is a good discussion of Cooper and the show.

Dr. Hand does a good job of pointing out the more horrific of Cooper's stories, which upon a repeat listen are definitely in that class.

However, I too do not think of Cooper as strictly a horror-writer, but agree that he is more in a general class of fantasist. Plays such as "In the House Where I Lived" show his overall genius in minimalist storytelling.

The religious element of Cooper is interesting given that he grew up essentially in a fatherless home with a strict Scottish grandparent who possibly drilled the fear of God in him.

While I know his father's name, I am still trying to figure out why he never seems to be present at census time. Anyone have a clue?
MS
Senior Member

Usergroup: Member
Joined: Mar 14, 2003

Total Topics: 72
Total Comments: 240
#10 - Quote - Permalink
2 of 4 people found this comment helpful
Posted 06/27/06 - 1:04 PM:

My guess -- and it's just a guess -- is that the answer has something to do with military service. In the most autobiographical section of "In the House Where I Was Born" (which describes a household very much like Cooper's) there is a line about the missing father: "... for the Spanish War wasn't so long ago. And my father that was battalion sergeant-major - hadn't come back from Chickamauga."
Zorka
Junior Member

Usergroup: Member
Joined: May 04, 2003

Total Topics: 3
Total Comments: 36
#11 - Quote - Permalink
2 of 4 people found this comment helpful
Posted 06/27/06 - 1:36 PM:

MS wrote:
My guess -- and it's just a guess -- is that the answer has something to do with military service. In the most autobiographical section of "In the House Where I Was Born" (which describes a household very much like Cooper's) there is a line about the missing father: "... for the Spanish War wasn't so long ago. And my father that was battalion sergeant-major - hadn't come back from Chickamauga."


That's what I wondered. If he and Harry, his brother are directly related (same father) then I would think he was there for two years during the obvious necessary times - 1899 and 1900.

MS
Senior Member

Usergroup: Member
Joined: Mar 14, 2003

Total Topics: 72
Total Comments: 240
#12 - Quote - Permalink
1 of 2 people found this comment helpful
Posted 08/23/06 - 10:25 PM:

Well, I found a copy of the book at the library. It is about as good a book as you could expect under the circumstances and very much worth reading for the interesting critical discussion.

I can't help but feel, though, that American scholarship should have laid a better groundwork for Dr. Hand. To his credit, he apologizes in the preface for perpetuating any of the inaccuracies, myths and fallacies that are so much a part of old-time radio history. So, in the spirit of well-intentioned constructive criticism, I made some notes:

p. viii
"the custodians of the _Quiet, Please_ website" are thanked in the acknowledgements.

That's cool. But, really, as far as I know, webmaster Paul Knierim is the site's only "custodian" and should probably have been singled out by name.

p. 5
The idea that revivals of scripts were rare in the 1930s and Oboler's contention that only "extraordinarily excellent" radio plays were repeated is, I think, a bit of an overstatement as far as anthology dramas are concerned. Serialized programs with continuing plots and characters may be a different story but every anthology drama series I've looked at closely that ran for more than a year in the '20s and early '30s repeated scripts (_Biblical Dramas_, _Empire Builders_, etc.). Granted, many of these were repeated because of audience demand or critical acclaim but certainly some of them were repeated simply for the sake of convenience or to keep costs down.

Similarly, 1930s variety hours frequently repeated dramatic sketches and there were annual broadcasts of, for example, Christmas plays on NBC and CBS. A number of the plays used on the celebrated _Columbia Workshop_ series that began in 1936 had already been performed, sometimes years earlier, on similar CBS programs like _Columbia Dramatic Guild_.

p. 6
Maltin is incorrect about _Philco Radio Time_ being "the first taped program on network radio, in 1946" -- The 1946-47 season of the Philco show was recorded on disk. It was the 1947-48 season that was the first to use magnetic tape.

p. 9
"Radio drama as a whole had started in Britain in the early 1920s ..." says the author, citing the BBC's May '23 production of Shakespeare's _Twelfth Night_ and the January '24 broadcast of Richard Hughes' _Danger_.

This is a myth that dies hard. Actually, English language radio drama as a whole seems to have started in the United States. A sketch specifically written for radio aired on KDKA in '21, according to historian Bill Jaker. KYW broadcast a season of complete operas from Chicago starting in November '21. WJZ broadcast entire Broadway musical comedies with the original casts from its Newark studios in February '22. Actors Grace George and Herbert Hayes performed an entire play from a San Francisco station in the summer of '22. The real turning point seems to have come when Schenectady's WGY began weekly studio broadcasts of full-length stage plays in September '22 and Cincinnati's WLW began regularly broadcasting one-acts (as well as longer works) in November. The success of these projects led to imitators at other stations. By the spring of '23 original dramatic pieces written especially for radio were airing on stations in Cincinnati ("When Love Wakens" by WLW's Fred Smith), Philadelphia ("The Secret Wave" by Clyde A. Criswell), Los Angeles ("At Home" over KHJ) and probably elsewhere. By 1923, WLW (in May) and WGY (in September) sponsored radio drama writing contests, inviting listeners to create original plays to be performed by those stations' dramatic troupes. A careful reading of the New York Times and other radio listings for May '23 reveals that at least twenty dramas were scheduled (including one-acts, excerpts from longer dramas, complete three- and four-act plays, operettas, an adaptation of Moliere, etc).

p. 10
Horror radio is "a colossal body of material"

One major and highly influential series that I'm surprised doesn't get mentioned in the book is _The Columbia Workshop_ which, especially in the late 1930s, did an awful lot of supernatural and horror plays (far more than Welles' Mercury/Campbell series): "The Finger of God," "Case History," "The Devil and Dan'l Webster," "The Lighthouse Keepers," "The Gods of the Mountain," "Danse Macabre," "Drums of Conscience," and adaptations of Dickens ("The Signalman"), Poe ("The Tell-Tale Heart," "Metzengerstein"), de Maupassant ("The Horla") and much else, including a few original supernatural scripts by Lucille Fletcher.

A few years earlier, in 1933, one of the Workshop's precursors, _Columbia Dramatic Guild_, devoted quite a bit of time to modernized adaptations of supernatural and horror stories. I've seldom seen this discussed or even mentioned elsewhere. Here's a partial "log," culled from newspapers:

05-14 The Necklace [by Guy de Maupassant]
05-21 Murders in the Rue Morgue [by Edgar Allan Poe]
05-28 A Piece of String [by Guy de Maupassant]
06-04 The Invisible Wound [by Karoly Kisfaludi?]
06-11 How He Got the Legion of Honor [by Guy de Maupassant]
06-18 The Tell-Tale Heart [by Edgar Allan Poe]
06-25 The Specter Bridegroom [by Washington Irving]
07-02 The Man With the Golden Brain [by Alphonse Daudet]

07-20 The Cask of Amontillado [by Edgar Allan Poe]
07-27 The Watch Dog [by Guy de Maupassant]
08-03 The Fall of the House of Usher [by Edgar Allan Poe]
08-10 The Devil in the Manuscript [by Nathaniel Hawthorne]
08-17 The Mask [sic] of the Red Death [by Edgar Allan Poe]
08-24 Lilie Lala [by Guy de Maupassant]
08-31 The Body Snatcher [by Robert Louis Stevenson]
09-07 The Black Cat [by Edgar Allan Poe]
09-14 The Horla [by Guy de Maupassant]
09-21 The Pied Piper of Hamelin [by Robert Browning]
09-28 Metzengerstern [by Edgar Allan Poe]
10-05 [?]
10-12 The Ace of Cads [by Michael Arlen?]
10-19 [?]
10-26 The Tell-Tale Heart [by Edgar Allan Poe]

pp. 25-26
"framing narrators long before _The Witch's Tale_"/"examples of the framing host"/"host as framing mechanism"

Lots of good discussion here about theater and film but it's not mentioned that many of the non-horror drama anthologies on radio in the late '20s and early '30s featured such hosts and framing devices. Old Nancy was preceded in radio by the Old Timer (sometimes called the Old Pioneer) of _Empire Builders_, the Old Ranger of _Death Valley Days_, the old ship captains who told exotic sea stories on series like _Harbor Lights_ and _Forty Fathom Trawlers_, Marco the wandering teller of tales on _The Silver Flute_, and many others. This "play within a play" technique (as it was called then) of using a colorful fictional character to introduce, narrate or comment on the action of the play, was pretty standard at the time for drama anthologies, ultimately becoming something of a cliché that was largely abandoned, except in certain genres like horror.

Over at genericradio.com, there's a surviving script from _Forty Fathom Trawlers_ (a series which aired in 1929-30) that features a horror play in which Captain Haft (a.k.a. Old Forty Fathom) tells a digest version of William Clark Russell's novel _The Frozen Pirate_ to young Peter Pillbeam. After the story is told, the final lines of the script are:

PETER: But, Old Forty Fathom--how could a man really be frozen stiff for so many years and return to life? Honest now.

HAFT: Now, Peter, why spoil a good story? (Laughs.)


p. 35
"Oboler's personal directing copy" of the script for "The Dark" is dated January 19, 1938

I have a strong suspicion that Oboler probably did not direct the episode. He was in California at this time writing dramatic playlets for the variety series _Your Hollywood Parade_. Presumably, he sent his LO scripts from Los Angeles for production in Chicago. At least one old Cooper script was revived during this period: the surviving December '37 Christmas episode. I suppose it's possible that other Cooper plays were revived around this time as well. Oboler doesn't seem to have returned to Chicago until March '38 to do the five episodes with Boris Karloff (with whom he took the train from the coast, picking up actress Betty Winkler en route, in order to rehearse). The 2 March 1938 Chicago Tribune reports that "G. P. Hughes directs the show and Bill Joyce handles those awful sound effects."

p. 36
Oboler's _Drop Dead!_ album seems to have been first released in 1962, not 1974. It's briefly mentioned in the 2 December 1962 New York Times. The title is given as _Drop Dead_ (Capitol stereo ST 1763).

p. 83
_Lights Out_ didn't actually debut on January 1, 1934. Variety reports on 16 January that the show has yet to premiere. The earliest broadcast I'm certain of is a 31 January episode reviewed by the Winnipeg Free Press radio columnist on 2 February.

p. 84
The July 1947 revival of LO may not have made it into August. Variety reports on 6 August that the final episode was 30 July.

Oboler's high praise of Cooper has to be taken with a big grain of salt, in my opinion, and not just because Mr. O was frequently Mr. Overstatement. Serious study of American radio drama of the 1920s and early '30s is, at best, almost nonexistent. Good arguments could be made that the real unsung pioneers of American radio drama techniques were people like Gosden and Correll, the Eveready Hour creative team, the troupes of radio players at stations like WLW and WGY, early network continuity writers like Henry Fisk Carlton, William Ford Manley, Don Clark, etc., producer/directors like Clarence Menser and Gerald Stopp, and a long list of others who were credited at the time with any number of innovations but who are largely forgotten and undiscussed today. Elizabeth McLeod's book (also from McFarland) on Gosden and Correll's early work is a major exception.

p. 89
"Man in the Middle" and Oboler's owing "a considerable debt" to Cooper

Oboler claims in one of his 1940s books that his first stream-of-consciousness play was 1936's "Prelude to Murder" which has things in common with Cooper's "Man in the Middle" both in terms of style (the contrast of the spoken words and the inner thoughts of the protagonist) and content (the love triangle that seems like it will end in murder). Judging from a piece in the Chicago Tribune, the Cooper play first aired on LO in March 1935 under the title "After Five O'Clock," and was not well received by bloodthirsty LO fans who complained it was too tame. Oboler says, I believe, that his "Prelude" was written in 1936 before he took over LO. A shortened version was scheduled as a sketch on Rudy Vallee's variety hour in November '36 as a vehicle for Peter Lorre.

p. 89
Cooper as first to use stream-of-consciousness

The question of who was the first to write stream-of-consciousness drama for radio is a tough nut to crack. I remember reading a 1940 article in Variety that credited a 1932 NBC play called "Drink Deep" by Don Johnson as the first stream-of-consciousness play written for American radio. The climax of Lawrence Holcomb's 1931 NBC play "Skyscraper" also uses a variation on the technique (so that we can hear the final thoughts and relive the memories of a man falling to his death from the title building). But Tyrone Guthrie had already written plays like "Matrimonial News" (which consists entirely of the thoughts of a shopgirl awaiting a blind date) and "The Flowers Are Not for You to Pick" (which takes place inside the mind of a drowning man) for the BBC by 1930, and he may have been emulating the work of previous British authors (perhaps 1927's "Shadows"). Guthrie's plays aired on the American networks after they were published in 1931. Guthrie himself subsequently went to Canada to produce similar plays written by Merrill Denison. I don't know it for a fact but I suspect that Cooper, who was something of an Anglophile and who had contact with BBC veterans (like Fred Ibbett with whom he worked on NBC's _Empire Builders_), was hip to what the British were up to and applied their ideas to his own work. For example, the climactic audio montage in Guthrie's "Flowers" is similar to the one in Cooper's "In the House Where I Was Born" -- both plays mingle lines of dialogue from earlier scenes for dramatic effect.

p. 90
"Happy Ending" as a _Lights Out_ play

The circulating recording of this play is not from LO. You can tell because, instead of the usual gongs, there is an instrumental score. The recording comes from another Oboler series and has an LO opening and closing grafted to it. The actual title of the script, at least when it was published in Oboler's _Fourteen Radio Plays_, is "Baby." The earliest broadcast I know of was on the 1939-40 version of _Arch Oboler's Plays_ and the play may never have actually aired on LO.

p. 101
"Oboler's writing had the flare [sic] and style ..."

"Put down that flare, Mr. O! Lights out!"

p. 103
Oboler as producer of 1946 LO TV series

Oboler did not produce "the four episode trial run of _Lights Out_ for television in the summer of 1946..." It was produced, between June and October, by Fred Coe who also wrote the scripts for the final three episodes, according to Martin Grams, Jr. The premiere was an original written by Wyllis Cooper. Grams says Cooper also contributed two scripts to the 1949-52 TV version of LO.

p. 103
the play known as "Alter Ego"

This Oboler play may have first aired on LO under this title in November '36. The November 18, 1936 Chicago Tribune lists that evening's LO as having that title and describes it as "a play about a woman with a dual personality" ... The same title was scheduled for the 1942-43 LO but replaced with "Prelude to Murder."

p. 111
"The Story Without End" from _The Hermit's Cave_ as a forerunner to _Quiet, Please_ ...

Maybe. But see my highly speculative post in the "Scripts" section of this messageboard. I suspect Cooper was writing "beautiful horror" stories in the mid-1930s for LO. Because so few of his scripts survive it's hard to know for sure but, since he was asked by NBC to tone down the gore once LO was broadcast nationally by "using ghost and spook stories ... gory yarns are out for the present" (April 28, 1935 Chicago Tribune), he may very well have written the sort of lyrical ghostly love stories he later perfected for QP. One surviving LO episode, from the 1945 revival season, known to collectors as "Reunion After Death," has a "love that transcends death" plot that gives a hint of this. Martin Grams, Jr. reports that another episode from that season is about a soldier returning home. If Cooper's LO scripts ever turn up, it won't be a big surprise if we find precursors of his more lyrical QP plays among them.

Incidentally, it's probable that the seven Cooper scripts used for the 1945 LO revival season exist -- buried in the microfilmed NBC Program Files at the Library of Congress. That'd be a worthwhile subject for further research by someone in the Washington, D. C. area.

p. 116
"After Garnet is destroyed, a quick search of the bookcase reveals the late father's will. It is at this point that 'The Vampire's Desire' comes to an end."

Actually, it's the other way around. They find the will and then they stake the vampire.

p. 145
Cooper seems to have gotten into radio not as a newspaper reporter but through the advertising industry where he worked as a writer of ad copy. Already established as a copywriter, he joined Chicago's McJunkin ad agency just before their client, the Great Northern Railroad, launched its 1929 _Empire Builders_ series, apparently Cooper's first radio drama job, as far as we know. He subsequently became continuity chief at CBS Chicago and wrote his _Foreign Legion_ series before joining NBC as Chicago continuity chief in July 1933.

p. 146
Cooper doesn't seem to have worked for John Houseman on the final season of _The Campbell Playhouse_. The two men wrote for the series, apparently alternating the scripting chores, but they were apparently working for director Diana Bourbon and, later, George Zachary, according to Variety and other newspapers. Cooper worked on a number of Campbell-sponsored series at this time (1937-1941) and may have been under contract to their advertising firm, Ward Wheelock.

p. 146
QP was "broadcast out of WOR on Mondays and Mutual on Wednesdays" beginning in September 1947. From circa July to September, though, it was broadcast from Mutual on Sundays and WOR on Mondays.

p. 146
106 QP broadcasts and 106 surviving scripts?

Maybe. But one of those broadcasts seems to be the usual local repeat of a network episode ("A Ribbon of Lincoln Green") under a different title ("Retreat at Dunkerque"). A list of the 106 scripts at the Library of American Broadcasting seems to include an undated duplicate of "Mirror, Mirror on the Wall" which apparently throws off the numbering. So there may have been only 105 network broadcasts of QP.

p. 146 & 152
"Some 89 episodes exist as recordings" and "no recordings exist" of "One Hundred Thousand Diameters"?

Supposedly, copies of "Diameters" and "Below Fifth Avenue" exist at the Museum of Radio and Television. A recording of a third uncirculated episode, "The Venetian Blind Man," is allegedly in Indiana. In other words, there's 89 recordings in circulation but there may be as many as 92 in existence.

p. 146
Curiously, there's no mention of QP's first organist Gene Perrazzo, only Albert Buhrmann.

p. 148
"Berlin, 1945" features American troops "visited by Jesus Christ in the guise of a quiet, hungry soldier"?

Actually, Christ appears as a DP or "displaced person," a kind of civilian refugee.

p. 157
"Cooper playing himself" in "Where Do You Get Your Ideas?"

I have my doubts about this. The surviving script credits Charles Egleston with the role and a close listen to the recording seems to confirm this, although I am not absolutely certain.

p. 157
"Cooper ventured into television as the writer/narrator of _Stage 13_ (1949) and _Volume One_ (1950) ..."?

Actually, _Stage 13_, for which Cooper produced but did not write all the scripts, aired in 1950. _Volume One_, for which he DID write all the scripts aired in 1949, just as QP was ending its radio run. In fact, it seems to have been a sort of TV version of QP but without Ernest Chappell. In between these two series, Cooper also produced, but did not write all the scripts for, a 1950 TV version of radio's _Escape_. Technically, Cooper had been involved in television prior to these series, writing the premiere episode of the 1946 TV version of LO, for example.

p. 159
Cooper sold a script to the _Tales of Tomorrow_ TV series? Did it air? What was the title? Where's the script? More info, please, Dr. Hand!

p. 159
Cooper's 1954 proposal for a series of modern dress Bible dramas ...

Surprisingly, no mention is made of the 1935 _Immortal Dramas_ radio series (a critically-acclaimed anthology of Bible stories adapted by Cooper). He wrote this program simultaneously with LO and since he treats religious faith as just another form of belief in the supernatural, it might be considered his third major supernatural radio series after LO and QP. Certainly the scripts he wrote for it about Samson, David and Goliath, and the "Exodus from Egypt" (with its parting of the Red Sea) would have featured fantastic elements.

p. 159
"Cooper was afflicted with poor health and virtually blind" at the end of his life but, for some reason, we are not told the nature of the illness or the cause of the blindness.




illoman


Usergroup: Member
Joined: Feb 26, 2006

Total Topics: 3
Total Comments: 10
#13 - Quote - Permalink
1 of 2 people found this comment helpful
Posted 09/06/06 - 4:41 PM:

Incredible post!!! I read Dr Hand's book, and enjoyed it very much. I had only one complaint, and that it was too short!!

The only thing I can add with certainty to what you posted is to confirm at least one episode of the television version of Lights Out. They did indeed adapt Wear the Dead Man's Coat. It had Basil Rathbone in a servant's position, which I thought was out of character for him. I have a copy of this that someone taped off the SciFi channel a while back. It is a bit different from the radio play, but the essence of the story stays intact.

Does anyone have any other television efforts by Cooper, or any Immortal Dreams radio shows? I'd be interested in acquiring these if possible.

Mike
Dr Hand
New

Usergroup: Member
Joined: May 21, 2003
Location: Wales UK

Total Topics: 3
Total Comments: 6
#14 - Quote - Permalink
1 of 2 people found this comment helpful
Posted 09/11/06 - 1:57 PM:

Dear MS,
I am back from vacation and have just read the detailed message.
Many thanks for your kind words on the book being “very much worth reading”. As for the additional information that is fantastic to read. After all, you were spot on with my statement in the preface (regarding myths, inaccuracies etc.). As for some shows not mentioned, I really did my best to be disciplined and only examine shows that I had closely listened to or had read the scripts of. The Columbia Dramatic Guild now joins Stay Tuned for Terror as one of my personal holy grails!
I particularly enjoyed the speculations you offered – especially regarding the Hermit Cave and “The Story Without End” – that really is one to ponder. I love to think we may get to the bottom of these matters one day.
I suppose the only point I might take exception to is when you say: “for some reason, we are not told the nature of (Cooper’s) illness or the cause of the blindness”. I suppose I could’ve tried to look at medical records etc. but I simply took Cooper’s word for it from his personal correspondence and the fact that he was to die within a few months. Believe it or not, my fascination with morbidity is purely when it is couched within aesthetic forms! wink It also would have been out of stylistic kilter with the biographical elements to the rest of the book.
I am glad you mention Martin Grams Jr as it gives me chance to thank him. Martin was very courteous and helpful to me, reading substantial first draft material and offering advice and invaluable assistance: he (and Dave Siegel and David Kogan) helped me shape the book invaluably. Martin, in particular, helped me to “understate” Mr Overstatement (aka Oboler) and find the kernel of truth – or something nearer to it, at any rate. If ever D. H. Lawrence’s maxim of “Don’t trust the artist, trust the tale” was true it was true of Mr O.
Martin had some very kind words to say about the book on the OTR Digest some time back which I will take the liberty of pasting below:

I have just finished reading a new book from McFarland (www.mcfarlandpub.com).
TERROR ON THE AIR: Horror Radio in America, 1931 - 1952
by Richard J. Hand
Foreword by David Kogan

I myself have once tossed the notion of doing a book about the cultural history of radio horrors and when Midnight Marquee once tossed my proposal aside, the project never went further except for the INNER SANCTUM book I did a couple years back. This book, however, fills the void I myself would have attempted and it is really well-researched. The book explores the history of Horror programs on American radio, the narrative techniques and formal strategies done on the programs, and the genre itself including how radio actors handled the roles. The second half of the book explores the best of the radio horrors in detail. One chapter is about THE WITCH'S TALE, another about LIGHTS OUT, another about THE HERMIT'S CAVE, another about Himan Brown and INNER SANCTUM MYSTERIES, one on THE MYSTERIOUS TRAVELER and the last about Wyllis Cooper and QUIET, PLEASE. I know there are a few OTR fans out ther who have web-pages devoted to the later of these shows so this may be of interest to them. I was expecting a description of plots from the author's listening standpoint but rather I found something more refreshing - exploring the creators and writers of the scripts and how they incorporated their personal lives and hobbies into the scripts. Also trivia about the programs themselves, reprints of newspaper reviews, quotes from the people responsible for the programs, and more. I know there are people who prefer radio comedies over radio horrors but for those interested, it's recommended. I am sure Amazon.com is also offering the book (my copy came in the mail last week). Lastly, about a year ago a discussion on the Digest about a book documenting radio horrors was discussed on the Digest and although no names or titles was described, it caused me to seek out web-sites that offered such a book - which is why I have a copy of this one in my possession now. Sadly, at least two of the postings from what I recall was "skeptical" and came across as negative - which surprised me since they could not have possibly read the book beforehand. I am adding my two cents here to inform people that this book was recently published and has my recommendation - and since the Digest is used to inform people of OTR events like new OTR books published, I am doing so for that reason. If anyone is still skeptical about this book (if this book was the very one being discussed on the web negatively), you can relax. I know this book isn't designed to be the "definitive" word on the subject, but rather an entertaining read worth the money and time to explore. Not since David Skal's THE MONSTER SHOW (1998?) have I enjoyed a book of this nature. Martin Grams Jr.

Other responses have been very gratifying too. I received a handwritten letter from Himan Brown which initially had me quaking in my boots but he said that the book was the best introduction to him and his work he had seen. I have also received very warm words from Norman Corwin who said that the book contains material and information he had not seen before.
Anyway, enough of trumpet blowing!
We are planning to launch the book officially later this year and want to do so with a live radio drama which will be on local radio here and webcast too (some of you may have heard the show we did last year – The Train of Terror. I have a few free CDs of the recording if anyone is interested…). Last year was a new play in OTR style. For the launch I would love to produce a classic script and I am considering something from QP – probably one of the scripts NOT available in recorded form (or at least not in general circulation). I will keep the forum posted.
Anyway, thanks again MS for your detailed post – I really do appreciate it.
Richard J. Hand
MS
Senior Member

Usergroup: Member
Joined: Mar 14, 2003

Total Topics: 72
Total Comments: 240
#15 - Quote - Permalink
1 of 2 people found this comment helpful
Posted 09/13/06 - 6:50 PM:

Well, there can't be enough trumpet blowing for your work. Grams is absolutely right -- this is an important and necessary book that somebody should have undertaken years ago. You've done us all a great service by writing it. The critical discussion throughout is especially fine, I thought. And the Chappell-Cooper correspondence you include is a "must read" for anyone even remotely interested in the series.

On the question of Cooper's illness, I didn't mean to question the research, I was just interested in hearing more details, that's all. More out of curiosity than morbidity, I hope. :-)

In his post above, illoman asks about Cooper's TV work. The only thing I know is that UCLA claims to have a kinescope of the final episode of his _Volume One_ series. I'm wondering if the scripts for this series survive somewhere. According to Dr. Hand, all six were in Emily Cooper's possession in 1956. Are they perhaps with the QP scripts at the Library of American Broadcasting?

Download thread as
  • 0/5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5



Sorry, you don't have permission to post. Log in, or register if you haven't yet.