Comments on New set of Ouiet Please offered
Joined: Nov 21, 2006
Total Topics: 1
Total Comments: 2
Posted Nov 21, 2006 - 8:24 PM:
The wonder makers at First Generation Radio Arcives have done a rather extentive restoration of the Quiet Please episodes. Here is the write up in the newsletter:
Most new OTR fans start their listening with the acknowledged classics of the
medium: "The Lone Ranger," "The Shadow," Fibber & Molly, Jack Benny, and the
like -- most of which are widely available and easy to get hold of. If they find
the medium of interest, fans will then dig a little deeper into the treasure
trove and go for Gildersleeve, "The Lux Radio Theater," perhaps some of Orson
Welles' work with the Mercury Theater, or head off into the west with Red Ryder,
"Gunsmoke," or Roy and Dale and the Sons of the Pioneers. Before long, OTR
listeners will start honing in on one or two particular kinds of shows that they
find to be of particular quality or of a particular genre since, with so much to
choose from, there's little option but to specialize in order to focus your
listening on what you can conceivably hear in a lifetime.
Oddly enough, though, over the years many a radio fan has found him or herself
veering into what have become known as the "cult" shows of radio -- that is,
programs that generally attracted only small audiences during their original
runs but, due to some particular quirk or quality, have ended up with a second
and frequently far more popular life as the years have gone on. Shows that fall
into this category are such creative gems as Elliot Lewis' "Crime Classics" for
its odd and often tongue in cheek takes on criminal activity through the ages;
"X-Minus One," the adult anthology series that was probably the first network
series to take science-fiction writing seriously; "Adventures by Morse," the
pulp-based blood and thunder adventure series written and produced by radio
renaissance man Carlton E. Morse; and "Quiet Please," the dark fantasy anthology
series that blended a creative mind, a small audience, and a miniscule budget
into a mind-bending exploration of radio's uniqu!
e and often terrifying ability to
engross and shock its listeners.
Because cult shows attracted such small audiences when they were first produced,
and because they were frequently aired without the financial support of a
sponsor, a great many of them have not survived and those that do exist today
survive only in edited and/or poor quality versions. But, as any fan of such
shows will testify, it seems that none of the cult shows have suffered as much
as Wyllis Cooper's "Quiet Please." Aired as an unsponsored sustainer between
1947 and 1949, first on Mutual and later on ABC, the majority of shows in the
series *do* exist -- but, considering how downright lousy most of them sound,
its apparent that the recordings spent quite a few years in less than idea
storage conditions; in fact, though we've never seen the original discs, we
wouldn't be surprised to find tire tracks and bird droppings once decorated
Their condition, though sad, is not particularly surprising; what *is*
surprising is that they exist at all.
The creator of "Quiet Please," Wyllis Cooper, had began his broadcasting career
with NBC Chicago in the early 1930s, where he created one of the most
blood-chilling anthology series of all time, "Lights Out." Heading to Hollywood
mid-decade for a screenwriting career that never quite took off, Cooper handed
"Lights Out" over to a young Arch Oboler," who used it as a creative springboard
to fame and success. By the turn of the decade, Oboler was a household name and
Cooper, struggling away over scripts for low budget B-movies, could only dream
of what might have happened had he stayed with the show himself.
Cooper moved to New York in 1940 and returned to radio during the war years,
working as a producer for "The Army Hour" and accepting other network and
advertising agency assignments. Despite his film studio commitments, he had
always kept a foot in radio, writing scripts for such big-time network shows as
"Hollywood Hotel" and "The Campbell Playhouse." Finally, in 1947, he was given
the chance to once again create and produce a new and different half-hour
fantasy-mystery-horror show for the Mutual Network. Assigned a terrible timeslot
(Sunday afternoons at 3:30), a miniscule budget, and airing over a network whose
affiliates had only a nominal commitment to carry the show, "Quiet Please"
debuted on June 8, 1947 to the resounding disinterest of the vast majority of
the listening public.
But, from the beginning, "Quiet Please" had a unique and disquieting style that
quickly pegged it as a series to keep an eye on. Thanks to his NBC Chicago
background and his many years toiling thanklessly in Hollywood, Cooper was used
to dealing with small budgets; he recognized early on that, though no sponsor
meant little money, it also meant little executive interference -- a fair
trade-off for a man set on using radio in the most innovative and creative ways
possible. Also early on, Cooper called upon the talents of a man he had known
from his days with "The Campbell Playhouse": Ernest Chappell, who had served as
the announcer for that program. Chappell had previously been a radio newsman
but, aside from a number of announcing assignments over the years, he had seldom
ventured into performing. However, despite his lack of experience, Chappell had
the one thing that Wyllis Cooper wanted: the ability to tell a story simply,
directly, and without the artifice of "acting." W!
ith the kind of weird, supernatura
l, and often surreal stories that Cooper wanted to tell on "Quiet Please,"
Chappell proved to be the perfect man for the job: enough vocal talent to be
convincing, enough experience and timing to know how to deliver a line, and
intuitive enough to be able to portray a wide range of well-developed characters
in simple yet distinctive ways.
Mutual, recognizing that "Quiet Please" had potential, soon moved the show to
Wednesday nights at 8:30 PM and even arranged for exclusive east coast
broadcasts via its flagship station WOR New York on Monday nights at 10:00 PM.
Nevertheless, though enthusiastically received by those who heard it, audiences
remained small, sponsored remained disinterested, and the budgets remained
minimal. At the start of the 1948-49 season, the show moved to the ABC Radio
Network and returned once again to Sunday afternoons (this time at 5:30 PM),
where it remained until being briefly moved to Saturday nights just before it
breathed its last on June 25, 1949.
For decades, "Quiet Please" languished in obscurity, well remembered by those
who heard it but seldom revived. Wyllis Cooper returned to NBC Radio in 1951 to
create a new anthology series titled "Whitehall 1212," based on the cases of
Scotland Yard, and also wrote for the new and burgeoning medium of television
before passing away at the age of 56 in 1955.
By the 1970s, only a handful of "Quiet Please" programs were available to radio
enthusiasts - including, thankfully, "The Thing on the Fourble Board," one of
the most horrifying and blood chilling programs ever broadcast and a strong
representation of what the series had been. Then, mid-decade, "Radio Yesteryear"
owner J. David Goldin obtained and released a lengthy run of the series, taken
from the original transcriptions. Goldin offered the series on tape with a
warning to potential buyers: the discs were in deplorable condition, with pops,
scratches, hiss, and other audio artifacts that could not be removed without
destroying the content of the programs. (Wyllis Cooper had once owned copies of
all of the programs himself, but had disposed of them during a move in the early
1950s.) It is these "Radio Yesteryear" releases from which have come all of the
"Quiet Please" shows currently in collector circulation -- including the
programs we're offering to you, our Best Friends,!
Above three years ago, thanks to the generosity of Radio Archives member Scott
Eberbach, we came into possession of a series of "Quiet Please" tapes from Radio
Yesteryear -- tapes sold when the series was first released in the 1970s. Though
the fidelity and audio range of the shows clearly indicated that they were only
two or three generations removed from the source discs, the overall quality of
the shows was indeed dreadful; Goldin had not exaggerated when he described
their condition to his customers. However, since the 1970s, the tools available
for audio restoration had greatly improved and increased in both subtlety and
range. Combining these shows with new digital technology, could we take these
damaged and deteriorated programs and, even if they couldn't reach high fidelity
Archives standards, at least make them listenable?
The project was daunting -- but we were lucky in that restoration technician
Mark Koldys was a big fan of the series and was willing to tackle its
restoration. Mark is a well-known producer of classical music and is also active
in the re-release of many movie soundtrack recordings, so his time is limited --
but, still, he spent three full years working to bring seventy-four half-hour
"Quiet Please" shows back to life once again. Second by second, minute by
minute, and hour by hour, Mark struggled to clean up the shows to the best of
his expert technical ability.
This month, the Radio Archives is pleased and proud to be able to offer these
shows to you: 74 full-length broadcasts on 37 audio compact discs for the low
price of just $74.00. If you're a long-time fan of "Quiet Please" or just
someone who has heard a few shows from the series and would like to hear more,
this is a tremendous deal -- but be aware that these shows are being offered
with a few important and significant notes on their content and quality:
* These programs, though taken from low-generation tapes and restored to the
best of our ability, remain the worst sounding shows that the Archives has ever
released. A great deal of work has gone into making them sound as good as
possible, but they retain a great deal of the wear and tear of the discs from
which they came.
* If you purchase radio shows from the Archives primarily because you're
impressed with our audio quality, you might not want to purchase this set.
Despite sounding far better than they ever have before, these "Quiet Please"
shows remain a challenge to enjoy on a strictly casual basis.
* Unlike some radio mystery shows which have mellowed with age, "Quiet Please"
remains a bizarre, unique, and frequently terrifying exploration of what might
best be called an alternate reality -- a reality bearing a strong and
recognizable resemblance to our own, yet chillingly separate from it. Cooper's
stream of consciousness writing technique, combined with the voice talents of
Ernest Chappell and a small group of additional performers, sometimes make
experiencing "Quiet Please" somewhat similar to driving past a horrendous
automobile accident on the highway: you really don't want to see it, but somehow
you can't make yourself look away. Cooper was extremely adept at guiding and
manipulating the minds of his listeners, which means that, once heard, some of
these programs will likely stay with you for years to come. Simply put, if you
are easily frightened, we strongly encourage you to avoid listening to these
shows alone -- particularly in the dark. Really. No kidding. W!
e mean it.
The 37 CDs in this special offer will come to you in paper sleeves with the
usual full color Archives labels. Here is a complete listing of the programs in
this special offer:
Nothing Behind the Door (June 8, 1947)
I Remember Tomorrow (July 27, 1947)
Inquest (August 3, 1947)
Bring Me to Life (August 10, 1947)
Camera Obscura (October 13, 1947)
Don't Tell Me About Halloween (October 27, 1947)
Take Me Out to the Graveyard (November 3, 1947)
Three (November 10, 1947)
Kill Me Again (November 17, 1947)
In Memory of Bernadine (November 24, 1947)
Come In, Eddie (December 1, 1947)
Some People Don't Die (December 8, 1947)
Little Fellow (December 15, 1947)
Rain on New Year's Eve (December 29, 1947)
Little Visitor (January 5, 1948)
The Room Where the Ghosts Live (January 12, 1948)
Baker's Dozen (January 19, 1948)
Green Light (January 26, 1948)
The Pathetic Fallacy (February 2, 1948)
Whence Came You? (February 16, 1948)
Wear the Dead Man's Coat (February 23, 1948)
Sketch for a Screenplay (March 1, 1948)
Never Send To Know (March 8, 1948)
A Night to Forget (March 22, 1948)
I Always Marry Juliet (April 5, 1948)
Twelve to Five (April 12, 1948)
Clarissa (April 19, 1948)
13 and 8 (April 26, 1948)
How Beautiful Upon the Mountain (May 3, 1948)
There Are Shadows Here (May 10, 1948)
Gem of Purest Ray (May 17, 1948)
In the House Where I Was Born (May 24, 1948)
Not Responsible After Thirty Years (June 14, 1948)
Let the Lillies Consider (June 28, 1948)
Wahine Tahiti (July 5, 1948)
As Long as I Live (July 19, 1948)
The Man Who Stole a Planet (July 26, 1948)
It Is Later Than You Think (August 2, 1948)
Presto-Change-O, I'm Sure (August 16, 1948)
3000 Words (August 23, 1948)
The Third Man's Story (September 6, 1948)
Symphony In "D" Minor (September 13, 1948)
Anonymous (September 19, 1948)
Light the Lamp for Me (September 26, 1948)
Meet John Smith, John (October 3, 1948)
Beezer's Cellar (October 10, 1948)
And Jeannie Dreams of Me (October 17, 1948)
Good Ghost (October 24, 1948)
Calling All Souls (October 31, 1948)
Adam and the Darkest Day (November 7, 1948)
The Evening and the Morning (November 14, 1948)
One for the Book (November 21, 1948)
My Son John (November 28, 1948)
Very Unimportant Person (December 5, 1948)
Berlin, 1945 (December 26, 1948)
The Time of the Big Snow (January 2, 1949)
Portrait of a Character (January 9, 1949)
Northern Lights (January 30, 1949)
Tap the Heat, Bogdan (February 6, 1949)
Where Do You Get Your Ideas? (February 20, 1949)
If I Should Wake Before I Die (February 27, 1949)
The Man Who Knew Everything (March 6, 1949)
Dark Rosaleen (March 13, 1949)
The Smell of High Wines (March 20, 1949)
A Time to Be Born, and a Time to Die (March 27, 1949)
Shadow of the Wings (April 17, 1949)
Dark Grey Magic (May 1, 1949)
Other Side of the Stars (May 8, 1949)
The Little Morning (May 15, 1949)
The Oldest Man in the World (May 21, 1949)
Tanglefoot (June 4, 1949)
The Hat, the Bed, and John J. Catherine (June 11, 1949)
Pavanne (June 18, 1949)
Quiet Please (June 25, 1949)
Along with thousands of other radio fans, we hope that one day a long and
pristine run of "Quiet Please" recordings will come our way, allowing us to make
this groundbreaking series available to you in sparkling high fidelity. As the
years go by, though, it seems less and less likely that this will ever come to
pass. So, in the meantime, we offer you these compact discs as a way to finally
experience the thrills, chills, and bizarre delights of Wyllis Cooper's creative
imagination: the best sounding versions of "Quiet Please" that have even been
I just got the set and yes they still sound like hell, but it's a clearer kind of hell. I had never heard the show before, and am really enjoying it.
Joined: Dec 20, 2006
Total Topics: 0
Total Comments: 1
Posted Dec 20, 2006 - 8:12 PM:
I sent an email to the First Generation Radio Archives (FGRA) website (www.radioarchives.org) asking about the QP deal mentioned in the previous posting and learned that the offer of 37 QP CDs for $74 was for "Friends of the Archives" and for November. That special price is apparently no longer available, but by becoming a member of FGRA (as I have just done), you can gain access to a list of FGRA's about 2000 or so "low generation CDs" (as opposed to their Premium Collections) which includes the 37 QP CDs (at the bottom of the listing as of Dec. 20) at $4 each. Four dollars seems to be the normal price for these low-generation CDs.
Before I invest up to $148 (37 x $4) for these CDs, I would like to hear from anyone who has sampled both the FGRA CDs and the MP3 versions available from the Quiet, Please website and can comment on how much more listenable they are.
I have now listened to about half of the QP episodes available at this (QP) site, and while I often greatly enjoy the experience (thank you, Paul K., for making this possible!!), many/most of the episodes would be heightened with some serious noise reduction and enhanced clarity.
Thanks in advance for any insights you might have on this.
Mike K (mdk)
Joined: Dec 24, 2006
Total Topics: 0
Total Comments: 1
Posted Dec 24, 2006 - 5:53 PM:
Mike K (mdk), Thanks for your research on this topic. Please post any further information as it becomes available. I really enjoyed listening to the original series back when.
BTW, were you able discover what happened to the "November" sets; were they all sold???
Edited by DTBorden on Dec 24, 2006 - 5:57 PM
Joined: Nov 21, 2006
Total Topics: 1
Total Comments: 2
Posted Jan 01, 2007 - 7:39 AM:
Having spot checked the new set against the MP3 posted here on the site my findings are that much of the fidelity is back and the shows don't sound so muddled. That and the removal of alot of the lesser surface noise are the big fixes here. Unfortunatly the big crackeling is still there, but to a slightly lesser extent. Another plus is that they don't have what I call that "silvery-sound" that glides over the top of an MP3. You know that kind of computer dust sounding thing that realy comes aparent when people say things that start with the letter S. I can send you a clip of an episode of you would like to hear for yourself.
Joined: May 04, 2003
Total Topics: 3
Total Comments: 36
Posted Jan 02, 2007 - 7:38 PM:
I too have this set and yes, it is only for the "friends." To become a friend, once has to have purchased a number of offerings from them over the years. I was told the set would only be offered to them at that price. I do believe the only way one could get it now is through the single CD purchases mentioned in another email.
However, if FGRA feels down the road they might be able to make some much needed cash by selling this set, it is always possible. Problem is (as mentioned) it doesn't meet their usual standard and I had to make sure I indicated I was definitely aware of that when I bought them. They wanted me to make sure I understood that.