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"Nothing Behind the Door" 6-8-47

Comments on "Nothing Behind the Door" 6-8-47
borisandbelarule
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Posted Jun 08, 2010 - 9:18 PM:

Celebrated "Quiet Please's" 63rd birthday by listening to the debut episode in which Cooper takes us from an astronomy lesson about black holes to a bank heist to a shack that is surrounded by wire and designated as off-limits. He and his buddies want to use it to hide their loot, but are warned by a scientist that they shouldn't enter because it's not safe. And what's in there that's so dangerous? "Nothing."

I'll tell you what. I can imagine an audience of 1947 getting a few chills out of this episode, which a few years later very well could have been a candidate for "Dimension X" or "X-Minus One." It was kind of slow-moving at first, but really picked up during the last half..

I thought it was kind of funny how when Chappell wanted to go for a drink, he said he wouldn't go near alcohol before driving, but was perfectly fine with sucking down a few beers. He didn't consider beer alcohol. I'll try that one on my wife. I'm betting she doesn't agree.

Anyway, a huge thumbs up for "Nothing Behind the Door." Anybody else got some thoughts about it? I'd really like to get into a habit of listening to the series in order and stimulate some conversations. I know you'll join in, Paul. You're thoughts about this series are awesome to read. Hopefully, more will join in. To borrow (and tweak) the quote from Charles Whitley in that wonderful Twilight Zone episode, "Kick the Can," I... can't... play... Quiet Please... alone...

Edited by borisandbelarule on Jun 08, 2010 - 9:23 PM
Paul
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Posted Jun 10, 2010 - 3:52 AM:

If it'd been a Dimension X episode, VanDyke would've been a robot emissary from the dark void. If it'd been an X-Minus One episode there would've been a complicated explanation of how the nothing resulted from an physics experiment. Only Quiet Please can do it the way it did it.

A lot of QP episodes are slow-moving, it's part of the premise for the series. I read somewhere that Cooper's scripts were much shorter than normal half hour radio scripts and he felt normal pacing was way too fast -- which probably was, a lot of OTR sounds pretty rushed and unnatural with no quiet moments.

If I recall correctly, this episode takes place entirely in one spot (bit of narration mentioning that the robbery took place, but I don't think there's any dialogue away from Mt Wilson?) and with a very simple series of events (the group comes up and takes the tour and makes their plans, they return with the loot and find nothing). I think it could be performed as a stage play with just one set.

It's doubly appropriate that it be so simplistic, when the subject of the plot is in fact nothing. And as the pilot it sets up the way QP aims more to create a feeling than to expand on a plot.
MS
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Posted Jun 10, 2010 - 8:28 PM:

Re: hard liquor and beer. Cooper, the drinker, likes his alcohol; it's the drug of choice on this series. You can't go more than a few episodes without a booze reference. Maybe QP fans should have a drinking game -- we could take a shot every time there's an organ accent ... or a long pause.

The device of crooks hiding the loot in some out-of-the-way place turns up again in "Beezer's Cellar." I'm not sure why they don't just split up the cash and go their separate ways; it seems safer, but I guess if they did, there'd be no plot. The killers try doing that in "The Ticket Taker" a few episodes from now, and that doesn't turn out well either.

I'm thinking this episode might not make it as a single-set stage play. There's action at the House With Nothing In It and in and around the observatory, but also between both places (the gang crawls under a fence and stumbles around in the dark, and later Chappell's character and the astronomer take a long walk from the house back to the observatory). Of course, Corey Klemow could do it all with a few lighting changes. :)

Re: "If it'd been an X-Minus One episode there would've been a complicated explanation..." I recently listened to the X Minus One version of Ray Bradbury's "The Veldt." It has a scene tacked on at the end in which the psychologist character explains to you exactly what just happened. There's no equivalent in the original short story and I don't think it's in the Dimension X version either.
Thomas Davie
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Posted Dec 18, 2010 - 5:10 PM:

borisandbelarule wrote:
Celebrated "Quiet Please's" 63rd birthday by listening to the debut episode in which Cooper takes us from an astronomy lesson about black holes to a bank heist to a shack that is surrounded by wire and designated as off-limits

Anyway, a huge thumbs up for "Nothing Behind the Door." Anybody else got some thoughts about it?


I've been listening to this episode since I first downloaded it about 10 years ago. Easily the best OTR I've heard ever. Beats Dimension-X, X Minus One, Hermit's Cave, Lights Out, Inner Sanctum and everything else in the horror/science fiction/fantasy category. Every now and then I have nightmares about it. Make the wife listen to it while driving the RV down a lonely gravel road at night smiling face

I do try to listen to them in sequence, as broadcast but it's difficult.

Tom


Zorka
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Posted Dec 31, 2010 - 5:33 PM:

MS wrote:
Re: "If it'd been an X-Minus One episode there would've been a complicated explanation..." I recently listened to the X Minus One version of Ray Bradbury's "The Veldt." It has a scene tacked on at the end in which the psychologist character explains to you exactly what just happened. There's no equivalent in the original short story and I don't think it's in the Dimension X version either.


Let's be fair to the X Minus One series as I've done a lot of research on it including interviews with the scripters and part of the reason that ending was tacked onto the Bradbury story was due to the censors. The kids could not look like killers and it had to be explained away as a bit of psychological mumbo-jumbo.

I agree on the Cooper episode with all the thoughts. It was a great premier piece though I wax more nostalgic toward his semi-biographical pieces such as "In the House Where I Was Born" etc.
NothingBehindtheDoor
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Posted Dec 04, 2011 - 7:52 PM:

It's cool that 30 some years before black holes were even proven to exist, here was something, or rather nothing, that very much resembled a black hole. Or 'The Other Side of the Stars', in which Esau and Dorothy hear music that is later discovered to be coming from something that came 'from the stars'; now we find out there really are sounds coming from the stars. (Thanks, Paul!) Wyllis Cooper was a brilliant man, with out a doubt.

Edited by NothingBehindtheDoor on Jan 10, 2012 - 11:11 AM
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