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Paul
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Posted 11/09/03 - 4:10 AM:

That was "A Night to Forget"... John H keeps being told that Al April (the Quiet Please sound effects person) is going to accidentally kill him during their broadcast firing a gun that's supposed to only have blanks. When he comes into the studio the coffin salesman measures him up and annoys him for a while telling him about what a nice coffin he'll be in.

I don't remember anything similar in Lights Out though (could be I've missed an episode of Lights Out, or forgotten it).
MS
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Posted 11/09/03 - 9:54 PM:

The "Lights Out!" episode is called "The Coffin in Studio B" -- it was written by Cooper and is one of the better episodes from the 1946 "Lights Out!" summer series. It's about a couple of actors and a director rehearsing an episode of "Lights Out!" when a weird old salesman shows up and tries to sell one of the actors a coffin. Cooper borrowed the idea for part of "A Night to Forget" which is otherwise a completely different play.

I suspect Cooper borrowed a lot of ideas from his old "Lights Out!" scripts and reworked them for "Quiet, Please!" but so few of his "Lights Out!" episodes survive that it's hard to tell. I remember reading somewhere that he wrote a script for a lost "Lights Out!" episode entitled "Lights Out" (just as he wrote an episode of "Quiet, Please!" called "Quiet, Please") and that the script was about a veteran on Decoration Day -- which sounds rather similar to the premise of "In the House Where I Was Born."

Maybe bfish or somebody can dig up the few surviving 1930s "Lights Out!" scripts at the University of Maryland. I notice Maryland also has script(s) for "The Army Hour" -- another hard-to-find series that Cooper wrote and directed.


Rob
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#18 - Quote - Permalink
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Posted 11/10/03 - 1:55 PM:

I pulled them out and listened to both of them back to back.
Both are interesting. Cooper seems to like to put some humor into his programs which adds to the feel of his shows.
I wonder how close "Coffin" is to a real rehearsal of the period. I like how you can hear the click of the talk-back mic
from the booth very realistic. I also like his use of a recording in Northern Lights, very cool. All of these devices help put you in the moment and make it feel like you are there. smiling face
Zorka
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Posted 11/10/03 - 2:57 PM:

MS wrote:
\\\"Maybe bfish or somebody can dig up the few surviving 1930s \\\"Lights Out!\\\" scripts at the University of Maryland. I notice Maryland also has script(s) for \\\"The Army Hour\\\" -- another hard-to-find series that Cooper wrote and directed.\\\"

Keep in mind that Cooper was not writing original scripts for this series. He was the assigned writer to put it all together into a compiled format. He was not the producer for this series so the subject matter was pretty much dictated. As I continue to research Cooper, I am finding that unless he had real creative control, the scripts tended to be sometimes rather bland. He was so prolific that he could not write brilliantly or show off his style with those where he was essentially the scriptwriter.

He also wrote a season of the The Campbell Playhouse and Whitehall 1212 among others and these tend not to show the Cooper I at least know and love!wink
MS
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Posted 11/10/03 - 11:21 PM:


Oh, I realize Cooper wasn't doing originals for "The Army Hour" but everything I've read it about it so far makes it sound pretty interesting. Technically, I think he WAS credited as the producer, at least according to John Dunning's OTR encyclopedia but, yeah, he was working under series creator Edward Kirby, the War Department, and a restrictive format. And, yeah, it was a news and variety series, not drama. But, on the other hand ...

An article in the Library of American Broadcasting newsletter has a juicy quote about it: "Highlights included interviews with both top brass and returning combat veterans, as well as some of the most descriptive battlefield reporting of the war. The program did not sugarcoat the war, and showed the Army at its darkest moments as well as in victory. An early broadcast featuring the terse translation of the last Morse code message from the besieged soldiers of Corregidor had no equal for drama on the airwaves." Gerd Horten, in his recent book, Radio Goes to War, says that, except for programs broadcast over all networks simultaneously during prime time, "The Army Hour" (which ran on Sunday afternoons) was the most popular of all wartime propaganda series, with millions of listeners.

As for "The Campbell Playhouse": Cooper worked on the final season of that series (Nov '40 to June '41), after Orson Welles left, and none of those episodes survive, apparently, so it's kind of hard to judge his work there.

I agree "Whitehall 1212" can be pretty bland but I'd blame that more on the restrictions of the format (dramatizations of Scotland Yard cases), rather than on any lack of creative control. It's a "Dragnet" knock-off that Shakespeare himself couldn't have saved.

I haven't heard any of the episodes Cooper wrote for "Arthur Hopkins Presents" but they might be a good test case. They didn't let him produce and they didn't let him direct (except once, I think) but he wrote the first eight episodes of the series, an anthology of hour-long Broadway play adaptations.
bostjan
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#21 - Quote - Permalink
Posted 08/17/09 - 5:09 PM:

My favorite is "The Other Side of the Stars." It kinda reminded me of H.P. Lovecraft's "The Colour out of Space," which is one of my favorite sci-fi stories. I also enjoyed "Beezer's Cellar" (which reminded me of a reoccurring dream I had as a child, incidentally) and "Adam and the Darkest Day," which strikes me as different from most contemporary popular stories from that era, due to the dark ending.
foleycat
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#22 - Quote - Permalink
Posted 10/09/09 - 9:18 PM:

It is Later Than you Think
MS
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Posted 04/08/10 - 9:14 AM:

MS wrote:
As for "The Campbell Playhouse": Cooper worked on the final season of that series (Nov '40 to June '41), after Orson Welles left, and none of those episodes survive, apparently, so it's kind of hard to judge his work there.


Actually, I think a couple of these do survive somewhere but don't seem to be circulating.

MS wrote:
I haven't heard any of the episodes Cooper wrote for "Arthur Hopkins Presents" but they might be a good test case. They didn't let him produce and they didn't let him direct (except once, I think) but he wrote the first eight episodes of the series, an anthology of hour-long Broadway play adaptations.


It turns out that Cooper only worked on the first five episodes of this series, not eight, and isn't credited with the directing. The adaptations are mostly very straightforward ones and not particularly Cooperesque.
eplombardo
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Posted 05/21/10 - 9:01 AM:

My all-time favorite episode in old time radio is "Adam and the Darkest Day." A Halloween episode, "Calling All Souls" is also brilliant, especially after one listens to it a few times. After one knows the suprise ending, the script assumes an entirely new meaning when one listens to the program again; it is essentially a long confession. I also love "Wear the Dead Man's Coat" and "Beezer's Cellar" is also great.
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