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The QP discs are in NYC.

Comments on The QP discs are in NYC.
John D
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Posted 07/17/09 - 9:09 PM:

Well, it appears that the question of where the discs are has been solved definitively. The Museum of Radio & Television in NY (the Paley center) has a new feature on their website which allows searches of their collections, and a search on "Quiet, Please" in Radio turns up over 100 results (some are tape recordings - reel-to-reel backups I would imagine). See below:

http://www.paleycenter.org/collection?advanced=1&...

This seems to confirm what others have stated in the past, that the discs were donated to an institution by Chappell's widow after his death. Now if there was just some way to convince the museum to allow the discs to be restored, transcribed digitally, and released to the public...
MS
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Posted 07/18/09 - 4:37 PM:

Wow. Thanks for the link.

And while they're at it perhaps they could also circulate that April 1935 network premiere of "Lights Out."
Zorka
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Posted 09/07/09 - 10:20 AM:

They state that 1935 Lights Out program as being by Arch Oboler, but I believe that was written by Wyllis Cooper. Oboler didn't come to Lights Out until 1936 and I don't believe he would have been submitting scripts to them even in 1935. Wonder if they just identify it as by Oboler because they haven't really researched the history of this program.

As per the earlier topic about these discs, I still wonder if there are tapes at Florida University. As Ernest Chappell retired in Florida and his wife, before her death, probably had the tape copies that Chappell got from Emily Cooper. I am hesitant to think that the additional tape copies at NYC (along with the discs) are Chappells, but rather copies that Cooper had. Nothing to base any of this on, but speculation, of course.

Edited by Zorka on 09/07/09 - 10:50 AM
MS
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Posted 09/22/09 - 11:11 AM:

I'm sure you're right that Cooper wrote it. The date they give that episode (April 18, 1935) means it would have been the series' NBC premiere. There's a newspaper blurb from later that week mentioning that one of the characters was a countess, which matches their plot synopsis. Hard to believe Cooper wouldn't have written the network premiere of his own series. I bet you're right that they made the error because they haven't really researched the show.

But! (And this is speculation!) I wonder if it is possible that Oboler may have contributed at least one script to the series before taking over in June '36. This is just a hunch on my part, based on a vague quote of Cooper's.

In a June 8, 1936 letter to Sidney Strotz, his friend and former boss at the network, Cooper -- having quit NBC to work in Hollywood -- expresses his doubts about Oboler taking over Lights Out, saying, in part:

"... I'm afraid I don't quite agree with the choice of Arch Oboler as the writer. I don't want to stand in the way of anyone's success; but his contributions in the past hardly, to my mind, warrant him as the unerring choice to carry on this series. ..."

The phrase "his contributions in the past" is ambiguous. It might be referring to Oboler's scripts for other NBC series, for example (Oboler seems to have been submitting scripts to NBC Chicago since about 1933). But it might also mean that Oboler had made contributions to Lights Out before June '36.

Cooper was certainly busy in this period and I can see where he might have needed a week off at some point. Maybe young Mr. O was asked to fill in.

Something else to speculate about. A copy of Oboler's 1937 "Chicken Heart" script is in the hands of author-researcher Martin Grams, Jr. and he's said -- I forget where, maybe in the OTR Digest or someplace -- that it's credited to Cooper (later copies are credited to Oboler). Grams had a different, perfectly logical, explanation to account for this, but I wonder if maybe this particular Oboler play had aired during the so-called "Cooper era" and the credit got mixed up somehow as a result. Again, just speculation. Subject for further research, I guess.

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Here's the above Cooper quote in context. He writes from California:

'... will you please do something to make it clear to the listeners and to the radio editors, etc., that I am not writing Lights Out, and why I am not? I'm afraid I don't quite agree with the choice of Arch Oboler as the writer. I don't want to stand in the way of anyone's success; but his contributions in the past hardly, to my mind, warrant him as the unerring choice to carry on this series.

'Certainly I feel very strongly about this show. The idea of the type of show, its treatment, and the idea of broadcasting it at midnight are all things I am responsible for - not without some objection on the part of others. But I did do something new in radio, and apparently did a goddam good job of it; and I am not deliriously happy over the choice of a writer to start in where I left off. I think I might have been consulted, because there are other boys around who would have done better. However, that's done, and all I can ask is that you publicize the fact that I no longer have anything to do with the show. ...'
--Cooper, June 8, 1936

NBC exec Sidney Strotz, in Chicago, responds:

'... With reference to your feeling about the selection of Arch Oboler to write "Lights Out" I do not know whether or not I agree with you but I will let the matter ride along for a couple of weeks and see what if any results we get. Oboler, as you know, has done some swell shows for Campana on "First Nighter" and "Grand Hotel". If he does not work out you may rest assured that I will be the first one to throw him off and put somebody on who can do a satisfactory job on "Lights Out." ...'
--Strotz, June 16, 1936

The source is the NBC Papers in Wisconsin.
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Zorka wrote:
As Ernest Chappell retired in Florida and his wife, before her death, probably had the tape copies that Chappell got from Emily Cooper.

I thought it was the other way around. Chappell had the discs and made the tapes for Emily Cooper, according to Dr. Hand's "Terror on the Air!" book.
Zorka
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Posted 10/23/09 - 6:50 PM:

While I have a number of documents from that archive, the 1936 letter to Sid Strotz is one I missed. Most of my documents focus on the entanglement Cooper was involved in with NBC.

"In a June 8, 1936 letter to Sidney Strotz, his friend and former boss at the network, Cooper -- having quit NBC to work in Hollywood -- expresses his doubts about Oboler taking over Lights Out, saying, in part:"

Personally, this doesn't surprise me. I've always felt Oboler's approach to horror was more heavy handed than in the hands of the often more subtle Cooper. I have heard that 1935 Lights Out episode and it bears much more the mark of Cooper than Oboler ever did. Also, there is something about Oboler's dialogue from his LO days that drives me up the wall sometimes. It just sounds a little artificial at times, possibly because he did tend to dictate his scripts.

As to Chicken Heart, I heard that script performed at a Friends of Old Time Radio convention and even though it is much better in the longer half hour version, it still bears the elements of an Oboler fantasy to me especially with its overdrive of the beating heart. Even Cooper's own similar story - Amoeba - shows much more intelligent dialogue despite its protoplasmic fantasy. It was obvious Cooper was having fun with this. Oboler took it more seriously.

Cooper, for me, is to radio horror what Hitchcock was to film. True, early news articles seem to talk a lot about the sound effects, though most ramp up after Oboler took over. Don't get me wrong, I do think Oboler could be a genius to radio often. Even though Richard Hand thought it melodramatic, I still liked "It Happened" a lot with its Phantom of the Opera-like scenes.

On the discs vs. tapes. You are right, I was wrong, I think. Emily Cooper seemed to posses the scripts and some other papers, but the discs were in Chappell's hands as per Dr. Hand's quoting the Chappell letter to Emily Cooper. I had always heard that when those later copies of QP were discovered it was Chappell's widow that had them stored in a garage. Perhaps it was she who donated them to the New York Museum (a real shame indeed given their track record for researchers). I'm just surprised they didn't end up more with Chappells other papers and such, which I believe are at some NY University.
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