Two from Lights Out

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Posted Nov 13, 2003 - 11:46 AM:

Audio files for two of Cooper's "Lights Out!" episodes are on this page:

Both have a "Quiet, Please!" connection. One episode is "The Coffin in Studio B" upon which Cooper drew for "A Night to Forget." The other is "Uninhabited" which is sort of a dry run for "Berlin, 1945": both are about soldiers at Christmas after a war.
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Posted Jan 08, 2004 - 12:38 PM:

I'm glad. I thought that my memory may have been playing
tricks on me. I liked Coffin In Studio B a lot. Some of the
dialogue in the show is very snappy: \"very well Orson!\" ect.

I wrote a radio play that is very much like Coffin called The
Summoning In Studio B that is kind of Quiet Please crossed
with H.P. Lovecraft. The Necronomicon!

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Posted Mar 17, 2006 - 6:30 AM:

I have seen Willis Cooper listed as a writer for Arch Oobler's Lights Out. Can anyone provide me with a list of episodes he is known to have written?
Posted Mar 17, 2006 - 9:35 AM:

Well, actually, Cooper created Lights Out in 1934. When he left in '36, Oboler took over the writing for two seasons. Oboler left in '38 and the 1938-39 season was written by NBC staff and free-lancers. The series was canceled in '39. Oboler revived LO for a year in 1942 and '43, writing, directing and hosting it. That's the season from which most of the surviving episodes of LO survive which is partly why many people think of the series as "Arch Oboler's Lights Out" instead of Cooper's. There were three more revivals in the summers of 1945, '46 and '47, mainly using Cooper's original 1930s scripts. And there were a couple of TV versions of the show.

Cooper wrote radio scripts for LO from '34 to '36 and, apparently, no recordings survive from that period. But his scripts were occasionally revived. The circulating LO recordings with scripts by Cooper are:

"Uninhabited/Christmas Story/Three Men" (December '37)

"Reunion After Death," "Man in the Middle/After Five O'Clock" (Summer '45)

"The Coffin in Studio B," "The Haunted Cell," "Battle of the Magicians," "The Revenge of India," "The Ghost on the Newsreel Negative" (Summer '46)

"Death Robbery" and "The Ring" (Summer '47)

A 1951 episode of the TV LO by Cooper called "Dead Man's Coat" (apparently based on QP's "Wear the Dead Man's Coat") is available on a bootleg video.

There's also a non-circulating 1945 LO recording by Cooper at the Library of Congress called "The Rocket Ship" (not to be confused with Oboler's "Rocket From Manhattan," which is in circulation but which is actually from the 1945 season of Arch Oboler's Plays).

Two untitled 1935 LO scripts by Cooper are at the Library of American Broadcasting in Maryland. One of them, about a giant amoeba, is online somewhere under the title "Slurp! Goes the Amoeba" -- it has some things in common with Oboler's later, more famous "Chicken Heart" story. The other one is about a "novelist, struggling to write a locked room mystery, [who] locks himself in his office, only to be interrupted by a stranger who resembles the story's murderer."

The 1946 premiere episode of the LO TV series has a script by Cooper called "First Person Singular" which apparently survives in the microfilmed NBC Program Files at the Library of Congress.

Aother 1935 LO script by Cooper was revived for a December 1948 episode of NBC's prestigious anthology series Radio City Playhouse. A recording of this circulates and the script survives in the NBC papers in Wisconsin.
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