Monday, December 23, 2019

K.A.C. 2019 - T - 2 ...

     Good morning and welcome to our next to last entry - we're almost done! If you've been with us from the beginning of this year's articles, you've experienced and listened to 22 stories of Christmas For Your Ears, all to do with the holidays in one form or another. Traditionally each year, I always save the final post for the annual Christmas Ghost Story ... since I have something special already lined up for our last tale, I'll include it ... or should I say THEM ... here.

      The following tales aren't particularly Christmas themed, but are all excellent examples of how your own imagination can fill in the blanks where horror and terror are concerned. Of all the days entries, I would suggest, if at all possible, to save these stories, particularly our first one, to be listened to in the dark, to try and recapture some of the shivers original audiences experienced upon first hearing them. Better yet, listen to them in the dark with your earbuds or headphones on - and see how long you last.
     While doing research over the last few months on this series (and listening to MANY old radio dramas), I came across some polls where fans voted what were considered the scariest tales ever told. A few stories were always in the Top 5, with this particular tale coming in at # 1.

     Originally airing on June 23rd, 1949, 'Ghost Hunt' is a fascinating episode of SUSPENSE. It starred Ralph Edwards, a radio (and later TV) announcer and host, best known for THIS IS YOUR LIFE, as radio DJ 'Smiley Smith', who, in order to keep his ratings up, does 'Friday Night Stunts'. His latest is to tag along on a 'ghost hunt' with a paranormal investigator to a haunted house where four people have committed suicide. Smiley thinks it's all a joke, at first ... even though it's a scripted story, it's prophetic to listen to now, when over four decades later, there are so many paranormal reality TV and ghost hunters/adventurers/ etc., on air.

      The script for this episode is also a cut above the norm, having been adapted from a tale by H.R. Wakefield, an established writer of the genre and contemporary of both H.P. Lovecraft and M.R. James, himself the master of this type of tale. I own some of his anthologies (such as The Clock Strikes 12 at left) and am a fan of his work, so this was a pleasant surprise. Without further ado, may I suggest you find a comfy chair, a quiet spot and turn your lights out as you join ... the 'Ghost Hunt'.


     Well, do you need a break after that? Somewhere with wide open spaces? Somewhere to stretch your legs and get you away from creepy houses? I have just the thing! How about a nice, relaxing trip to a fourble board ... smell the fresh, oil-drenched air, suck up the intoxicating scent of creeping, inexorable doom ... what's that, you say? What's a fourble board? Only the site of our reader's poll of the second scariest tale ever heard over the airwaves. Entitled "The Thing On the Fourble Board", it originally aired on August 9th, 1948, on the series QUIET, PLEASE. Your hostess Maxine here (she goes by 'Mike'), will let you know all about it ... 


     Before we go, it would be remiss of me NOT to do our annual Scary Santa collection! This one is short and sweet, courtesy of The Sun (UK), but has some GREAT photos in it ... give it a look, if you dare! 


     We wrap up things tomorrow with the BEST entry of all - come back then!

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