Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Big Audio Wednesday - Quiet, Please

Today's program is an episode of Quiet, Please from January, 1949.

I mentioned Quiet, Please in the Feb. 18th entry of Big Audio Wednesday. It was a series of horror and fantasy tales from writer Wyllis Cooper, who was also the originator of Lights Out.

Quiet, Please was a generally good, occasionally excellent series written by Cooper and presented by Ernest Chappell. Chappell served as star, narrator and announcer. Other actors occasionally provided voices, but the tales mostly hinged on Chappell and his deadpan narration building a slow sense of dread until the final twist, followed by the mournful sounds of a piano picking out the show's theme.

Quiet, Please
had its weaknesses, of course. Chappell was a very versatile performer, but the simple fact of having a male main character in every episode limited the number of stories that could be told. Also, Cooper tended to rely on the same tricks week after week. Characters that break the fourth wall were common, as were characters who spent the entire episode telling you their story, only to reveal at the end that they were actually dead the entire time, or doomed to die at the moment of the story's conclusion. There were also occasional science-fiction episodes, usually preachy anti-nuke sermons.

This episode, "Northern Lights," is not the best of the series--that would have to be "The Thing on the Fourbleboard"--but it's pretty good. So turn out your lights and listen in the dark to this cold tale of a creepy caterpillar. CLick on hte widget to listen.

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