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Great Beginnings: Lights Out January 24, 2007

Posted by William Spear in >> Great Beginnings, >> Radio Drama.
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Lights Out was created by writer Wyllis Cooper in 1934 and was one of radio’s first horror programs; Suspense and Inner Sanctum debuted in 1942 and 1941, respectively.

The first series of shows were each 15 minutes long and ran on a local NBC station, WENR in Chicago. By April 1934, the series was expanded to a half hour. In June, 1936, Arch Oboler took over for Cooper. Oboler’s writing and brilliant use of sound effects caught on with listeners and the series flourished.

Oboler left in the summer of 1938 to pursue other projects. In 1942, he revived the series for a year on CBS. After 1943, the series was continued by various authors.

In its prime, Lights Out competed with Suspense and Inner Sanctum. Lights Out ran through several series and networks, from January 1, 1934 to August 6, 1947.

The show is so good, it has two Great Beginnings:

. . .

SFX: GONG STRIKES. WIND BLOWS UNDER BED.

ANNOUNCER: This is the witching hour.

SFX: BED: DOG GROWLING AND BARKING.

ANNOUNCER: It is the hour when dogs howl and evil is let loose on the sleeping world.

SFX: CRASH OF THUNDER

ANNOUNCER: Want to hear about it?  Then turn out your lights.

SFX: GONG STRIKES, GOES OUT.

. . .

Later, the beginning was changed as shown from the show Sub-Basement from August 24, 1943.

. . .

ANNOUNCER (FRANK MARTIN): Ironized Yeast presents …

VOICE: Lights out … everybody …

SFX: CHIMES.

VOICE: (ON FOURTH CHIME) It – is – later – than – you – think …

ANNOUNCER: (ON TWELFTH CHIME) Lights Out brings you stories of the supernatural – and the supernormal, dramatizing the fantasies and the mysteries of the unknown. We tell you this frankly — so if you wish to avoid the excitement and tension of these – imaginative plays, we urge you calmly, but sincerely, to turn off your radio – now.

. . .

Make book that the lights always stay on when listening to . . .Lights Out.

Other Great Beginnings:

Great Beginnings: Little Orphan Annie

Great Beginnings: Yours Truly, Johnny Dollar

All the Great Beginnings

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