Often, I find myself listening to old-time radio in-between podcasts when I drive to/from work. Because if there’s a way to squeeze more horror into my day, I’ll figure it out. There’s plenty of them that were so unremarkable, that I’ll be halfway through listening to one and then remember I’d already heard it a year ago…but there are also some that have always stuck with me. The following is a short list of my favorite old-time radio episodes I suggest for any avid fan of spooky sounds. Most can be found searching on Itunes or even through my links.
Theater 5 – The Talkers
This series ran in the early 60s, and a vast majority of the episodes were science fiction-themed (which in my opinion, often borders the light between fantasy and horror.) This story in particular is a simple conversation between two men after a horrific event caused by humankind has led people to start…changing…into bug-like creatures. The more they breathe, the worse it gets.
Dimension X – Marrionettes Inc.
Hosted in 1950 by NBC, this show only lasted a year. Another Science Fiction show, with couple of quite gruesome episodes. This one intrigues me because it has an interesting twist on the idea of a human-like robot servant. A man learns he can use a robot to fool his wife so he can take a much-needed vacation…unfortunately, the robots in question don’t want to give up their places when their owners return.
Lights Out – It Happened
This show was a little more prolific than the others, running well near 15 years. It hopped station to station, and even spawned an actual tv show. It’s also one of the earlier horror shows on the radio, so quite historically important in it’s own right. Sometimes, when I look back at this episode in my memory, I get a chill just imagining how awful it would be to go through what the young girl in this one had to…trying to run away for a bit of fun, being trapped in a sewer, and forced into servitude to make ‘jewelry’ for a maniac.
Mysterious Traveler – The Good Die Young
Mysterious Traveler had it’s life in both radio and print, and in various different genres. The Good Die Young is an excellent little morsel about an evil little girl. What’s more, I wouldn’t be surprised if The Bad Seed heavily borrowed from it, because that’s all I could think about when I first heard this show.
Lights Out – Cat Wife
Yet another episode from Lights Out. Cat Wife makes you wonder what is truly worse…marrying a beautiful but hateful woman, or loving a man-eating cat?
The Price of Fear – Cat’s Cradle
I mentioned this one in an episode of my podcast, once upon a time. Suffice it to say, the whole series was voiced by…Vincent Price. So it’s incredible, of course. Cat’s Cradle in particular is interesting, because I’m always worried whether or not a spiteful cat has it out for me.
Nightfall – Guest of Honor
A bit newer than the others, this one was hosted by CBC in the early 80s. A dark story, but not quite as grim as most of the others I’ve recommended. It’s about a high-class woman who has simply seen too much in life, and has become so bored that she decides to invite death to a party…death accepts.