Sunday, October 23, 2011

Have Yourself A Macabre Halloween






The early 1960s saw the demise of the golden age of radio, killed by the unstoppable juggernaut of television.  With few exceptions, radio was morphing into a medium mostly of music and talk.


Daytime soaps Our Gal Sunday, This is Nora Drake, Backstage Wife, and Road of Life all ended their runs in 1959.  Gunsmoke ended its stellar primetime radio run in 1961, and Yours Truly, Johnny Dollar was put to bed after 811 episodes in September of 1962. 


There were a few hangers on, particularly during the morning and afternoon time slots.  Shows like Arthur Godfrey Time, Garry Moore, and the Bing Crosby – Rosemary Clooney show continued into the mid-1960s, but even their fates were becoming obvious.


Although radio drama was on the decline stateside, because many of its listeners were in far-off places and unable to gather in front of a television set, the AFRS (Armed Forces Radio Service) continued to provide a wide variety of audio entertainment for the troops well into the 1960s.


Created in 1942, shortly after the onset of WWII, AFRS provided radio broadcasts and V-Discs (78 & 33 rpm records) to troops around the world. Often the shows beamed to the troops were the same shows heard stateside, but sometimes they were created specifically for AFRS.


One such home-brewed show was Macabre – which ran for only 8 episodes during 1961-1962, and was produced by FEN (the FAR EAST NETWORK) of AFRS. Despite this short run, it is well remembered for its excellent production values and spooky subject matter.


The Internet Archive has all eight episodes available for listening or download.  Being only 50 years old, the audio quality is better than you’ll find on many of the older recordings.


The episodes, all appropriate for the week leading up to Halloween, are:

Macabre 611113 - [1] Final Resting Place

Macabre 611120 - [2] Weekend

Macabre 611127 - [3] The Man in the Mirror

Macabre 611204 - [4] The House in the Garden

Macabre 611211 - [5] The Midnight Horseman

Macabre 611218 - [6] The Avenger

Macabre 620101 - [7] The Crystalline Man

Macabre 620108 - [8] The Edge of Evil

The link to download them is Macabre

I’ll have more Halloween Horror from the golden age of radio, TV, and movies later in the week.

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