Gordon Payton &
Martin Grams Jr.
The CBS Radio Mystery Theater:
Almost every evening for nine years in the late 1970s and early 1980s, the CBS RADIO MYSTERY THEATER brought monsters, murderers and mayhem together for an hour. Created, produced and directed by Himan Brown, the series remains a landmark in radio drama. This book offers a detailed history and episode guide to the 2,970 broadcasts aired between 1974 and 1982. Information includes exact titles, airdates and rebroadcast dates, episode numbers, cast lists, writer and adapter credits, and a storyline synopsis. Comments about the performers and writers, with their remarks quoted, anecdotes about the scripts and sound effects, and other notes of interest abound.
For those whose ears have not heard the screams of the CBS RADIO MYSTERY THEATER, allow us to give you a sneak peek at the population that lurked within America's radio speakers during the late 1970s; banshees, leprechauns, vampires, zombies, killer plants, warlocks, aliens, Egyptian cats, a golem, reincarnated spirits, Druids, ghosts, clairvoyants, witches, lycanthropes, somnambulists, alchemists, Dracula, Dorian Gray, dwarfs, and to top it off, Frankenstein's monster. And that was just the first year!
Himan Brown was the brain of the CBS RADIO MYSTERY THEATER. His experience as a producer and director was unparalleled. He directed THE ADVENTURES OF THE THIN MAN, BULLDOG DRUMMOND, TERRY AND THE PIRATES, INNER SANCTUM MYSTERIES, DICK TRACY and numerous others.
When the press release from CBS went out to newspapers across the country, Brown announced that MYSTERY THEATER would be "the most exciting break-through of the last ten years." It was indeed, the return of the "art form of radio drama." Brown insisted that his program would be contemporary in everything from technical effects to subjects and characters, including a female police lieutenant, a child born out of wedlock, abortion, and a man copying with sterility. "Our whole approach," he emphasized, "is more adult."
When other stations saw the popularity of MYSTERY THEATER, they too began broadcasting drama in such shows as THE SEARS RADIO THEATER and Rod Selring's ZERO HOUR and HOLLYWOOD RADIO THEATER. Every episode of CBS RMT was rehearsed and recorded in Studio G on the sixth floor of the old CBS Radio Annex on East 52nd Street. The background music came from a library of about 500 carts that were stacke dup behind the recording console in the operator's position in the control booth. Sarah Jessica Parker, John Lithgow, Jerry Orbach, Agnes Moorehead, Kim Hunter, Mercedes McCambridge, Fred Gwynne, Kevin McCarthy, Tony Roberts and Marian Seldes were but a few who starred in these daily radio dramas.
This book offers a detail log ("Episode Guide") of each and every Mystery Theater episode ever broadcast. The material comes directly from CBS press releases in order to insure complete accuracy. Many of the plot descriptions came from the script writers themselves. There are two appendixes at the end of the book, documenting the CBS/GENERAL MILLS RADIO ADVENTURE THEATER which was a spin-off series from the MYSTERY THEATER cast and crew, and a log of the 1998 revival of the MYSTERY THEATER hosted by Himan Brown. A lengthy index makes it easy to find any specific episode.
"Excellent!" reviewed ARBA
"An extensive look at the radio drama that gave us the fear you can hear in the '70s" - Starlog Magazine
"Dismissing the publisher's original intention to keep this tome from being released in paperback format, our wishes have been granted by the magic fairy. Payton and Grams' superb book has been re-released with a slightly lower price. I am not aware of any discounted books authored by the ambitious Grams and with that said, I recommend fans of CBS RMT rush out and buy the paperback before it gets pulled from bookshelves." - Tammy Kebil, The CBS RMT Gazette
"This book contains everything you would want to know about the series and more, including a short history of the program. More than just a log of the broadcasts, it also includes a synopsis of all 2,970 episodes, including original broadcast dates, re-broadcast dates an cast. There is also a twenty-five page alphabetical index listing actors, actresses and series titles. Another bonus included is a log of the CBS GENERAL MILLS RADIO ADVENTURE THEATER, a spin-off of the CBS RMT. In short, if you are a fan of the CBS RADIO MYSTERY THEATER, this book is a must have! At $45.00, the cost is cheap. If your wife is like mine, you may need two copies." - reviewed by Frank C. Boncore, THE ILLUSTRATED PRESS
"This is a reprint of a 1999 book on the landmark radio drama series, which was created, produced and directed by Himan Brown and was broadcast almost every evening for nine years in the late 1970s and early 1980s. An introductory "Short History" offers an overview of the show's production, after which, 2,970 entries briefly describe the cast and plot of each broadcast episode."
Reviewed by REFERENCE & RESEARCH BOOK NEWS, May 2004, describing the paperback edition of this 475 page book.
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