Inner Sanctum

(4 stars; 2 reviews)

Inner Sanctum is one of radio's most famous programs, broadcast from 1941 to 1952. It is best remembered for the sound effect of a heavy lock being opened and then a slowly opening, and loud, creaking door. Publisher Simon and Schuster started a popular book series named "Inner Sanctum" in 1930, and licensed its name to the radio series to promote them. Raymond Edward Johnson was the host of the program ("this is Raymond, your host...") until he left for the service in mid-May 1945. The part was taken by Paul McGrath ("this is your host"). The programs featured haunting ghosts, graveyards, and spooky situations of people who found themselves in trouble or mentally tortured, usually because they murdered someone. The show was produced in New York and had a reliable ensemble of the city's best radio talent. Hollywood and Broadway stars would often have leading roles in a particular week's episode. All of its ghoulishness was enjoyed because it was so outlandish. It was like celebrating Halloween every week. The host would engage in some introductory comments about some spooky subject that would include a play on words or pun of some sort. After some advertising about a sponsor's product, the drama would commence. The show would end with some more comments by the host, another sponsor message, and a closing with the host wishing the audience "... pleasant... dreammsss" and a nefarious laugh that acknowledged to the listeners that they were all in on the joke with the cast, and of course, their host. Despite the topics, Inner Sanctum was one of the most playful entertaining programs on the air. It would not produce classic dramas as  Suspense or Escape would, but the Inner Sanctum plays would be remembered for the fun of it all. The producer and director was Himan Brown. He would revive radio drama in the 1970s with CBS Radio Mystery Theater and use the same trademarked opening and close as he did for Inner Sanctum . * * * These recordings are part of the Joe Hehn Memorial Collection. Mr. Hehn (1931-2020) was a pioneering collector of radio recordings when the hobby emerged in the 1960s. Digitizing his collection of reel tapes and discs is the effort of a wide range of North American volunteers, and includes assistance of some international collectors. The groups supporting this effort with their funds, time, technology and skills are the Old Time Radio Researchers and a small group of transcription disc preservationists who refer to themselves as the "The Knights of the Turning Table."

This recording is part of the Old Time Radio collection.