Those were not halcyon days for me.
Nowdays things are quite, and I must say, excellently, different. There are oceans of shows available; more, truly, than any single person can ever hear. Here we can observe and identify the stages of radio discovery in it's purest form. First, it's the genesis phase. Maybe one listens to them with mom on the road trips to visit grandma, or maybe while cruising the racks at the comic book shop, being entranced by the Green Hornet while sneaking free reads of Richie Rich stories. That step is followed by the entry phase, in which one attempts to define the overall experience; who is what, what is best, and where does one get these amazing things? After that it's the beginning acquisition stage. This is the phase in which one discovers THE SHADOW, THE GREEN HORNET, probably JACK BENNY, SUSPENSE, and if one is lucky, and I mean very lucky, one is scared silly for the first time by any of many heart-stopping episodes of LIGHTS OUT. This is a great period of one's development; discovery is the magic word, when the world feels fresh and new.
That was a great part of my journey...great memories.
The last phase (well, not the last, actually, but the last one before one goes off into the abyss and starts buying transcription discs) is when one has become a seasoned listener, having stepped beyond the more famous shows and into the real meat of the art. It's the most fulfilling, and often the most satisfying. This is when one discovers stuff like HEARTHSTONE OF THE DEATH SQUAD, THE ADVENTURES OF CHARLIE LUNG, TALES OF FATIMA (one of a jillion great Basil Rathbone radio gems), THE MOLLE MYSTERY THEATRE, BATTLE FOR INSPECTOR WEST, FRANK WATANABE AND THE HONOURABLE ARCHIE, and the show that this extremely long introduction was concocted for, the AMAZING locked-room mystery, CABIN B-13.
CABIN B-13, penned by the virtuoso mystery scribbler John Dickson Carr, was initially a one-off 1943 episode of SUSPENSE. It was re-aired at a later date, which apparently gave CBS the proper sense of buzz to commission a full series from Carr. Carr had already done some incredible work for CBS on a number of SUSPENSE episodes, so it apparently seemed worth the investment. Sadly, only three shows exist of the twenty-five produced by CBS, and if the quality of these three are any indication, it must have been a slam-bang of a fun run. The writing is as tight and as full of flair as only someone like Carr could produce (though not as tight as the show that I consider the best in this area, NIGHT BEAT), and the acting really brings the scripts to life. I'm a big fan of Carr's Gideon Fell novels, as well as his Sir Henry Merrivale stories, so this show is a real treat for me.
They're certainly worth hunting down, and honestly, the desire to hear the remaining twenty-two shows almost makes me want to go off the deep end into the transcriptions phase...on the off-chance that I might stumble upon just one...more...episode...
Download and enjoy the CABIN B-13 episode THE SLEEP OF DEATH (HERE)