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the genre's premiere review magazine for short SF & Fantasy since 1993

Creeps by Night -- "The Walking Dead"

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Creeps by Night aired "The Walking Dead" on May 16, 1944 as its 13th episode. The show lasted a brief six months, from February 15-August 15, 1944 and produced only 23 episodes, of which only 6 or 7 are thought to have survived. Boris Karloff was the host and starred in the first 12, but thereafter a mysterious, anonymous narrator known only as "Dr. X" would host the show.

This show takes place in Haiti. A doctor in the Board of Health office in Port-au-Prince is summoned to a local coffee plantation where the foreman is exhibiting a strange paralysis. What has happened to him, and why? There has also been a murder of one of the laborers recently, and it comes to light that the foreman is a suspect. Full of vodun (voodoo sorcery), black magic, and creepy descriptions of actual zombies--which practice of zombification goes back hundreds of years--this dark little tale takes the listener to a bleak place where the cloying atmosphere of death and resurrected zombies (the word zombie actually means The Walking Dead), makes this a little goose-bump of a sleeper in disguise.

In the January 12, 2012 article in the Tech section of Forbes magazine, there is a short article on zombies titled "Scientifically Studying Real Life Zombies." An excerpt from the piece I found of interest: 

"Zombies, as folklore and religious belief, have their roots in the Vodun religion, most likely in Haiti, where there is a still a strong belief in them. Indeed, the penal code of Haiti identifies "zombification" as murder, even if the "victim" is still alive. The zombification process was made famous by anthropologist Wade Davis, who hypothesized that zombification is caused by a neurotoxin that can be found in local pufferfish.

"However, in the 1990s, two doctors pursued an alternate theory of zombification. This research, brilliantly written up over at Mind Hacks, involved research into three separate case histories.

"FI was a 30-year-old woman who had died after a short illness and was buried next to the house, only for her to be recognised in a zombified state three years later by her family, wandering near to her village.

"WD died at the age of 18 shortly after his “eyes turned yellow” and his body “swelled up” and was buried in a family tomb. He was identified as a zombie at a cockfight eight years after he had been buried.

"MM was a young woman who also died at 18 after a short illness, but who was identified 13 years later in the town market, walking around in the characteristic detached shambling way."

So if you find yourself in need of an in-between-seasons fix of AMC's popular The Walking Dead, maybe this will help get you through.

     

Play Time: 24:13

{May of 1944 saw the neighborhood gang squirming in their seats at school, for summer vacation loomed. Almost before the bell had stopped rining in their ears from the last class of the week they were headed for the nearest newsstand in anticipation of bringing home enough reading to last the weekend. Captain Future was very popular among the younger set and was eagerly grabbed, though this would be its final issue. It ran as a quarterly for 17 issues between 1940 and 1944, with "world wrecker" Edmond Hamilton penning the stories. The cover below has the lead story written as by "Brett Sterling," which was a pseudonym of Hamilton's. Doc Savage had a terrific run of 16 years, from 1933-1949 and in 1944 still captured youthful imaginations with the Man of Bronze and his stalwart and resourceful companions fighting crime and having exciting adventures around the world. In 1944 it was a monthly. Thrilling Wonder Stories was also a strong must-have in the Spring of 1944, for as always it was full of colorful, otherworldy adventure stories guaranteed to ignite the Sense of Wonder in its readers. This issue sported another of Leigh Brackett's eagerly anticipated planetary romances, with a title that is now one of her most famous and warmly regarded. TWS had a great run from 1936-1955 and in 1944 was a quarterly. Of interest to those not aware of the relationship between Edmond Hamilton and Leigh Brackett, they were but a few years away from becoming man and wife. They would marry on December 31, 1946.}

[Left: Captain Future, Spring 1944 - Center: Doc Savage, May 1944 - Right: Thrilling Wonder, Spring 1944]

                   

To view the entire list of weekly Old Time Radio episodes at Tangent Online, click here.