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

Inner Sanctum -- "The Girl and the Gallows"

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Inner Sanctum (1941-52) aired "The Girl and the Gallows" on May 1, 1945 as the 226th of its approximately 527 episodes. Unfortunately, most of the shows are lost, with best guesstimates ranging from 140 to "less than 200" still in circulation. However, among these still existing shows, some are only partial episodes, with the majority being AFRS (Armed Forces Radio Service) repeats. While the AFRS is to be commended for having preserved these episodes, it should be noted that it deleted the local, syndicated commercials in order not to play favorites with advertised products. It also removed the original openings and closings, running episodes under the Mystery Playhouse title with Peter Lorre as one of the shows hosts (along with a "Sergeant X" as in this episode). Fortunately, this episode is one of the originals and features Raymond Johnson (1911-2001, photo at right) as the original host (he would leave the show in May of 1945 to join the armed forces--this current episode being one of his last--and was replaced by the more than capable Paul McGrath). Lipton Tea would not become a sponsor until the 1945 season, bringing with it the perky co-host and Lipton Tea spokesperson Mary Bennett who became famous for working in Lipton Tea commercials alongside the host's terrible puns.

This is the 29th Inner Sanctum episode we've run since we began featuring Old Time Radio episodes back in 2009 and only the second this year, the other coming back in March, so we felt that along with Halloween this coming Thursday it was high time we offered another.

"The Girl and the Gallows" is a suitably creepy whodunit fit for the Halloween season. It involves a medium's supernatural prophecy come true, an old man's bloody murder, and the distraught daughter who stands to inherit his wealth. The police must consider her as a suspect (however unlikely) because she has an obvious motive, but other evidence points strongly to another old crone. The performance of the actress playing the bereaved daughter is to be commended, for she maintains the tense emotional level that keeps the listener on the edge of their seat throughout, while the taut musical score buttresses the entire production. While the audio isn't perfect and exhibits a slight fuzziness, it is more than made up for by the intensity of the drama. And the denouement at the very end is worth sticking around for, so don't let the less than perfect audio discourage you from listening to this spooky murder mystery (yes, with host Raymond's awful puns) from Inner Sanctum. Happy early Halloween.

Play Time: 29:52

       {Their first trip to the local newsstand in May of 1945 found the neighborhood gang selecting a more hodgepodge group of magazines than usual, having already bought most of their regular SF selections the previous week. Action Stories (1921-50) published a variety of genre material over its almost 30-year run, but the western genre ended up with more stories than any other. It was a quarterly in 1945. The New Argosy (1943-79) had been around in one incarnation or another since 1882.  Published until 1942 by the Munsey Co., Popular Publications then took over from 1942 until the magazine's demise in 1979. Over its almost century-long run it would publish all manner of adventure stories, including several of Edgar Rice Burroughs's Tarzan novels. It was a monthly through most of this new run, but managed (because of the war, which would end in a little over three months from the cover date of the issue below) only 9 monthly issues through September of 1945. It would resume a schedule of 12-monthly issues in 1947 until near its final few issues in 1979. Jungle Stories (1938-54) remained a favorite in 1945 when it came to its steady diet of wild jungle adventures and half naked women needing rescuing from one danger after another. And fans of Ki-Gor the Jungle Lord were never disappointed with another of their stalwart hero's daring exploits. It was a quarterly in 1945.]

[Left: Action Stories, Summer 1945 - Center: The New Argosy, May 1945 - Right: Jungle Stories, Summer 1945]


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