Dark Destiny

1942 - 1943

Above image courtesy of Tune In For Terror © 1992

Announcer: Bob Sheppard

Dark Destiny was the first radio series that the prolific writing team of Robert A. Arthur and David Kogan wrote together. The two had met in 1940 at Columbia University in a radio writing class (Hand, 131). Arthur was already an experienced fantasy writer of pulp tales, the likes of which appeared in Amazing Stories, Wonder Stories, and Unknown Worlds. He had also written many detective/ mystery stories for The Illustrated Detective Magazine and The Shadow magazine. Kogan had already broken into radio, writing scripts for The Shadow and Bulldog Drummond. He suggested that the two of them work together and Arthur agreed (Hand, 132). Not only was Dark Destiny created as a result, but so was The Mysterious Traveler, The Strange Doctor Weird, and The Sealed Book. (They also produced the murder-mystery series, Murder By Experts and co-wrote the 1944 summer season of Nick Carter-Master Detective.)

According to Kogan, the two would brainstorm plots together, and then one or the other would go off and write the script. Arthur (who also wrote for Weird Tales) specialized in the horror scripts, and Kogan favored the science fiction scripts (Hand, 133). Kogan also claims his partner didn't care for directing the cast, so Kogan usually wound up doing that (Hand, 132). The two were a driving force in radio mystery/ horror programs for just over a decade, until trouble with the House Un-American Activities Committee caused them to be black-balled in 1953. (See The Mysterious Traveler).

Only one recorded episode of Dark Destiny survives in circulation today. Although rather rare, the sound quality and script are both quite good. It bares all the hallmarks of future Arthur & Kogan scripts: Witty banter between characters, a ruthless murder plot between scheming individuals to kill an unsuspecting third party, and a supernatural twist ending. Although some of the stories were likely recycled in other Arthur/Kogan series, it is still regrettable that only one sample survived. Interestingly enough, it is the only horror series the dynamic writing duo created that has no host or recurring character. Perhaps they learned early on that a catchy host can do a lot to improve the desired atmosphere, if not, the ratings.


A Typical Intro:

SFX: Bell tolls in background.

(Music: Organ builds, then drops under narration.)

Announcer: "Dark Destiny!"

Music: Organ up, subsides.)

Announcer: "The lives of some are doomed from the beginning. There are souls born for these dark stars who must travel by strange and terrible roads to meet their destiny. This is the tale of one of these. The story we've called Masquerade."


Announcer: "You have just listened to Chapter Eight of Dark Destiny. A series of dramas about those unfortunate ones among us whose lives are doomed from the beginning. Who travel by strange and terrible roads to meet their destiny."

SFX: (Organ sting.)

A Typical Closing:

Announcer: "Tonight's story, 'Masquerade', originated in the studios of station WOR. Written by Robert Arthur and David Kogan, it was produces by Jack Johnstone. Featured in tonight's program was Carl Eastman as Jerry, and Elseth Eric as Helen. Next Saturday night at 8, you will hear a story..."

Man with accent: "You say Ann has been dead for a month? But that's impossible. It couldn't be. It must be wrong. Because Ann and I were married, yesterday!"

SFX: Bell tolls.

Announcer: What's that? A man with a phantom wife? Listen to the next chapter of Dark Destiny. A story titled, 'Till Death Do Us Part.' Bob Sheppard speaking. This is Mutual."

Hear it now, FREE!

(Courtesy of RadioHorrorHosts.com)

"Masquerade" - A cheating wife and her scheming lover murder the unsuspecting husband at a Halloween party. Then they have trouble keeping him dead!

Here's a list of the known shows courtesy of Otrr.org (all lost except #8):

42/08/26 1 It Is Later Then You Think
42/09/02 2 The Curse of the Tomb
42/09/23 3 The Man Who Couldn't Die
42/09/30 4 Escape into the Night
42/10/07 5 The Knives of Death
42/10/17 6 Murderer at Large
42/10/24 7 The Bell of Life
42/10/31 8 Masquerade
42/11/07 9 Till Death Do Us Part
42/11/14 10 The Dynasty of Death
42/11/21 11 No Escape
42/11/26 12 Full Fathom Fifty
42/12/03 13 Extra! Extra!
42/12/10 14 Mortal Clay
42/12/17 15 They Who Sleep
42/12/24 16 No One on the Line
42/12/31 17 It Is Later Then You Think
43/01/07 18 Murder Goes Free
43/01/14 19 The Whisper of Death
43/01/21 20 The House of Cain
43/01/28 21 If You Believe
43/02/04 22 Horror by Night
43/02/11 23 Five Miles Down
43/02/18 24 Death Won't Wait
43/02/25 25 The Cat from Hell
43/03/04 26 Flight to Safety
43/03/11 27 The Hand with Claws

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