1945 - 1947
Artist depiction courtesy of Tune In For Terror © 1992
Narrator: John Lake
Dark Venture was a grim kind of thriller where the listener got inside the twisted head of the murderer and heard his thoughts. It was not supernatural horror, but horror just the same... the kind that evil minds spawn when they are scheming ways to kill someone and get away with it. The writing was sharp and gritty. These killers were hardened sociopaths that didn't give a damn about anyone else. They had no conscience and were diabolical in their plots. Unfortunately for them, the audience also liked to see others suffer, especially if that person was guilty and deserved his comeuppance. So each week millions could tune in to "see" the murderer meet his fate on the radio in their mind's eye. The killing method wasn't especially creative. It was usually the tried and true technique of strangulation, knifing, or shooting. No, what made Dark Venture interesting was the manner in which the killer plotted to get away with it all. Killers would devise sinister mind games to trick their wife into believing she was going insane, or manipulate a business partner into thinking he was being stalked by a phantom lover. Both of these elaborate plots were dreamed up to provide a fall guy for the murder, and both would have worked too-- except for some small detail that would unravel the entire conspiracy. It was racy radio alright, the kind that made them pass new regulations in 1947 to tone it down. Maybe that's why Dark Venture ended that same year. (Or maybe it was that producer Donald Wilson was too busy with a similar series which was even more popular, The Whistler.) Whatever the reason, only a few samples of this sinister series survive.
John Lake was the narrator (Dunning, 191), but he didn't present much except the introduction. Most of the actual narrating was provided by the culprit, which made it difficult for the listener not to identify with the killer at least a little bit, because we were sharing his thoughts. It was one of the fun aspects of the show. You knew he would get caught at the end, but you still kind of wished he would get away with it. After all, he seemed nice enough while telling us his story. It was just that small detail about taking someone else's life that made him a menace to the rest of society...
This show is rarely heard, but one place that offers eight different shows for sale can be found at: http://www.otrsite.com/logs/logd1061.htm
The Standard Intro:
(SFX: Music swells, drops under.)
Announcer: "Dark Venture!"
Host: "Over the minds of mortal men come many shadows. Shadows of greed and hate, jealousy and fear. Darkness is the absence of light. So in the sudden shadows that fog the minds of men and women, come the strange impulses that urge them into the unknown.
"And now the American Broadcasting Company presents Lou Marrow in 'The Miser!'"
Hear it Now!
(Courtesy of RadioLovers.com)
See the other known titles courtesy of otrr.org.
Download the other few shows online free (with password) from Otrr.org)
"The Miser" - A struggling grocery clerk resorts to murder to escape a robbery charge, but the old woman he knocks off doesn't want to stay dead!
"The Man in 206" - A boarding house is the epicenter of a killing spree by a serial killer dubbed "the executioner".
"The Boarder" - A cheating husband schemes of a way to kill his boarder, take the man's money, and shack up with a new girl friend, while simultaneously pinning the murder on his wife.
"Turnaround" - An embezzling partner is forced to pay up the missing $50K or face jail. Instead, he comes up with a brilliant plan to kill his partner and blame it on a non-existent "Sally".
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