The Haunting Hour
1944 - 1946
Little is actually known about The Haunting Hour.
Dozens of episodes from this transcribed series survive, but there are no credits provided to reveal who the host or other staff actually were. The theatrical introduction provided listeners a strong hint that they were in for some high melodrama. What else would you expect from a host who warned, "No... No, stay where you are. Do not break the stillness of this moment... This is-- (big organ flourish) The Haunting Hour!" Keep in mind that The Haunting Hour was never an hour long, and it was rarely (if ever) played at midnight. I guess that's why they call it fantasy...
Both actors and actresses seemed a little too expressive with their emotions on this show. (A lot of modern listeners probably consider it over the top.) Many of the protagonists were women. Perhaps they were appealing to the female soap opera crowd, but with ghost and murder themes thrown in for good measure. The dramatic organ emphasized the already overly sincere acting. Yet, the stories were interesting and there's no denying a charm the series provides. It may seem campy by today's standards, but it is still entertaining.
The bad guys usually sounded bad in The Haunting Hour. Artist depiction courtesy of Tune In For Terror © 1992
The Standard Intro:
Sfx: (Echoing footsteps follow the beat of an organ... then stop.)
Announcer/host: "No... No, stay where you are. Do not break the stillness of this moment. For this is a time of mystery. A time when imagination is free, and moves forward swiftly, silently.... This is--"
Announcer/host: "--The Haunting Hour!"
An Opening Narration:
Sfx: (Church bells in distance.)
Announcer/host: "Listen, those are bells tolling in requiem for a man who has died. How did he die, you ask? Ah... Listen to what happened to a girl who knew, who's mind was clouded dark with the fear of knowing. Listen to a tale of murder...
Sfx: (Organ flourish.)
"It is late afternoon. Lee house is set strangely on a cliff beside the rolling sea. Autumn leaves fall, and with them, the threads of night. And in a car, parked a little distance from the house at a pillared gate, sits a girl behind the wheel. Beside her, stands an old man with sad and beguiling eyes."
A Middle Narration:
Announcer/host: "Jonathan Lee is dead. And our story begins one night a few months later when Anna, a young woman who has lived in seclusion for four years at Lee house, is to be married to Jim Brant, a young architect. Jameson, the old caretaker, sees her off in the station wagon. As Anna and Jim drive along, she confesses that she was Jonathan's wife, that she herself murdered him. Her mind is distraught with the terrible fear that the dead man is somehow among the undead. That he is waiting for her."
The Standard Closing:
Announcer/host: "From shadows and stillness, mystery weaves a spell of strangest fascination, charging the mind with doubts and fears. For mystery is a strange companion, a living memory in The Haunting Hour."
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Hear up to 24 different episodes of The Haunted Hour in RealPlayer!
(RealPlayer allows you to continue to browse other sites while you listen.)
"The Hands of Mr. Smith" - A gangster is murdered by his partner but swears to come back and get revenge... even if he has to dig his way out of his grave.
"The Bird of Death" - A rich uncle is murdered by his assistant in a deserted swamp, except there was still a witness... the bird of death.
"Ptolomey's Grave" - A widow is haunted by the ghost of her husband, a man who's last act was buying a "cursed" mummy.
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