Murder at Midnight

1946 - 1947

The "Reverend" Ramond Morgan traded a tranquil church life for the excitement of broadcasting.

The dramatic voice that set the mood for Murder at Midnight was that of Ramond Morgan, a Long Island minister who changed careers to preach the praises of terror on the radio. Another interesting member of the cast was Mercedes McCambridge. (Dunning, 470) Some of the shows had science fiction themes, including "Terror Out Of Space," where a scientist attempts to bounce an electronic signal off the moon and accidentally begins communicating with a hostile intelligence. The majority of stories involved murder themes. Some were stories borrowed from Inner Sanctum Mysteries, while others were originals written by top writers. ( Not all murders are created equal, however, and in "The Secret of XR-3," the killer is a sympathetic midget who is harassed to the point of desperate action. He takes an experimental drug to increase his size. He experiences the brief delight of a normal size and romance, only to keep growing until he is too big. It results in a murder, which leads him to the electric chair. It's one of those rare, tragic tales that leaves the audience feeling sorry for the killer (although he can take some comfort in not requiring a booster seat).

Artist depiction of "Terror Out of Space," from the OTR trading card series Tune In For Terror © 1992


The Standard Intro:

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SFX: Bell tolls in the distance.

SFX: (Echo effect) "Murder ... at Midnight!"

SFX: Music plays.

Host: "Midnight. The witching hour when the night is darkest, our fears the strongest, our strength at its lowest ebb. Midnight... when the graves gape open and death... strikes! How? You'll learn the answer in just a minute in... 'The Secret of XR-3!'"


An Opening Narration:

SFX: Music plays and fades to background.

Announcer: "And now, Murder At Midnight. Tales of mystery and terror by radio's masters of the macabre. Our story by Max Ehrlich is 'The Secret of XR-3.'"

Host: "The Death House. A man sits in a tiny cell, his head bowed, waiting for the moment when he will pass from light to eternal shadow. The clock ticks on. But the time is not yet, not quite yet. Then footsteps sound in the corridor. The door opens..."


A Middle Break:

Host: "A doomed man sitting in the death house pauses in his story, recalling the first time the clock struck twelve for..."

SFX: (Echo effect) "Murder at Midnight!"

Music: Flourish. Commercial break.


An Ending Narration:

Host: "The firm, measured tread... of a man who was first too small, and then too big, walks down the corridor. The iron doors along the way rattle and clang like the chiming of the clock, when it first struck twelve for..."

SFX: (Echo effect) "Murder at Midnight!"

Music: Flourish.

The Standard Closing:

SFX: Bell tolls in the distance.

Host: "Remember to be with us again when death walks through the darkness with giant strides. And the clocks strike twelve for..."

SFX: (Echo effect) "Murder at Midnight!"

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