Mystery House


Bela Lugosi was to be the star of Mystery House, with Ken Carpenter as the host.

Note: This series should not to be confused with Mystery House detective-type series (1944 to 1946), which was about a publishing outfit that would act out mystery novels before publishing them. You can hear that series care of

Mystery House was an enjoyable radio series Bela Lugosi. There was only one problem: it never aired. Fortunately, it survives on record and tape for collectors to enjoy. The following excerpt is from an exhaustive book on Bela's career entitled Lugosi by Gary Don Rhodes.

"Perhaps the most interesting aspect of Lugosi's radio career is this -- an attempt at his own program (Mystery House). It hoped to feature Lugosi in the leading role of various 'Grand Guignol' tales. Ken Carpenter, a well-known radio personality at the time, gave introductory and closing remarks. Among the planned episodes was a story about a woman who had been buried alive, with producers hoping for Simone Simon as a guest. 'The Thirsty Death', a 'pilot' episode, survives and features John Carradine and Lureen Tuttle as guests. Lugosi played a jealous husband who injects his wife or Carradine -- her presumed lover -- with a poison, only to find out too late that the two were innocent of infidelity. This particular recording is seemingly the only one actually produced and recorded. The Mystery House press would have sponsored it, so why the show never reached the air remains a question. The stories in Mystery House were to be from 'the greatest mystery theater the world has ever known, the Grand Guignol of Paris.' The only recorded show claims Lugosi was to star in a series of Mystery House films for Universal Studios. If produced, they would have echoed the Inner Sanctum series of films Universal made with Lon Chaney, Jr.."

Hear the only known episode of Bela Lugosi's Mystery House.

The Introduction:

(SFX: Eerie music.)

Host: "This is Bela Lugosi, welcoming you to Mystery House."

Announcer: "Mystery House, starring Bela Lugosi!

(SFX: Music sting.)

Announcer: "Mystery House, where live again the greatest mystery theater the world has ever known, the Grand Guignol of Paris! Mystery House, where tonight, the distinguished actors, John Carradine joins Bela Lugosi in presenting, 'The Thirsty Death!'"

(SFX: Organ Flourish)

Announcer: "Good evening folks, this is Ken Carpenter. If I sound a little nervous, it's not really my fault. I'm usually a pretty steady guy, as calm as anyone, but, well, this is asking too much! Bela Lugosi alone is enough to scare you, John Carradine isn't exactly soothing to your nerves, but put them together in a story that's set in the darkest of Africa with mad dogs howling in the background and, whew! Well, find out for yourself!

(SFX: Music sting.)

(SFX: Dogs howling.)

Announcer: "And now, the curtain rises on the Thirsty Death, starring Bela Lugosi and his guest in Mystery House, John Carradine.

(SFX: Distant native drums.)

Announcer: "You hear those native drums? You know what they are saying? Eve Gaston does. That is why her heart is pounding to the mounting cadence of those ceaseless drums. Than's why she's hurrying faster, faster! Hurrying through the North African forest in the oppressive heat of this humid afternoon. And that is why Malid, her native house boy, is following unwillingly. His eyes rolling fearfully in their wide sockets!"

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