Mystery Playhouse

1985 - 1991

Rick Kabrich was the voice of Dr. Morgan

Rick Kabrich was the host who replaced "The Count" on Mystery Playhouse in the summer of 1987. He was originally a listener who happened to call the station and the producer liked his voice. He was reluctant to audition because he was blind, but was convinced to try it and the results were positive. So positive, that his character and distinctive voice are two of the best remembered aspects of the series.

With the new host came a new format. The show was reduced to one hour and the new host had a new persona. He was called "Dr. Morgan" and his character was serious but with a touch of morbid humor. Producer Kurt Kuerstiner recalls, "Morgan's had the eerie presence of Maurice Tarpin from The Mysterious Traveler, but he also had the humor of Raymond from Inner Sanctum Mysteries. His voice was completely unique. It was deep and very forboading. I actually thought it sounded creepier than Boris Karloff."

Kabrich and Kuersteiner became good friends and co-wrote lines together for Dr. Morgan. The morbid one liners became known as "Morgan-isms." Dr. Morgan would introduce each show and make closing remarks. Eerie music would play in the background while the distant sound of wind and rain blew outside. Kabrich also played the villain in several of the original plays Mystery Playhouse produced which aired alongside the original Old Time Radio shows that made up the bulk of the series. Typical series included X-1, The Shadow, Inner Sanctum, Escape, Suspense, Dimension X, Quiet Please and many others.

The series was popular among radio drama fans throughout the San Francisco/ San Jose area where it aired from KZSU Studios in Palo Alto. Production was discontinued in 1991 when Kabrich became ill with liver cancer. He died two years later and his character was never replaced. "That series died with Rick," says Kuersteiner. "No one could approach him in quality, so why even try? He spoiled the listeners and they would never want anyone else." Kuersteiner continues to syndicate reruns of the series in honor of his friend. It also reached an international audience via the Yesterday USA Satellite Superstation.

Read more articles and information on Kaybrich and Mystery Playhouse 90.1 here.

Kabrich in 1993, next to the recording studio door where he recorded Dr. Morgan.

The Standard Intro: (Hear it in wav file)

(Toccata & Fugue in D Minor plays in the background. Sounds of various stations as the radio dial can be heard being adjusted in the background. Scenes from The Mercury Theatre On The Air broadcast of 'The War Of The Worlds' can be heard: "If those creatures know what that means, what anything means... Wait a minute, something's happening...." "Ladies and gentlemen, due to circumstances beyond our control, we are unable to continue the broadcast--" "Now here's another bulletin from Washington D.C." "Marshal law prevails throughout most of--" "Ladies and gentlemen, I have a grave announcement to make--" "So that we can confront this destructive adversary--" "Everything wiped out. This maybe the last broadcast... We'll stay here until the end...")

Static (dead air).

(A deep echoing "Control Voice" interrupts.)

Control Voice: "People of Earth, do not attempt to adjust your radio communication device. For we have assumed total authority. We control your bass, and we control your treble. You will relinquish control of your radio device to... Mystery Playhouse!"


An Opening Narration: (Hear one in wav file)

(Back ground sound: Eerie atmospheric music with wind and rain outside.)

"Ah, there you are. I've been waiting for you. I'm Dr. Morgan. Your host for the next hour in the Mystery Playhouse. Tonight, we're going to hear an episode of Suspense entitled 'The House In Cypress Canyon.' But first, a story about those creepy crawly things called worms. You know the kind I mean. Except these worms are a little different... So sit back and join me for our first story, Lights Out and 'The Revolt of the Worms.'"


A Middle Break:

(Back ground sound: Eerie atmospheric music with wind and rain outside.)

"Are you still there? Good! I have to admit. That one even had me squirming a bit. But let us turn now to an entirely different can of worms, with our second half of tonight's show. So don't go away..."

(Toccata & Fugue in D Minor plays the first several bars of music, then stops.)


(Back ground sound: Eerie atmospheric music with wind and rain outside.)

"We've all moved before at one time or another, haven't we? But have you ever stopped to consider who, or what lived there before? After all, real estate agents rarely advertise an house's disadvantages. Like a certain locked door, with no key... Need I say more? It's Suspense and 'The House in Cypress Canyon.'"


An Ending Narration:

(Back ground sound: Eerie atmospheric music with wind and rain outside.)

"You know, when it comes to horror, there really is no place like home. Um? Come to think of it, there's a few places I haven't explored in my house either. How about you? Any locked doors that you can't seem to open? Then again, perhaps it's better that way... I'm Dr. Morgan. Join me next week, if you can. Heh-heh-heh."


The Standard Closing: (Hear it with ending narration in wav file)

(Toccata & Fugue in D Minor ends, sounds of various stations as the radio dial is adjusted. A deep echoing "Control Voice" interrupts.)

Control Voice: "Mystery Playhouse returns control of your radio device to you... until next week..."

(Sound effect: Sounds of radio various radio stations changing increases in speed until it suddenly stops.)

Fan art of Morgan that was mailed in from a San Jose listener (Chris Teri)

Sample Shows (of original Mystery Playhouse productions)

"The Chicken Heart That Ate The Universe" - An homage to the classic Lights Out episode about a scientific experiment on a piece of tissue that keeps growing and growing, until...

"Nice To Meat You" - A psychotic murderer is haunted by his conscience. But once the police suspect him, how can he get rid of the evidence he's hiding?

"Souls For Sale" - A priest gets involved to help a desperate man who claims he has a been tricked into a deal with the devil.

"Lost and Found" - A man with a troubled past jumps at the opportunity to steal an impressive piece of luggage... until he discovers what is inside it.

"Suicide" - An aimless young man notices that he is being followed by two men with a black box. He decides to confront them, and that's when his problems really begin.

"The Sovenenir" - The rescue mission to an strange planet makes troubling discoveries when the find the craft and crew that arrived before them.

"The New Moon Murders" - A young woman and her friend suspect a newcomer to town as the man responsible for series of horrible murders.

Hear the free MP3 download of the Dr. Morgan Memorial show! (30:00)

Synopsis of various episodes of Mystery Playhouse (w/ Dr. Morgan) in chronological order:


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