Satan's Waitin'

1950

Satan's title

Your host, the Devil, was played by Frank Lee Graham, R.I.P.

Satan's Waitin' is one of the more mysterious OTR shows out there. Satan was the star of this unusual anthology series (voiced by Frank Graham). The devil pulls the strings, and the characters in the stories are his unknowing puppets (Terrace, 231). Having someone explain that concept at Church gets boring, but hearing it acted out with a full cast who are unaware that they are being influenced by a lower power is bound to make listeners more nervous. (Gee, it's getting kind of hot in here!)

Graham was the perfect choice for the devilish host as well. He was considered "the man with a thousand voices" for all the diverse characters he played on radio and in various Walt Disney animation films. By 1949, he was riding high playing the lead role of Jeff Regan, Investigator (replacing Jack Webb who left the role after the 1948 season (Digital Deli Too)). The 35-year-old professional was at the top of his career and seemed to have it all. Opportunity, talent, money, and creativity to boot. But like the plot to one of his own sinister tales, there was also a dark side to Graham. On Sept. 2rd, 1950, he called a friend (Jack Shallow) over to his lavish Hollywood home to pick up something in the front seat of his car. When Shallow arrived, he found Graham's expensive car running with a vacuum hose connected from the exhaust to the passenger compartment. Graham was inside the car, dead. Beside him was a picture of his brunette girl friend, Mildred Rossi (an animator for Walt Disney). The two had been "close" for several months prior to the incident.

While this might sound like a possible murder plot straight from the case files of Jeff Regan, there was much to suggest that it was a real suicide. There were two notes inside the house addressed to a radio announcer friend. The will provided a motive for suicide. One paragraph stated:

"To Mildred, I leave absolutely nothing except the pleasure she will have knowing that now she won't have to decide whether I am good enough for her or not." A postscript added: "Gee, I wish Mildred had called me back yesterday morning."

It also bequeathed to Graham's divorced wife, Mrs. Dorothy Jack Graham, insurance policies, an automobile, half interest in two radio shows, "Satan's Waitin',"and "Sing for Your Supper," and said of her:

"Believe me, she struggled and worked harder for them than I did."

Graham left the other half interest in the shows to Shallow. He directed that the remainder of "all my earthly possessions (and they're certainly not much)" be divided among his father, Frank Graham, San Francisco; his sister, Mrs. Janet Downs, and his brother, Jack, both of Seattle.

Unlike others in Hollywood whose age would erode their looks and photographic future, or those in radio who were destined for future unemployment as television replaced their profession, Graham's wide variety of voices assured him a long and lasting career in recording cartoons and commercials. (Just ask Paul Frees, who stayed plenty busy to the very end!) Graham also had the intellect and means to create his own series and roles. To throw it all away over a recent relationship is just downright weird. Also odd is that despite airing in 1950, a time when tape recording was becoming increasingly common, there seem to be absolutely no copies of Satan's Waitin' to hear today. And even though he starred in numerous radio shows, cartoons, and produced his own series as well, there don't seem to be any public photos of Graham out there either. (True, he was a voice talent, but Hollywood often used their photos in Billboard and other papers for promotional purposes.) The entire story is spookier than any episode he could have dreamed up for Satan's Waitin'. Let's hope that where ever he is, he can now find peace.

Any additional information on this series would be appreciated! (email me.)


A copy of the newspaper article on Frank's Death didn't even includ a publicity shot of the famous Hollywood talent. Yet his brief girlfriend, a disney animator, did appear in the papers. (Both images from Digital Deli Too)


Cataloged show titles from the OTRR.radio logs:

Of 13 episodes aired, only the title to the 7th one is known: "Soldier of Fortune" (which aired July 18,1950).

Moreover, the brief plot descriptions are known for four other episodes. They were:

Episode #1: Evil love potion is concocted to get three people into a jealous rage.

#2: Marriage for money.

#8: Marshall Blake's alibi; missing corpse.

and #12: Gangster in hills of Mexico; dire need of medical attention gets him.

 


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