Strange As It May Seem

1939 -1940, 1947 - 1948


Strange As It Seems cartoon panel by John Hix.


The original Strange As It Seems was a 30 minute series which aired in the late 1930s, and a 15 minute series that ran in the 40s. The first host was Alois Havrilla, and the 15 minute version was hosted by Gayne Whitman (Dunning, 643). They recreated oddball stories with cast and sound effects. The stories themselves were Believe It or Not type tales, only instead of being based on Ripley's famous newspaper cartoon panels, they used a competing cartoon series drawn by John Hix (Dunning, 643). One of the few remaining recordings reenacted a historical legend about a writer who was sentenced to eat his book about democracy by his Swedish ,ing or else face execution. (The writer succeeds by shredding the book and mixing it with his soup.) These tales were interesting, but not scary.

Then there was a later Strange As It Seems series, but with spookier and shorter tales (3 minutes long). The date of this series is uncertain as well, but based on the original synthesizer music that played in the background of the stories, it was probably the mid 1950s or beyond. No name is provided for the host who told the stories, but considering the writer was always credited as C.B. Colby, there's a good chance the same man was also the narrator. The stories sounded like urban myths and regional ghost stories, which is in line with the tag line "from the collected stories of C.B. Colby" (as apposed to the stories by Colby). It's a pretty interesting series, especially with the custom music providing dramatic atmosphere throughout. The only put-off is the muffled sound quality, which is probably the result of several generations of tape dubbing. Considering these are one of the more recent radio series, there is a decent chance better recordings will surface.

The Standard Intro:

(Music: Weird, different each time.)

Announcer: "Strange As It Seems. The story of 'The Escape from the Wolves...'"


An Opening Narration:

Host: "Spine chilling encounters with wolves abound in early New England lore. Almost all involve moonlit nights, dark forest trails, snow swept clearings, and races for life, always with the gray shadows of the hollowing beasts flitting along behind the panic stricken wayfarer. Often the luckless human quarry was killed and eaten, and the horrified accounts about their corpses that filtered back to the settlements increased the fears of those whose jobs and obligations forced them to walk out alone in the night..."


A Typical Closing

Host: "Strange as it may seem. From the collected stories of C.B. Colby."

Hear it now, FREE!

(Courtesy of Tennessee Bills OTR)

Hear 14 back to back episodes (short versions), beginning with A Night With The Dead.

"A Night with the Dead" - A traveling couple spend the night at a farmhouse with an nice older couple, only to find out the following night what happened to the couple twenty years earlier.

"The Vanished Lighthouse Man" - The mystery of a missing lighthouse caretaker is told.

"The Strangled Figure Head" - An island girl agrees to pose for the carving of a ship's masthead wearing a wedding dress, even though she believes it is bad luck to do so.

"The Lady of Great Isaac" - The legend of a drowned woman found on the beach of the Bahamas still clutching her living baby is recounted, and her ghost is described.

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