1937 - 1949
Above image courtesy of Tune In For Terror © 1992
You would think that a program that is based on documented facts would not qualify as a horror program. But Unsolved Mysteries proved that facts can be stranger than fiction. This series included voodoo, zombies, and strange murders that seem impossible to explain-- but actually happened. There were also "documented" ghost stories. The announcer/host was Stanley Peyton (OTRcat.com). The music theme to the series is reminiscent of the catchy Tales of the Crypt TV series theme by Danny Elfman (1989). The format to the show is similar a 1987 TV series: Unsolved Mysteries hosted by Robert Stacks. (The television version obviously borrowed the basic idea from its earlier ancestor.)
The short 15-minute series did offer short "solutions" at the end of the show-- but only "after a word from your sponsor". These solutions didn't usually identify the culprit, or they used enough supposition to leave some aspect of the story technically unsolved. It sure is a great way to keep the listeners from turning the dial though! The episodes with supernatural themes were especially delightful, and the claim that the stories were based on fact helps send a chill up your spine (even if the facts maybe a little embellished). That same supernatural formula was also echoed on television in the 1960s series of One Step Beyond , which succeeded in giving viewers a similar case of the creeps.
The Standard Intro:
Announcer: "Unsolved Mysteries!"
Host: "Down the ages, mankind has been seeking the riddle, what happens in the unseen realm beyond? With all our science, we're as far from answering the question as mankind was at the beginning. But, with the accumulated records of the past, the conviction is borne upon some that there is a link joining up mortals, with those who have passed this way before..."
Another Opening Narration:
Host: "Truth is stranger than fiction. We're endeavoring to bring to you little known mysteries from the entire world. And in this series of unexplained true happenings, we cannot overlook the puzzling and strange happenings found in Voodooism. There are strange stories of zombies, stories that filter into everyday life leaving no room for doubt that within the cult of voodooism in Haiti, zombies do exist!"
A Typical Closing (Spolier Alert!)
Host: "And so, somewhere aboard a ship, a sleepy wireless operator under the influence of Watson, taps out the warning message that saves the Lurelane and her crew, leaving the sea, that realm of mystery, another unsolved mystery!"
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(Courtesy of OTRcat.com)
Mystery of the Zombie - A man's wife is cursed and dies in Haiti. After she is buried, he is shocked to hear rumors that she has been spotted at night working in the cane fields... as a zombie!
Hear more courtesy of Radio Lovers.com
The Bridge Whist Expert - A man is murdered in his home with circumstances that seem to offer no possible logical explanation.
The Wireless Mystery - A ship receives a warning on the wireless that averts disaster, but explaining how the information was acquired -- or who sent it-- creates great difficulty for skeptics.
The Writing On The Wall - A newspaper reporter spends a night in a haunted castle and witnesses a ghost who provides a dire warning that comes true.
Washington Square Mystery - Previous owners of a haunted house compare notes on strange experiences within the old house.
Hear more episodes at OTRR library (which is free but requires a password).
"The Witch Doctor" - A big game hunter in Africa faces certain death unless he can retrieve an antidote six hundred miles away within hours. Only a mysterious witch doctor can help.
See other known titles from the OTRR radio logs.
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