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Original Black Museum header art

The Black Museum Radio Program

Dee-Scription: Home >> D D Too Home >> Radio Logs >> The Black Museum

The Black Museum Spot Ad from Jan 1 1952
The Black Museum Spot Ad from Jan 15 1952

The Black Museum Spot Ad from Jan 1 1952
The Black Museum Spot Ad from Jan 15 1952


The Black Museum first aired over 'pirate' Radio station Radio Luxembourg circa 1951
The Black Museum first aired over 'pirate' Radio station Radio Luxembourg circa 1950


The Mutual Broadcasting System run of 1957 aired some thirty-eight of the original fifty-two episodes of The Black Museum

MGM Radio Attractions packaged 10 of their syndicated programs for Mutual Broadcasting. The Black Museum was one of the eight half-hour programs MBS acquired
MGM Radio Attractions packaged 10 of their syndicated programs for Mutual Broadcasting. The Black Museum was one of the eight half-hour programs MBS acquired. The M-G-M subset comprised thirty-nine of the original Harry Alan Towers run of fifty-two programs.

Canada's CBC also similarly aired a subset of some thirty-eight to thirty-nine episodes of The Black Museum
Canada's CBC also similarly aired a subset of some thirty-eight to thirty-nine episodes of The Black Museum


Some of The Black Museum's more 'uncommon' common items:

A lady's yellow reticule or string bag
A lady's yellow reticule or string bag.

A black Gladstone Bag
A black Gladstone Bag


A straight razor
A straight razor


Kilroy Was Here
"Kilroy Was Here"


A shilling front and obverse
A shilling front and obverse

MBS promotion of M-G-M run of The Black Museum from January 12 1952
MBS promotion of M-G-M run of The Black Museum from January 12 1952

Background

The early 1950s saw an unprecedented resurgence of interest in Great Britain's famous New Scotland Yard buoyed by International Radio, Television and Print. A staple of international Crime and Mystery novels from the turn of the century forward, Scotland Yard, or as The Black Museum refers to it, "The Criminal Investigation Department (C.I.D.) of The London Police", was showcased in no less than four Radio programs between 1948 and 1952.

Secrets of Scotland Yard and The Black Museum were both Towers of London-produced and syndicated productions recorded in Great Britain, then syndicated throughout the British Empire and the United States. WHItehall 1212 was a National Broadcasting Corporation production written by Lights Out's famous scriptwriter Wyllis Cooper as consulted by Percy Hoskins of London's Daily Express. Hoskins was also credited with writing the stories and scripts for most of the 110-plus Secrets of Scotland Yard programs.

Fabian of The Yard, though widely attributed to The BBC, sounds nothing like any The Third Programme production of the era, nor do the actors--with the exception of Robert Fabian himself--sound like English actors. What it most certainly does sound like is yet another syndication of the era, which would rule it out as a BBC production, Q.E.D.. In fact, the Series was in all likelihood either an Australian or South African syndicated programme--more than likely, South African. Nor did the Radio exploits of Fabian of The Yard precede either Secrets of Scotland Yard, The Black Museum or WHItehall 1212 as is widely alleged. Given that the one circulating exemplar specifically states that Robert Fabian only retired from The C.I.D. in 1949, and given that he had written two memoirs immediately upon retiring, it's more likely that the short-lived programme--wherever it originated--aired no earlier than 1952. Indeed, by the 1953-54 time frame a Television version of Fabian of The Yard was being broadcast over ITV.

The four competing Scotland Yard-themed productions had a great deal in common in some respects but differed wildly in approach to their material in other respects.

  • All four of them drew upon New Scotland Yard's most famous or notorious cases throughout history, and in many instances, used the same story(ies) in all four productions.
  • Three of the four productions centered around New Scotland Yard's famous Crime Museum--or Black Museum as popularized in crime and mystery novels and stories.
  • Three of the four productions used a specific artifact of a famous or unique crime as the jumping off point of the script.
  • While WHItehall-1212 was written by an American scriptwriter, the references, idiom and colloquialisms of Great Britain were used throughout the series' 44-plus scripts. Indeed, NBC actively promoted the New York-based production as having an All-British cast.
  • Conversely, The Black Museum, though performed in London, was written by an American scriptwriter who Americanized all of the British names for objects and places, even though much of the cast was reportedly comprised of British actors.
  • Secrets of Scotland Yard was arguably the most historically accurate depiction of the four competing programmes.
  • The Black Museum, narrated by Orson Welles was easily the most murder-oriented programme of the four. A murder of one kind or another is performed in all but three of the known fifty-one scripts.

Another significant distinction or contrast between them was their distribution system. Of the four Scotland Yard-themed productions, only WHItehall 1212 was a network produced and distributed program.

  • Secrets of Scotland Yard was a Harry Alan Towers syndication pressed by, among others, the Australian transcription production house of Grace Gibson.
  • The Black Museum, while another Harry Alan Towers syndication was initially distributed in any of several different ways:
    • As a Towers of London electrical transcription
    • As an MGM Radio Attractions electrical transcription (limited to 39 episodes)
    • As an Armed Forces Radio and Television Service (AFRTS) electrical transcription.
    • As a BBC Radio electrical transcription.
  • Secrets of Scotland Yard first aired in 1948 over a 'pirate broadcast' from LM Radio, Mozambique into South Africa's SABC broadcasting range
  • The Black Museum first aired in 1950 as a 'pirate broadcast' over Radio Luxembourg, Luxembourg into Europe and The BBC's broadcast range

The Black Museum had much to recommend it. First and foremost, Orson Welles' stirring narratives, framing, and exposition were head and shoulders above the competition. Clive Brook for all of the authenticity his natural British voice and accent lent to Secrets of Scotland Yard, nevertheless wasn't given the dramatic latitude that Orson Welles was. But this was very much by design. Clive Brook's expositions on Secrets of Scotland Yard were more of an historical nature, whereas Orson Welles' expositions, due to the more morbid and gruesome cases selected for The Black Museum, clearly had more to work with.

The limited run also benefitted Welles more than the 110-plus installments of Secrets of Scotland Yard had benefitted Clive Brook. It should also be noted that when the Mutual Broadcasting System made its deal with MGM Radio Attractions for a limited subset of The Black Museum, it very much cherry-picked the best thirty-eight episodes of the run for Mutual's broadcasts, hence Orson Welles' exposure on The Black Museum was both more limited and selective.

There's little argument about the relative strengths of the competing programs' expositors. But how did they stack up in content and authencity? Noted Crime Reporter Percy Hoskins of London's Daily Express was integral to the development of both WHItehall 1212 and Secrets of Scotland Yard. To that end, it's worth noting that the more dramatic, morbid, or salacious elements of The Black Museum's presentations aren't nearly as exacting in detail or as precise in background as those of Secrets of Scotland Yard and WHItehall 1212. Nor, one might well argue, should they have been.

By the time that The Black Museum aired, both Whitehall 1212 and Secrets of Scotland Yard had broadcast virtually all of the crimes behind The Black Museum's scripts. They didn't so much steal The Black Museum's thunder as much as virtually demand that The Black Museum take a run at those same historic crimes from an entirely different angle. And in many cases, that's precisely what The Black Museum's writer, Ira Marion did.

Will the Real Orson Welles Please Stand Up . . . .

Harry Alan Towers famously enjoyed referring to himself as 'The Orson Welles of Europe', so having the real Orson Welles as a captive audience in London was in all likelihood what compelled Harry Alan Towers to roll out yet another Scotland Yard-themed crime retrospective. Remember that this was on the heels of both one of his own competing Scotland Yard offerings--Secrets of Scotland Yard--and that of NBC's Wyllis Cooper-penned WHItehall 1212. Also keep in mind that Orson Welles wasn't in London for his health. Certain professional and personal entanglements and Internal Revenue Service demands had made an extended stay in London particularly efficacious for him at the time.

And so it was that Harry Alan Towers managed to extract not one, but a trifecta of Welles-narrated and/or starred dramatic syndications from Welles during his brief, self-imposed British exile: The Black Museum, The Lives of Harry Lime (or The Third Man), and the excellent Sir Ralph Richardson and Sir John Gielgud rendition of Sherlock Holmes, in which Orson Welles appeared in a recurring role as the infamous Professor Moriarty. As we now know, both The Lives of Harry Lime and The Black Museum first surfaced over pirate radio broadcasts. The Sherlock Holmes production was the first to air legitimately via The CBC in Canada, before airing here in the United States billed as a 'BBC Import'.

Towers of London got a lot from its main American star. Orson Welles wrote some, directed some, and narrated all of Towers' The Black Museum episodes. Welles wrote, directed and starred in all of the Lives of Harry Lime episodes, and Welles wrote and directed several installments of the Gielgud/Richardson Sherlock Holmes production, as well as performing as both Professor Moriarty and several other uncredited roles during that production's sixteen installments.

It's easy to see why Harry Alan Towers loved being billed as Europe's Orson Welles, though clearly there were few, if any, genuine points of comparison.

Scotland Yard's Treatment in Radio's The Black Museum

Were it not for the several other similarly themed programs of the era there might well be little with which to compare The Black Museum. But as a matter of fact The Black Museum is, on sum, the least historically authentic of the four to seven other similarly themed Scotland Yard/Black Museum send-ups of the era. The Black Museum was very much intended to be sensational. It was intended to be morbid, gruesome, and suspenseful as only an actor of Orson Welles' talent, gravitas and delivery could impart.

Secrets of Scotland Yard, Fabian of The Yard, and WHItehall 1212 actively consulted with Scotland Yard experts and historians to frame and inform each of their respective productions. The Black Museum, by contrast was clearly allowed far more latitude--by both the production staff as well as its audience. The Black Museum audience wanted to suspend disbelief, in favor of getting the bejeebers scared out of it. And so it did. Both Orson Welles and the sensational supply of gruesome and fascinating murders from the annals of The Black Museum were a seemingly bottomless well of plots, counterplots, and the most deliberate types of murder. And of course all served up with the breathless gravity and impeccable timing of its expositor, Orson Welles.

In the final analysis there's ample evidence that The Black Museum held its audience. It was aired almost perennially between 1950 and 1954, in Europe, South Africa, Australia, North America and reprised during various other periods as late as 1974. This, despite the fact that other, competing Scotland Yard and Black Museum themed programming was almost continuously airing--often over the same networks--during the same period. What fans didn't derive from WHItehall 1212 they got from Secrets of Scotland Yard. Likewise, when The Black Museum began to air, it arrived from just enough different approach to hold that same audience for yet another thirty-eight to fifty-two installments--not to mention getting Orson Welles in the bargain.

The MGM Radio Attraction transcriptions in particular were very well engineered and have held up quite well. The production values, audio engineering, and of course Orson Welles' pacing and delivery made for genuinely superb Radio. Harry Alan Towers got an even greater dividend with Orson Welles' talent on his projects--Welles' demanding values and expectations, of both himself and of those with whom he worked.

Series Derivatives:

Fabian of The Yard; Secrets of Scotland Yard; WHItehall 1212; AFRTS END-766 'Black Museum'
Genre: Anthology of Golden Age Radio Crime Dramas
Network(s): Radio Luxembourg; MBS; ABC; CBC; WRVR-FM
Audition Date(s) and Title(s): Unknown
Premiere Date(s) and Title(s): Radio Luxembourg Run: ~50-05-05
1952 MBS Run: 52-01-01 01 Unknown
Run Dates(s)/ Time(s): Radio Luxembourg Run: ~50-05-05 to ?
1952 MBS Run: 52-01-01 to 52-12-30; MBS [M-G-M Run]; Thirty-nine, 25-minute programs
1952-53 CBC Radio Run: 52-09-28 to 53-06-28
Syndication: Towers of London; MGM Radio Attractions ; BBC Radio 5; AFRTS
Sponsors: Hemlock Farms; Prell; Dreft
Director(s): Harry Alan Towers [Producer]
Principal Actors: Orson Welles
Recurring Character(s): Varied by production.
Protagonist(s): Varied by production.
Author(s): None
Writer(s) Ira Marion
Music Direction: Sidney Torch [Composer/Conductor]
Musical Theme(s): Unknown
Announcer(s): Orson Welles [Host/Narrator]
Estimated Scripts or
Broadcasts:
52
Episodes in Circulation: 51
Total Episodes in Collection: 52
Provenances:

KCRG spot ad for The Black Museum from October 7 1952
KCRG (MBS) spot ad for The Black Museum from October 7 1952

51-11-15 The Danville Bee:

More details about the set of ten M-G-M produced radio programs which the MBS network plans to start on the postponed date of, Dec. 31 show that, besides those previously announced, they also will include:

Betty Davis in Woman of the
Year, drama series based on the film of the same name; The Black Museum, Scotland Yard mystery with Orson Welles; Musical Comedy Theater using condensations of musical films; Modern Adventures of Casanova with Errol Flynn, and Adventures of Maisie with Ann Sothern.

Programs already announced are Crime Does Not Pay, Dr. Kildare, Gracie Fields. Hardy Family and Theater of the Air. The new shows will go in from 8 to 9 Mondays through Fridays, with the Saturday time allotment 8:30 'to .9:30. About a dozen programs now running will have to be dropped or sharply revamped.

Hickerson Guide.

Notes on Provenances:

The most helpful published provenances were the newspaper radio listings.

Digital Deli Too RadioLogIc


OTRisms:

For a series that's entire run comprises only 51 or 52 episodes, this is clearly one of the 'otr' world's most adulterated collector programs. Virtually every example in circulation has undergone some sort of editing, alteration, or 'disguise' in an effort to create something from nothing. Virtually all air-checks, breaks or other identifying audio has been ham-fistedly removed from the various 'as broadcast' assemblages in circulation. AFRS or AFRTS transcriptions, in particular, are considered by the OTR community as the 'stem cells' of Golden Age Radio: AFRS and AFRTS exemplars exist simply to mix and match--chopping, snipping or editing out as morally 'convenient'--to fill in for any as-yet-unavailable exemplars of the original recordings from which they were re-transcribed. This, as with most other things OTR, is their idea of 'research integrity.' Mind you, this is almost certainly not the actual researchers' desire, but rather a requirement that's been imposed upon them by their owner.

There were, as best as we've been able to identify, eight identifiable runs of The Black Museum which may have produced either tapes or electrical transcriptions (E.T.s) from which to trace their origins.

  1. The original E.T. sets produced by Towers of London for broadcast over Radio Luxembourg, Radio South Africa, Australia and Canada.
  2. The MGM Radio Attractions thirty-nine E.T. subset of The Black Museum, packaged for Mutual along with nine other MGM Radio Attractions syndicated programs. Each of the ten M-G-M Radio Attractions packages produced for distribution over MBS comprised thirty-nine weeks of programming. Thirty-nine only. Not--repeat, not--the entire run of any of them. The deal with MBS consisted of only thirty-nine weeks of programming, to be employed however MBS saw fit: as an uninterrupted 39-week run, or as a full year run with a summer break of thirteen weeks.
  3. The E.T. set provided to The CBC for their abbreviated broadcast of The Black Museum.
  4. The AFRTS-distributed E.T.s, designated END-766.
  5. A KMBC, Kansas City, MO run, licensed by Irving Feld, Ltd, for independent syndication.
  6. A KGO retrospective of The Black Museum (M-G-M) from 1964 [tapes]
  7. An ABC [KQV] retrospective, "Alcoa Theatre 14" with selections from The Lives of Harry Lime and The Black Museum [tapes].
  8. A 1966 KPRC restrospective of The Black Museum and The Lives of Harry Lime, Sundays, 9 p.m. [tapes]
  9. The WRVR-FM apparent tape set aired as rebroadcasts in 1974 [tapes].

Q.E.D., it goes without saying that whatever holdings are in circulation at present, they represent--as with the radioGOLDINdex's own holdings--an amalgam of any of the eight above cited sources. Since we don't subscribe to the 'stem cell' or 'generic episode' approach dictated by the OTRR, it's made more intellectual sense for us to provide the following five log derivations and allow diligent collectors to decide for themselves how to construct, deconstruct or reconstruct their respective The Black Museum log(s):

  1. Our 'Rosetta Stone' log, cross-referencing reported or known E.T. source numbers, dates or titles.
  2. The Mutual Broadcasting System, MGM Radio Attractions-sourced, abbreviated The Black Museum run.
  3. The CBC Run of 1952-1953.
  4. The WRVR-FM Run of 1974, as logged by the RadioGOLDINdex, all rights reserved.
  5. The AFRTS END-766 designated 'Black Museum' run.

An important provenance for the 1952 MBS run from their deal with M-G-M- Radio Attractions concerns the question of whether the thirty-nine week package of The Black Museum broke for the Summer. In fact, as we can prove from multiple sources, the then recently hired MBS Programming chief, Jules Seebach, elected to air several music and variety features over MBS for the Summer of 1952, replacing several of the M-G-M Radio Attractions packages MBS acquired from M-G-M. The Black Museum was unquestionably one of those that were replaced for the summer--by The Jimmy Carrol show in The Black Museums's spot.

You're welcome to compare our fully provenanced research with the log from the '1,500 expert researchers' at the OTRR and their own The Black Museum log. Quite simply, the OTRR's The Black Museum log is a work of fiction. We've also provided a screen shot of their current log for comparison, HERE, to protect our own ongoing due diligence.

There's no question about it. For dyed-in-the-wool Orson Welles fans, The Black Museum, although a mediocre run in and of itself, remains a wonderful example of Welles' legendary intonations. We can understand any collector's 'wish' to possess an entire, contiguous, neatly-ordered run. The facts of the matter are that, as of this writing, no such contiguous run exists in circulation--period.


What you see here, is what you get. Complete transparency. Here's how we did it--for better or worse. Here's how you can build on it yourselves--hopefully for the better. Here's the breadcrumbs--just follow the trail a bit further if you wish. No hobbled downloads. No misdirection. No strings attached. We point you in the right direction and you're free to expand on it, extend it, use it however it best advances your efforts.

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We don't pronounce our Golden Age Radio research as 'certified' anything. By the very definition, research is imperfect. We simply tell the truth. As is our continuing practice, we provide our fully provenanced research results--to the extent possible--right here on the page, for any of our peers to review--or refute--as the case may be. If you take issue with any of our findings, you're welcome to cite any better verifiable source(s) and we'll immediately review them and update our findings accordingly. As more verifiable provenances surface, we'll continue to update the following series log, as appropriate.

All rights reserved by their respective sources. Article and log copyright 2009 The Digital Deli Online--all rights reserved. Any failure to attribute the results of this copywritten work will be rigorously pursued.







The Black Museum Radio Program Log

Chronological List of Known Titles with or without E.T. Nos. and/or Dates

Date E.T. No. Title Avail. Notes
52-01-15
14
A Tan Shoe, Left Foot
Y
--
52-01-22
Raincoat, The
Y
--
52-01-29
39
Gas Receipt, The
Y
--
52-02-05
--
A Wooden Mallet
Y
--
52-02-12
36
A Jack Handle
Y
--
52-02-19
28
White Boxes, The
Y
--
52-02-26
19
Bed Sheet, The
Y
--
52-03-04
--
A Telegram
Y
[The Story of Ida Matthews]
52-03-11
--
Centerfire .32 Bullet, The
Y
--
52-04-01
25
Bathtub, The
Y
--
52-04-08
--
A Can of Weed Killer
Y
--
52-04-15
--
A Leather Bag
Y
--
52-04-22
--
A Doctor's Prescription [for Morphia]
Y
--
52-04-29
--
A Bit of Frosted Glass
Y
--
52-05-06
--
A French-English Dictionary
Y
--
52-05-13
--
A Claw Hammer
Y
--
52-05-20
--
Four Small Bottles
Y
--
52-05-27
--
A Pair Of Spectacles
Y
--
52-06-03
--
A Letter
Y
--
52-06-10
--
A Black Gladstone Bag
Y
The Story of Jim Hudson
52-06-24
--
Pigskin Glove, The
Y
--
52-09-30
26
A Champagne Glass
Y
--
52-10-14
--
A Khaki Handkerchief
Y
--
52-12-14
--
A Straight Razor
Y
The Story of Larry Wilson
53-05-10
8
A Brass Button
Y
--
53-05-17
--
A Piece of Iron Chain
Y
--
74-09-18
1
A Door Key
Y
The Story of Mr. Bourne
74-09-25
2
A Car Tyre

Y
--
74-10-02
3
A Brickbat
Y
--
74-10-09
4
A Jacket, Sleeveless and Unstitched
Y
--
74-10-16
5
A Tartan Scarf, Torn and Ragged
Y
Walter Hoffman 'The Pike' Pievski
74-10-23
6
A Blued .22 Calibre Pistol
Y
--
74-11-13
9
Canvas Bag, The
Y
The Story of George Gregory
74-11-20
10
An Open End Wrench
Y
--
74-11-27
11
Mandolin String
Y
The Story of Louise Evans
74-12-04
--
Woman's Powder Puff, The
Y
The Story of Richard William Heisen
74-12-11
13
A Sash Cord
Y
The Story of Saint John Carter
--
16
Kilroy Was Here
Y
[The Two Scibbled Notes]
--
22
A Lady's Shoe
Y
The Story of Elizabeth Marlowe
--
38
A Hammerhead
Y
--
--
--
A Faded Green Canvas Shopping Bag
Y
The Story of Stanley Haines
--
--
A Shilling
Y
The Story of Mitzi Faire
--
--
A Silencer
Y
--
--
--
Acid Jar, The
Y
--
--
--
An Auto Service Card
Y
--
--
--
An Old-Fashioned Leather Trunk
Y
--
--
--
Pint Bottle Labeled Meat Juice
Y
The Story of Ruth Hammond
--
--
Postcard, The
Y
The Story of Alfie Vine
--
--
Sheath Knife, The
Y
--
--
--
Walking Stick, The
Y
--
--
AFRTS #21
Twin Messengers Of Death
Y
[The Two Bullets]
--
AFRTS #34
A Raincoat
Y
The Story of John Heygard
--
AFRTS #?? Gas Receipt, The
Y





The Black Museum Radio Program Log

The Black Museum Radio Mutual Broadcating System Run via M-G-M Radio Attractions

Date Episode Title Avail. Notes
51-12-25
--
--
52-01-01
1
Title Unknown
Y
51-12-29 The Daily News
Criminal cases recorded by evidence on display in London's Scotland Yard, gallery of death will be re-enacted via radio dramatizations when the new "Black Museum" series
has its debut as a Mutual feature on Tuesday at 8:00 p. m. World renowned actor Orson Welles is narrator for these dramas, taken from the files of the Criminal Investigation Department of the London Police.

52-01-01 Wisconsin State Journal 10:30 p.m.--The Black Museum (WISC): Orson Wells narrates new thriller series of cases from Scotland Yard's museum of evidence.

51-12-31 Oakland Tribune
7:00 P.M. KFRC —BLACK MUSEUM.
First of a new series of dramatizations
of actual crime cases taken from
the files of England's famed Scotland Yard, and narrated bv Orson Welles.

52-01-01 New York Times
8-8:30-"Black Museum," Play; With Orson Welles-
WOR (Premiere).
52-01-08
2
The Case of the Sheath Knife
Y
52-01-07 Cedar Rapids Gazette
THE voice: Orson Welles.
The setting: Scotland Yard's creepy Black Museum where instruments of death, gathered by authorities assigned to actual crime cases, are on exhibition. Thats the lineup for the new dramatic series, THE BLACK MUSEUM,
which debuts on KCRG-KCRK this Wednesday night at 9 o'clock.
As narrator of the spinetingling half-hour, Welles will be assisted by a cast of American and British stars. THE BLACK MUSEUM is being produced in London (where Welles is currently making his home) by Harry Alan Towers, outstanding British radio producer responsible for some of the most important British Broadcasting Corporation programs during World War II.
Welles' appearance on KCRG-KCRK was brought about through the recent programming arrangement between the Mutual Broadcasting
System and Metro-Goldwyn- Mayer.

52-01-08 Wisconsin State Journal 10:30 p.m.--Black Museum (WISC): Orson Welles in story of
triangle killing.

52-01-08 The Lowell Sun
BLACK MUSEUM DRAMA, starred Orson Welles in cases from Scotland Yard files: WNAC, 9:00.

52-01-08 Janesville Daily Gazette
RADIO CHATTER
Orson Welles Will Star on "Black Museum" at 7
By RALPH SCHROEDER
Any motive for murder is ugly. In the "Case of the Sheath Knife," the drama scheduled for WCLO's The Black Museum broadcast tonight at 7, the motive was heedless, reckless passion. The ugliness was amplified by detailed planning and cruelty in the executionof the crime. It was the familiar tale of an unfaithful wife, her boy friend and her unfortunate husband--the victim. Orson Welles stars in this story taken from Scotland Yard files.

52-01-15
3
The Shoe
Y
52-01-15 The Lowell Sun
BLACK MUSEUM DRAMA, starring Orson Welles. "
The Shoe." case from Scotland Yard files: WNAC, 8:00.

52-01-15 Wisconsin State Journal 10:30 p.m.--Black Museum (WISC)

52-01-15 Janesville Gazette
RADIO CHATTER
Scotland Yard's "Shoe" Drama, on "Black Museum"
By RALPH SCHROEDER
A fortune hunter who married a wealthy spinster provides the theme for the intriguing Black Museum broadcast tonight at 7. Orson Welles narrates this tale of murder taken from Scotland Yard files. It appeared to be a perfect crime but Yard inspectors refused to give up. They finally discovered the woman's body and brought the killer to justice. The drama is called "
The Shoe," and the piece of wearing apparel now rests in The Black Museum in London with other mementoes of famous crimes solved by Scotland Yard.

52-01-22
4
The Raincoat
Y
52-01-22 Wisconsin State Journal 10:30 p.m.--Black Museum (WISC): "The Raincoat," silent witness to murder.

52-01-22 The Lowell Sun
BLACK MUSEUM DRAMA: Orson Wells, narrator. "
The Raincoat." case from flies of Scotland Yard; WNAC. 8.00.

52-01-22 Janesville Daily Gazette
RADIO CHATTER
Case Based on Raincoat Is "Black Museum" Drama
By RALPH SCHROEDER
A silent witness to murder. That was the role played by "The Raincoat" when a mild-mannered insurance agent's wife was found murdered in her London flat. Scotland Yard officials built a circumstantial evidence case against the husband and won a conviction in the drama retold on WCLO at 7 tonight. The verdict was set aside when the higher court ruled there was evidence of some doubt. The raincoat still reposes in the repository of death on the Thames and provides the theme for the Black Museum drama. Orson Welles is the narrator for these crime stories taken from Scotland Yard files.
52-01-29
5
The Gas Receipt
Y
52-01-29 Wisconsin State Journal 10:30 p.m.--Black Museum (WISC): strangely marked receipt helps solve mystery.

52-01-29 Janesville Gazette
A receipt for 10 gallons of gas, stamped with a gallows and marked settled, is the curious piece of paper responsible for solving a heinous crime. Orson Welles relates this tale of the murder of a British policeman by two vicious criminals during the Black Museum broadcast tonight at 7. The police were completely baffled and the two killers professed their innocence until "The Receipt" was produced. What prompted them to confess provides the thrilling coimax for this drama culled from Scotland Yard files. The receipt itself is part of the colllection of evidence in the Yards museum of case memories.

52-02-05
6
A Wooden Mallet
Y
52-02-05 Wisconsin State Journal 10:30 p.m.--Black Museum (WISC): a mallet, bigamy, and murder.

52-02-05 Janesville Daily Gazette
What has "
The Mallet," now reposing in Scotland Yard's mausoleum of murder, to do with Guy Fawkes Day, bigamy and murder? It was the bit of evidence that solved a homicide. Orson Welles tells how during the Black Museum broadcast tonight at 7. An all-star cast presents the drama.

52-02-12
7
The Jack Handle
Y
52-02-12 Wisconsin State Journal 10:30 p.m.--Black Museum (WISC): Orson Welles and story of "The Jack Handle," murder weapon.
52-02-19
8
The White Boxes
Y
52-02-19 Wisconsin State Journal 10:30 p.m.--Black Museum (WISC): "The White Boxes," story of Scottish girl, acquitted or murder, who comes to the U.S. to forget.

52-02-19 Janesville Daily Gazette
At the age of 90 Madeline Smith, a spinster, died in the United States. She was the same Smith girl who was tried for murder by a Glasgow, Scotland jury and acquitted. She came to this country to escape and forget. Orson Welles, during the BLACK MUSEUM broadcast tonight at 7, dramatically explains why when he tells how "
The White Boxes" got prominent shelf space at Scotland Yard's black museum.

52-02-26
9
The Bed Sheet
Y
52-02-26 Wisconsin State Journal 10:30 p.m.--Black Museum (WISC): "The Sheet," story of murder on cruise ship.
52-03-04
10
The Telegram
Y
52-03-04 Wisconsin State Journal 10:30 p.m.--Black Museum (WISC): Orson Welles in "The Telegram."
52-03-11
11
The Centerfire .32 Bullet
Y
52-03-11 Wisconsin State Journal 10:30 p.m.--Black Museum (WISC): "Centerfire .32," tale of baffling pistol.
52-03-18
12
Title Unknown
Y
52-03-18 Wisconsin State Journal 10:30 p.m.--Black Museum (WISC)
52-03-25
13
Title Unknown
Y
52-03-25 Wisconsin State Journal 10:30 p.m.--Black Museum (WISC)
52-04-01
14
The Clawfoot Bath Tub
Y
52-04-01 Wisconsin State Journal 10:30 p.m.--Black Museum (WISC): bathtub plays important part in crime.
52-04-08
15
The Weed Killer
Y
52-04-08 Wisconsin State Journal 10:30 p.m.--Black Museum (WISC): "The Weed Killer."

52-04-08 Massillon Evening Independent
MBS--8 Black Museum "
Weed Killer."

52-04-15
16
The Leather Bag
Y
52-04-15 Wisconsin State Journal 10:30 p.m.--Black Museum (WISC): "The Leather Bag."

52-04-15 Mitchell Daily Republic
MBS--7 Black Museum "
Leather Bag."

52-08-15 Janesville Daily Gazette
RADIO CHATTER
Orson Welles to Tell Tale of "The Leather Bag" Death
by RALPH SCHROEDER
In Scotland Yard's Black Museum, where evidence from murder trials is exhibited, there is a small satchel bearing a card reading "The Leather Bag." Orson Welles dramatically tells of the murder incident involving this bag during the Black Museum broadcast tonight at 7. A colliery and a robbed bank are the settings for this tale of homicide. The Black Museum is one of the long list of outstanding mystery programs that can be heard over WCLO AM-FM.

52-04-22
17
The Prescription
Y
52-04-22 Wisconsin State Journal 10:30 p.m.--Black Museum (WISC): "The Prescription."

52-04-22 Janesville Daily Gazette
There's a little piece of white paper bearing the printed insignia Rx that reposes in Scotland Yard's Black Museum. It's
"The Prescription" and figured in a murder case the yard solved. Orson Wells tells the dramatic impact of a doctor's order during the Black Museum broadcast tonight at 7.

52-04-29
18
Glass Shards
Y
52-04-29 Wisconsin State Journal 10:30 p.m.--Black Museum (WISC): bits of glass help solve murder case.
52-05-06
19
The Dictionary
Y
52-05-06 Janesville Daily Gazette
A dictionary reposes in a display case of murder evidence in Scotland Yard's special museum. It was the means by which Yard detectives captured a murderer. How that was accomplished it is outlined dramatically by Orson Welles during the Black Museum broadcast tonight following the baseball game. He's given the drama a simple title: "The Dictionary."

52-05-13
20
The Claw Hammer
Y
52-05-13 Wisconsin State Journal 10:30 p.m.--Black Museum (WISC): "The Hammer," story of English murder.

52-05-13 Janesville Daily Gazette
Even carpentry tools became museum exhibits in Scotland Yard, particularly when the display cases contain evidence for the weapons involved in murder situations. The Black Museum dramatically explains during its broadcast tonight at 7 why "The Hammer" is such a display piece. Orson Welles tells the story, ably supported by an all-star cast.
52-05-20
21
Four Small Bottles
Y
52-05-20 Wisconsin State Journal 10:30 p.m.--Black Museum (WISC): quartet of bottles lead to capture of killer.

52-05-20 Janesville Daily Gazette
RADIO CHATTER
Four Black Bottles Cause the "Black Museum" Episode
By RALPH SCHROEDER
A quartet of bottles is a prized exhibit in the display case of murder seapons in Scotland Yard's repository of death. Those innocent looking containers were responsible for a cruel murder and the means by which yard operatives were able to track down the killer. How that was accomplished will be related by Orson Welles during the Black Museum broadcast tonight at 7. The drama is titled "
Four Small Bottles."


52-05-27
22
A Pair of Spectacles
N
52-05-27 Wisconsin State Journal 10:30 p.m.--Black Museum (WISC): "The Spectacles," story of a pair of shattered eyeglasses that proved to be damaging evidence and permitted detectives to capture one of England's most vicious murderers.
52-06-03
23
The Letter
Y
52-06-10 Cedar Rapids Gazette
PAIR of shattered eyeglasses are exhibited in a Scotland Yard display case as the damning evidence that permitted detectives to capture the perpetrator of one of England's most macabre murders. Orson Welles will tell this story on his BLACK MUSEUM broadcast . . . ORSON WELLES 7:15 tonight on KCRG-KCRK.

Welles is planning: a new film that should make motion picture history. This time, he'll be seen as Noah, of Ark fame. And he'll have to create Noah's cinema likeness since there are
no true pictures of the Biblical character available.

52-05-03 Wisconsin State Journal
10:30 p.m.--Black Museum (WISC): Orson Welles in "
The Letter," clue in vicious murder.

52-06-03 Janesville Daily Gazette
Scotland Yard's Black Museum is crammed full with objects that have played important roles in British murder trials. Orson Welles selects a damaging
"Letter," responsible for the solution of a vicious homicide, to background the drama scheduled for the Black Museum broadcast tonight at 7. Harry Allan Towers is the producer for these London-originated suspense programs.

52-06-10
24
A Black Gladstone Bag
Y
52-06-10 Cedar Rapids Gazette
SCOTLAND Yard's BLACK MUSEUM is crammed with objects that have played important roles in British murder trials. Orson Welles has selected a damaging "Letter" from the display to background his KCRG-KCRK program tonight at 7:15. The BLACK MUSEUM broadcasts originate in London.

52-06-10 Wisconsin State Journal
10:30 p.m.--Black Museum (WISC): "
The Gladstone Bag," murder clue.
52-06-17
24
A Black Gladstone Bag
Y
52-06-17 Cedar Rapids Gazette
A GLADSTONE BAG is one of many pieces of evidence on display in Scotland Yard's grim repository of death — THE BLACK MUSEUM. The suitcase played a prominent part in one of the most vicious crimes ever committed in the British Isles. Orson Welles will relate the details of the crime on KCRG-KCRK at 7:15 tonight.

52-06-17 Wisconsin State Journal
10:30 p.m.--Black Museum (WISC)

52-06-24
25
A Lady's Pigskin Glove
Y
52-06-24 Wisconsin State Journal
10:30 p.m.--Black Museum (WISC): Orson Welles in "
The Glove."

52-06-24 Janesville Daily Gazette
Tonight marks the last broadcast of the Black Museum until next year when once again Orson Wells will be on hand to thrill you and chill you with more mystery stories. Each week these programs have taken some piece of evidence from teh Black Museum of Scotland Yard and have shown how this evidence was responsible for a major crime and follow the case from beginning to end. Tonight's story is no exception to the rule as the Black Museum has another thriller for WCLO listeners.

Replaced by The Jimmy Carrol Show
52-07-01
--
--





52-09-23
--
--

52-09-30
26
The Champagne Glass
Y
52-09-10 Wisconsin State Journal
Ten programs produced by MGM pictures will return as a bloc to the Mutual schedule Sept. 29. Half of them have been off the air for the summer. "Woman of the Year" and "Crime Does Not Pay" will be aired on Mondays;
"The Black Museum" and " Story of Dr. Kildare" Tuesdays; "Musical Comedy Theater" Wednesdays; "Modern Adventures of Cassanova" and "The Hardy Family" Thursdays; "Adventures of Maisie" and "The Gracie Fields Show" Fridays; and "MGM Theater of The Air" Saturdays.

52-09-30 Cedar Rapids Gazette
Orson Welles returns from vacation tonight to take over THE BLACK MUSEUM . . . 7 [o'clock . . . on KCRG-KCRK. He'll tell the story of "
The Champaigne Glass".

52-09-30 Brownwood Bulletin
It's an ordinary goblet on-display In Scotland Yard's repository of death. But the history behind it is full of Intrigue and—homicide. Orson Welles will relate the tale of that "
Champagne Glass" when KBWD*Mutual's "Black Museum" program returns from Its summer hiatus tonight, at 9.

52-09-30 Clearfield Progress
More new and returning prorams
are scheduled for tonight at these times:
Radio—MBS 8, Orson Welles in
Black Museum, "The Champagne Glass;"

52-09-30 Janesville Daily Gazette
It's an ordinary goblet on display in Scotland Yard's repository of death. But the history behind it is full of intrigue and homicide. Orson Welles will relate the tale of that "Champagne Glass" on tonight's Black Museum broadcast at 7. The Black Museum story tonight is the first broadcast in the fall series.

52-09-30 San Antonio Light
BLACK MUSEUM
7 p.m. KMAC -- Orson Welles will relate the tale of a "
Champagne Glass" in the first program of the fall season.
52-10-07
27
Title Unknown
Y
52-10-07 Cedar Rapids Gazette
ORSON WELLES will narrate
another crime based on evidence displayed in Scotland Yard's BLACK MUSEUM . . . 7:00 tonight on KCRG-KCRK.

52-10-07 Janesville Daily Gazette
Orson Welles will narrate another suspenseful mystery story tonight on The Black Museum. A piece of evidence taken from the Black Museum at Scotland Yard will provide the story theme and the case will follow the complete true story. Tonight's story is being made by delayed broadcast in order to present the special Community Chest program. Air time is 9:30 for the Black Museum.

52-10-14
28
The Khaki Handkerchief
Y
52-10-14 Cedar Rapids Gazette
AT 7:00 tonight on KCRGKCRK,
Orson Welles will
tell why "
The Khaki Handkerchief"
is now a murder
exhibit in Scotland Yard's
BLACK MUSEUM.

52-10-14 Brownwood Bulletin
A square of olive drab cloth, on exhibit in a Scotland Yard show case as an important piece of murder evidence, provides the central theme for Orson Welles' adventure drama on KBWD-Mutual's "Black Museum" broadcast tonight at 9. The story, naturally, is titled "
The Khaki Handerchief."

52-10-21
29
Title Unknown
Y
52-10-21 Sandusky Register
WLEC 8:00 Black Museum
52-10-28
--
--
Pre-empted for Eisenhower speech; moved to Wednesday night temporarily
52-10-29
30
Title Unknown
Y
Wednesday, 7:00 p.m.

52-10-29 Cedar Rapids Gazette
ANOTHER Scotland Yard case history will be dramatized on KCRG - KCRK's BLACK MUSEUM at 7:00 tonight. Orson Welles is narrator on the London-originated programs that are regularly scheduled on Tuesday nights.
52-11-04
31
Title Unknown
Y
[Preempted in most markets for Election returns]

52-11-04 Cedar Rapids Gazette
ORSON WELLES will narrate
another crime based on evidence displayed in Scotland Yard's BLACK MUSEUM . . . 7:00 tonight on KCRG-KCRK.
52-11-11
32
Title Unknown
Y
52-11-11 Cedar Rapids Gazette
ORSON WELLES will narrate
another crime based on evidence displayed in Scotland Yard's BLACK MUSEUM . . . 7:00 tonight on KCRG-KCRK.
52-11-18
33
Title Unknown
Y
52-11-18 Cedar Rapids Gazette
ORSON WELLES will narrate
another crime based on evidence displayed in Scotland Yard's BLACK MUSEUM . . . 7:00 tonight on KCRG-KCRK.
52-11-25
34
Title Unknown
Y
52-11-25 Cedar Rapids Gazette
ORSON WELLES will narrate
another crime based on evidence displayed in Scotland Yard's BLACK MUSEUM . . . 7:00 tonight on KCRG-KCRK.
52-12-02
35
Title Unknown
Y
52-12-02 Cedar Rapids Gazette
ORSON WELLES will narrate
another crime based on evidence displayed in Scotland Yard's BLACK MUSEUM . . . 7:00 tonight on KCRG-KCRK.

52-12-02
Janesville Daily Gazette

Black Museum

Another spine-tingling mystery is on tap for mystery story lovers tonight at 7 when the Black Museum is presented over WCLO. Orson Welles will be narrator. These stories are based on evidence found in Scotland Yard's Black Museum. Each piece of evidence had some bearing on a major crime committed an also in the apprehension of the criminal.

52-12-09
36
Title Unknown
Y
52-12-09 Cedar Rapids Gazette
ORSON WELLES will narrate
another crime based on evidence displayed in Scotland Yard's BLACK MUSEUM . . . 7:00 tonight on KCRG-KCRK.

52-12-09
Janesville Daily Gazette

Black Museum

Tuesday evening at 7 means the Black Museum starring Orson Welles as narrator. Each week at this time, Mr. Welles selects some piece of evidence on display in the Black Museum at Scotland Yards and describes the story of the crime behind that particular piece of evidence.

52-12-16
37
Title Unknown
Y
52-12-16 Cedar Rapids Gazette
ORSON WELLES will narrate
another crime based on evidence displayed in Scotland Yard's BLACK MUSEUM . . . 7:00 tonight on KCRG-KCRK.

52-12-16
Janesville Daily Gazette

Black Museum

Another eerie tale of suspense and mystery awaits mystery fans tonight a6 7 when another thrilling chapter is added to the Black Museum. Orson Welles is the narrator of these suspenseful half-hour dramas heard every Tuesday over WCLO. The stories revolve around a piece of evidence found in the Black Museum at Scotland yard. The entire case history is brought to life and the killer traced through police methods.

52-12-23
38
Title Unknown
Y
52-12-23 Cedar Rapids Gazette
ORSON WELLES will narrate
another crime based on evidence displayed in Scotland Yard's BLACK MUSEUM . . . 7:00 tonight on KCRG-KCRK.

52-12-23
Janesville Daily Gazette

Black Museum

Mystery fans can follow the police in their actual recorded capture of a criminal. Orson Welles will narrate the Balck Museum mystery show in which he tells how a pice of evidence, now on display in Scotland Yard's Black Museum, led to the arrest of the criminal. He narrates how the police, step by step, solved the case. These exciting mystery programs are heard every Tuesday evening at 7 over WCLO.

52-12-23 Times-Pacayune
Orson Wells digs up another curious story on Black Museum via MBS-WNOE (7 p.m.)

52-12-30
39
Title Unknown
Y
[Black Museum finale]

52-12-30 Janesville Daily Gazette

Black Museum

Tonight's broadcast marks the last appearance of The Black Museum as a regular Tuesday evening program over WCLO at 7 p.m. Next week the program titled That Hammer Guy will be heard at this time. That Hammer Guy is based on book of the very popular mystery writer, Mickey Spillane. Radio star Larry Haines will portray Mick hamer on th eair. Kick Lweis will broduce and direct, with Ed Admamson, writer of Shadow adventures scripting the series.

52-12-30 Brainerd Dispatch
MBS—7 Black Museum finale

53-01-06
--
--
Replaced in MBS Lineup by That Hammer Guy





The Black Museum Radio Program Logs

The Black Museum Radio CBC Radio Station CKRC Run

Date Episode Title Avail. Notes
52-09-28
1
Title Unknown
N
52-09-27 Winnipeg Free Press
Another new show on the CKRC
schedule is The Black Museum
starring Orson Welles, heard at 6
p.m. Sunday.
52-10-05
2
Title Unknown
N
52-10-12
3
Title Unknown
N
52-10-11 Winnipeg Free Press
Stories from the files of Scotland Yard will be featured in the. Black Museum, starring Orson Welles, at 6 .p.m. over CKRC.
52-10-19
4
Title Unknown
N
52-10-18 Winnipeg Free Press
Stories from the files of Scotland Yard will be featured in the. Black Museum, starring Orson Welles, at 6 .p.m. over CKRC.
52-10-26
5
Title Unknown
N
52-11-02
6
Title Unknown
N
52-11-09
7
Title Unknown
N
52-11-08 Winnipeg Free Press
Stories from the files of Scotland Yard will be featured in the. Black Museum, starring Orson Welles, at 6 .p.m. over CKRC.
52-11-16
8
Title Unknown
N
52-11-15 Winnipeg Free Press
Orson Welles brings another
mystery tale from the records of
Scotland Yard, at 6 p.m. over
CKRC on The Black Museum.
52-11-23
9
Title Unknown
N
52-11-30
10
The Raincoat
N
52-11-29 Winnipeg Free Press
Orson welles tells the story of
The Raincoat and how it effected the life of one man nearly led to his hanging on Black Museum at 6 p.m. over CKRC
52-12-07
11
Title Unknown
N
52-12-14
12
A Straight Razor
N
52-12-13 Winnipeg Free Press
Orson Wells brings listeners anot'
tale from the annals of the
criminal Investigation department
of the London police, the story of
The Razor, at 6 p.m. over CKRC
in Black Museum.
52-12-21
13
Title Unknown
N
52-12-28
14
The Weed Killer
N
52-12-27 Winnipeg Free Press
Another story from the annals
of Scotland Yard entitled the
Weed Killer, will be heard Sunday
night at 6 over CKRC when
Orson Welles brings listeners another
tale from the Black Museum,
53-01-04
15
Title Unknown
N
53-01-11
16
The Receipt
Y
53-02-10 Winnipeg Free Press
Orson Welles narrates a story from the annals of Scotland Yard on The Black Museum Sunday at 6 p.m. over CKRC. The drama is entitled
The Receipt.
53-01-18
17
Title Unknown
N
53-01-25
18
Title Unknown
N
53-02-01
19
Title Unknown
Y
53-02-08
20
Title Unknown
Y
53-02-15
21
The Gladstone Bag
Y
53-02-14 Winnipeg Free Press
Black Museum will present Orson Welles in
The Gladstone Bag at 6 p.m. Sunday over CKRC,
53-02-22
22
Title Unknown
Y
53-03-01
23
Title Unknown
Y
53-03-08
24
Title Unknown
Y
53-03-15
25
Title Unknown
Y
53-03-22
26
Title Unknown
Y
53-02-14 Winnipeg Free Press
Heard at a
new time this Sunday will be The Black Museum starring Orson Welles which moves to the 8.30 p.m. slot just vacated by Harmony House which closed for the season. Note these on your radio schedules and you won't be disappointed!
53-03-29
27
Title Unknown
Y
53-04-05
28
Title Unknown
Y
53-02-14 Winnipeg Free Press
The Khaki Handkerchief with Orson Wells will be heard on The Black Museum over CKRC at 8.30 p.m. Sunday.
53-04-12
29
Title Unknown
N
53-04-19
N
Pre-empted for Singing Stars
53-04-26
30
Title Unknown
N
53-05-03
31
Title Unknown
N
53-05-10
32
The Brass Button
N
53-05-09 Winnipeg Free Press
Orson Welles will be on hand
again at 8.30 p.m. Sunday over
CKRC when Orson Welles brings you the tale of
The Brass Button taken from the annals of Scotland
Yard, on The Black Museum.
53-05-17
33
A Piece of Iron Chain
N
53-05-16 Winnipeg Free Press
The Chain, with Orson Welles,
will be heard at S.30 p.m.'Sunday
over CKRC on The Black Museum.
53-05-24
34
Title Unknown
N
53-05-31
35
Title Unknown
N
53-06-07
36
Title Unknown
N
53-06-14
37
Title Unknown
N
53-06-21
38
Title Unknown
N
53-06-28
39
Title Unknown
N





The Black Museum Radio Program Logs

The Black Museum WRVR-FM Radio 1974 Rebroadcasts Log

Date Episode Title Avail. Notes
74-09-18
1
A Door Key
N
74-09-25
2
A Car Tyre
N
74-10-02
3
A Brickbat
N
74-10-09
4
A Jacket, Sleeveless and Unstitched
N
74-10-16
5
A Tartan Scarf, Torn and Ragged
N
74-10-23
6
A Blued .22 Calibre Pistol
N
74-10-30
7
A Piece of Iron Chain
N
74-11-06
8
A Brass Button
N
74-11-13
9
Canvas Bag, The
N
74-11-20
10
An Open End Wrench
N
74-11-27
11
Mandolin String
N
74-12-04
12
Woman's Powder Puff, The
N
74-12-11
13
A Sash Cord
N
74-12-18
14
A Tan Shoe, Left Foot
N





The Black Museum Radio Program Logs

AFRTS END-766 'Black Museum' Radio Log

Date Episode Title Avail. Notes
AFRTS #21 Twin Messengers Of Death
N
AFRTS #34 A Raincoat
N
AFRTS #16 The Gas Receipt
Y






The Black Museum Radio Program Biographies




George Orson Welles
(Director, Scenarist, Actor, Producer, Narrator)
Stage, Screen, Radio and Television Actor, Author, Poet, Artist, Magician, Pianist, Producer, Director
(1915-1985)

Birthplace: Kenosha, Wisconsin, U.S.A.

Education: The Todd School, Chicago, IL, U.S.A.

Radiography:

1936 Musical Reveries
1936 The March Of Time
1936 Columbia Workshop
1937 Les Miserables
1937 Shakespeare Festival
1937 The Shadow
1938 The Mercury Theatre of The Air
1938 The Silver Theatre
1938 Campbell Playhouse
1939 Columbia Masterworks' The Merchant Of Venice
1940 This Is Radio (for New York World's Fair)
1940 A Discussion Between H. G. Wells and Orson Welles
1940 The Rudy Vallee Sealtest Show
1941 Front Page Drama
1941 Forecast
1941 The Orson Welles Theatre
1941 We Hold These Truths
1941 The Cavalcade Of America
1942 Treasury Star Parade
1942 Ceiling Unlimited
1942 Suspense
1942 Information Please
1942 The Texaco Star Theatre
1942 Hello Americans
1942 The Radio Reader's Digest
1943 The Jack Benny Program
1943 Reading Out Loud
1943 The Pepsodent Show
1943 The New York Philharmonic Symphony Orchestra
1944 Radio Almanac
1944 The Dinah Shore Program
1944 The Lux Radio Theatre
1944 Fifth War Loan Drive
1944 The Radio Hall Of Fame
1944 The Charlie McCarthy Show
1944 Now Is The Time
1944 This Is My Best
1944 Stop Or Go
1944 G. I. Journal
1945 Command Performance
1945 Fourteen August, A Message For The Day Of Victory
1945 Armed Forces V-J Program
1945 The Victory Chest Program
1946 The Danny Kaye Show
1946 The Fred Allen Show
1946 The Mercury Summer Theatre
1946 The Bill Stern Colgate Sports Newsreel
1946 The Orson Welles Program [ABC]
1947 The Esquire Jazz Concert
1950 This Is The U. N.
1951 The Lives Of Harry Lime
1952 The Black Museum
1954 Anthology
1954 The Adventures Of Sherlock Holmes
1955 The Ed Sullivan Show
1956 Tomorrow
1956 Biography In Sound
1972 The Hallmark Hall Of Fame
1974 The Dick Cavett Show
1975 The Tom Snyder Show
1976 NBC: The First Fifty Years
1983 Something Wicked This Way Comes
The Story Of The Juggler Of Our Lady
Adventures Of A Quarter

Orson Welles, ca. 1938
Orson Welles, ca. 1937

Welles publicity photo, ca. 1939
Welles publicity photo, ca. 1939


Welles rehearses with Mercury Theatre Players, ca. 1938


Welles and wife Virginia Nicholson, ca. 1938


Welles' second book with collaborator Roger Hill, ca 1941


Welles' The Mercury Shakespeare book inside plate from 1941


A Welles sketch for The Mercury Shakespeare book.


Welles rehearses Mercury Theatre for its next play the day after The War of The Worlds broadcast, Oct. 31, 1938


Welles is quizzed by reporters after The War of the Worlds broadcast.

Tall, husky Welles, taking a meeting with a collaborator, ca. 1942


Welles as Lamont Cranston, The Shadow, ca. 1937


Orson Welles, John Gielgud and Ralph Richardson record a BBC broadcast of Sherlock Holmes, ca. 1948


Welles assesses a set for a Stage production, ca. 1972


Welles as The Third Man, walks into the mist, ca. 1949

"I started at the top and worked down."
--Orson Welles (1981)

Frank, prophetic, revealing words from a man most experts consider one of the great artistic geniuses of the 20th Century. There's no disputing his genius--at every endeavor he ever set his hand or mind to. George Orson Welles was born to a very successful inventor and a gifted, beautiful concert pianist. It's no wonder he was equipped as well as he was to excel at every Performing Arts challenge he ever attempted.

Already a child prodigy in multiple talents--art, the piano, and magic--he lost his mother at the age of nine. Welles' father took him on a world tour for the next six years. Then his father died when Welles was fifteen. He became the ward of a family friend, Dr. Maurice Bernstein, in Chicago.

Upon graduating from The Todd School in 1931, Welles decided to foregoe College for the present and instead take a sketching tour of Ireland, his ancestral home. Once in the U.K., Welles attempted to enter the London Stage, then returned to the U.S. to attempt to enter the Broadway Stage. Unsuccessful in both Drama centers, Welles' wanderlust took him to Morroco and Spain. It's reported that he even attempted bull-fighting while in Spain.

Coaxed back from Europe, friends Thornton Wilder and Alexander Woolcott got him a tryout with Katherine Cornell's road company. It was while with Katherine Cornell that Welles made his Broadway Stage debut as Tybalt in Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet (1934). Also in 1934, Welles directed his first short film, The Hearts of Age, and married his first wife, Virginia Nicholson, who later acted with him in Mercury Theatre.

While on tour with Katherine Cornell and then William Kane he collaborated with fellow Todd School alumnus and Headmaster, Roger Hill to write Everybody's Shakespeare, a book containing acting treatments of The Merchant of Venice, Julius Caesar and Twelfth Night. Welles and Hill collaborated on another book in 1941. But it was Katherine Cornell's influence on Welles that eventually led to the dramatically novel approaches he took to the Classics. Cornell's updated treatments of both Romeo and Juliet and The Barretts of Wimpole Street were considered quite avant garde for their day. Indeed it was his impatience with Cornell in helping further his career that led him to work with William Kane back in Chicago.

In Chicago, Welles teamed with other Todd School alumni to mount a drama festival of his own with local actors, Dublin's Gate Theatre actors Micheál MacLiammóir and Hilton Edwards, and several Broadway stage artists he'd met during his first abortive attempt to break into the New York Stage. The festival was an unexpected success and caught the attention of John Houseman who was then working with the Federal Theatre Project under the auspices of the Works Progress Administration.

Houseman's current project was working with the Negro Theatre Unit of the Federal Theatre Project in mounting an all-Negro production of Macbeth, set in Haiti. The players of the Negro Theatre Unit were primarily comprised of actors and technicians from Harlem's American Negro Theatre. The production was heralded by the public and critics alike and toured the U.S. under the auspices of the Federal Theatre Project. Still only 20, Welles was finally being hailed as a Theatre prodigy.

Though having already performed in Radio during 1935, Welles' first lead in Radio came with 1936's Musical Reveries, a fifteen-minute variety-drama format wherein Welles' segment comprised drama and poetry readings. Welles and John Houseman formed the Mercury Theatre in 1937, mounting one of Broadway's most controversial treatments of Julius Caesar. Drawing on his experience with Katherine Cornell, Welles made the Shakespeare classic into a contemporary exploration of Mussolini's fascist Italy, with the sparsest of sets, fascist military costuming, and only dramatic lighting and sound to add to the atmosphere. Both heralded and despised by traditional Stage critics, the notoriety got Welles and Houseman an opportunity to air a serial presentation of Les Miserables (1937) over The Mutual Broadcasting System. Running for seven weeks of installments during the Summer of 1937, the program was a resounding success and introduced the Mercury Theatre repertory ensemble to the nation.

The success of both Les Miserables and Welles' performances in The Shadow (1937) got Welles and Houseman a shot at a prime time CBS commitment to nine, hour-long Mercury Theatre productions of Welles' chosing, conceptually titled, "First Person, Singular." The concept envisioned Welles narrating a series of productions in his own words and from his own perspective (e.g. in the first person, singular, or 'I'). The first nine broadcasts met with broad acceptance and critical acclaim, resulting in CBS extending the commitment for thirteen more installments.

It was with that second set of programs that Welles broadcast the Mercury Theatre's most famous and remarkable production, The War of The Worlds, a novel by H.G. Wells that had been brilliantly adapted for Halloween Eve by Howard Koch, one of the Mercury Theatre writers. The production and aftermath of the production are chronicled in detail above, but The War of the Worlds catapulted Orson Welles into the realm of Performing Arts legend within forty-eight hours of that historic broadcast.

While Welles did go on to even further accomplishments in the Performing Arts, it goes without saying that Orson Welles will always be equally viewed as both a Radio and Film Legend. Anyone with an even passing awarness of The Golden Age of Radio will undoubtedly mention Orson Welles in any discussion of Radio from the 1930s to the 1950s. Welles' imprint on the history of that era is part of the very fiber of Radio History--and not simply for his Shadow (1938) appearances, his various Mercury Theatre productions over the years, or his The Lives of Harry Lime (1951) performances.

Radio is an aural medium. Welles' genius was in shaping every phrase he uttered over Radio with an ear to what ultimately came out of the radio set or speaker at the other end. Welles knew radio technology and knew how to best employ it for maximum effect. He accomplished the same in Film. Studying both the available technology--and techniques--then maximizing their results at the receiving end, whether that was simply ears and imagination or eyes, ears and imagination. It was one's imagination that Welles sought to connect with. From the elaborate dramatic tempo and framing of a suspenseful spoken phrase, to the most elaborate crane shot in Film, Welles played and tinkered with the medium at hand until he acheived his desired effect.

There's no disputing Welles' genius, nor that he possessed the archetypal temperament of a genius. He demanded perfection--from himself and from those he worked with. And his demands were often both quixotic and onerous. But irrespective of the egos he bent and the frustration he engendered in his collaborators, Welles produced Art. Brilliant Art. In every medium he undertook.

There's no room on this page for an exhaustive biography of Orson Welles. And even if we chose to undertake such a biography the warts and missteps of Welles' career would invariably distract attention from a fair assessment of Welles' enduring impact. We're neither intellectually equipped nor at a level from which to judge Orson Welles' life. We determined that, frank and realistic to the end, Welles alone, was best equipped to make those kinds of judgements.

We opened with Welles' own assessment of his performing life. It's both brutal and honest. Welles' life after Mercury Theatre and both Citizen Kane (1941) and The Magnificent Ambersons (1942) wasn't idle in the least, but beset with personal and financial distractions, Welles never quite recaptured the consistent brilliance and genius of his first twenty years on the public stage.

Welles never seemed to find the time for all the projects he wanted to pursue, but he made the time to leave the world in awe of his extraordinary talent. More importantly, he left a legacy of excellence and innovation in every endeavor he did undertake, inspiring hundreds of thousands of younger performing artists to reach for the unattainable and--occasionally--actually grasp it, as George Orson Welles had.




Harry Alan Towers
(Producer/Syndicator)

Radio, Television, and Film Producer
(1920-2009)

Birthplace: London, England, U.K.

Radiography:
1942 The Royal Air Force Takes the Air
1946 The March Of the Movies
1951 The Lives Of Harry Lime
1952 The Black Museum
1952 The Adventures Of the Scarlet Pimpernel

Harry Alan Towers shortly after his return to civilian life circa 1948
Harry Alan Towers shortly after his return to civilian life circa 1948

Harry Alan Towers circa 1984
Harry Alan Towers circa 1984
Harry Alan Towers was born, raised and educated (Italia Conti school for child actors) in London, England. He joined the R.A.F. at the outbreak of World War II, becoming the programme director for British Forces Radio, the British equivalent of America's Armed Forces Radio Service. In that capacity, Towers was responsible for securing, editing, producing and distributing Radio broadcasts via electrical transcription throughout the far-flung reaches of The British Empire's war effort.

Upon completing his service in the R.A.F, he returned to London to establish Towers of London, a company to syndicate original Radio programming via electrical transcription. Backed by his mother's financing, Margaret Miller Towers and her son inaugurated what would become one of post-War England's most successful media production companies.

Among Towers' most successful Radio syndications were Secrets of Scotland Yard (1948) with Clive Brook, The Lives of Harry Lime (1951) with Orson Welles, The Black Museum (1952) with Orson Welles, and The Adventures of The Scarlet Pimpernell (1952) with Marius Goring. Towers had become well equipped to engineer these usually worldwide syndications. As Programme Director for British Forces Radio, his day to day activities had been consumed with deal-making around the globe in acquiring and distributing entertaining programming to British Forces overseas.

That experience served him even better--and far more profitably--as an independent programming producer and syndicator cutting syndication deals with America, Australia, Luxembourg, Mozambique, South Africa and Canada.

The Independent Television network (ITV) was established in 1955 as a public service network of British commercial television broadcasters. Its charter was established by the Independent Television Authority (ITA) to provide competition to the BBC. ITV opened yet another avenue for Towers of London. That same year, Towers of London began to package and produce an ambitious array of programming, including The Golden Fleece (1955), The Boy About the Place (1955), Teddy Gang (1956), The Lady Asks for Help (1956), The Scarlet Pimpernel (1956), The Suicide Club (1956), The Little Black Book (1956), The New Adventures of Martin Kane (1957), A Christmas Carol (1958), 24 Hours a Day (1959), Down to the Sea (1959), Gun Rule (1959) and Missing Person (1959).

Ever the entrepreneurial innovator, the 1960s and 1970s found Towers producing an ambitious and prolific number of 90-minute, made-for-Television movies for syndication around the world. Often joining forces with other independent production companies, Towers' deal-making and relentless ambition have continued to help create a minor entertainment empire that dots the globe to this day.

Towers' life has not been without its own speedbumps, excesses and awkward situations, but Towers' apparent limitless well of resolve and resilience seem to have made him only more and more successful over the years.

Last heard of in South Africa, Harry Alan Towers was reportedly undertaking as many as twenty-five concurrent projects as of 2003. Now reaching the age of 90, one wonders how much longer or further Towers' ambition will take him. He's reached the age of 89 in one of modern civilizations most ruthless industries. He must have been doing something right.

[Update: Harry Alan Towers passed away after a short illness in a hospital in Canada on July 31, 2009]

From the November 4, 2009 © 2009 Independent News and Media article:

Harry Alan Towers: Prolific radio, television and film producer and screenwriter

As entertainment moguls go, Harry Alan Towers was never in the same league as David O. Zelnick or Louis B. Mayer, but at least he had a proper middle name; and during a long career in radio, television and films he acquired a legendary reputation as the most prolific - and occasionally elusive - independent producer in the business.

Born in Wandsworth, the only son of a theatrical business manager, Towers started young, entering the profession via the Italia Conti school for child actors; he was spinning discs for a European radio station when the job, and his adolescence, ended sharply with the outbreak of the Second World War. He became a BBC scriptwriter, turning his pen to drama series and comedy shows until old enough to serve King and Country. By 1944 Aircraftsman Towers was head of the RAF's Radio Unit, making programmes for the Forces (as opposed to the Home) Service; there he introduced Richard Murdoch to Kenneth Home, and the outcome was the long-running BBC comedy series Much-Binding-In-The-Marsh. In 1942 Towers had devised a radio magazine entitled March of the Movies, presented by newsreel commentator Leslie Mitchell, and the first series of peacetime allowed a visit to the United States. Harry Alan Towers was impressed by Cecil B.

De Mille, writing that he epitomised "Hollywood's sense of showmanship, worship of efficiency, and spirit of adventure."

By 1950 the London-based Towers was distributing radio shows to overseas commercial stations. The internationally famous artistes under contract for those productions included Noel Coward, Sir Thomas Beecham, Gracie Fields and James Mason. And nobody who heard the 1951 radio spin-off from The Third Man can ever forget that programme's thrilling start: a gunshot, followed by Orson Welles informing listeners: "That was the shot that killed Harry Lime.

How do I know? Because I am Harry Lime."

Towers' name was everywhere on the pirate Radio Luxembourg, broadcasting from the heart of Europe on 208 metres. The station's light entertainment shows, drama serials and quiz programmes were all sponsored on the American model by products like Bird's Custard and Wisdom toothbrushes. Luxembourg's call-sign was "Two-O-Eight, Your Station Of The Stars!", and Towers' input certainly lived up to the slogan. A typical week in 1954 had Welles narrating The Black Museum, Bogart and Bacall in Bold Venture and Michael Redgrave as Horatio Hornblower; all were produced by Harry Alan's company, Towers of London Limited. On the BBC Light Programme, his instinct for exploiting successful characters reached a pinnacle with the casting of John Gielgud and Ralph Richardson as Sherlock Holmes and Doctor Watson.

Towers was a declared enthusiast for sponsored broadcasting so it was natural that he would offer his entrepreneurial flair to the nascent British commercial television. At Highbury Studios, Towers of London geared up to supply the ITV network with economically-made programmes on film. Associated Rediffusion's opening night in 1955 included Edith Evans giving viewers 10 minutes of her Lady Bracknell, pre-recorded for the occasion by Towers' outfit.

Commissioned to deliver 39 playlets for ATV at the rate of one a week, under the generic title "Theatre Royal", he became a frequent visitor to the studios that had been nicknamed by the industry "Highbury Towers". Parking his Morris Oxford next to Jaguars and Austin Healeys, he would remark on the immense wealth of the acting profession; but since his own annual turnover was an estimated £350,000 he could afford the occasional private joke. Towers' weekly routine took in board meetings at ABC Television, negotiations with the BBC and visits to office and home, where his mother signed all the cheques; her son's pale complexion and heavy eyelids denoted a workaholic life style but his energy was apparently limitless.

A particular coup was a 90-minute version (the first British "TV movie") of The Anatomist, with Alastair Sim recreating his stage performance as Dr Knox in James Bridie's play. In that same year, 1956, Towers of London hired Marius Goring to impersonate The Scarlet Pimpernel for a series filmed at Elstree studios. Between 1957 and 1959 Towers masterminded two co-productions with a Stateside company, Ziv TV: Martin Kane, Private Investigator in which William Gargan played the American gumshoe seconded to Scotland Yard, and Dial 999, with Robert Beatty's RCMP detective seconded to the Yard. Meanwhile, Robert Morley played Mr Micawber for the anthology "Tales From Dickens".

To sell the Dickens format in the United States, Towers brought over the Hollywood star Fredric March to host and narrate some 13 episodes of "classic scenes", one of which featured March's wife Florence Eldridge as Miss Havisham; another gem was Basil Rathbone as Scrooge in the adaptation of A Christmas Carol.

Literary precedent was always sound insurance, and when Towers graduated to the cinema in the '60s he maintained the same policy. Edgar Wallace's hero Commissioner Sanders was played by Richard Todd twice, in Death Drums Along The River (1963) and Coast Of Skeletons (1964), while Sax Rohmer's fiendish oriental villain Fu Manchu was splendidly interpreted by Christopher Lee in five movies between 1965 and 1970. Towers not only produced, but wrote the storylines using his old radio nom de plume "Peter Welbeck".

By now, Towers had become what Leslie Halliwell in The Filmgoer's Companion tolerantly described as "peripatetic" - mainly because of a contretemps with the American police in 1961, when Towers and his then girlfriend Mariella Novotny were charged with operating a call-girl racket from a New York hotel. Towers, asserting a frame-up, jumped bail and returned to Europe, where he took refuge in the Eastern bloc, producing low budget thrillers financed through Liechtenstein and other tax havens (a dodge he pioneered).

In 1965 he was introduced to Samuel E Arkoff of American International Pictures. The resultant partnership generated two comedy adventures, Our Man In Marrakesh (1966) and Jules Verne's Rocket To The-Moon (1967), loaded with bankable stars like Terry-Thomas; and Sumuru, with Shirley Eaton the eponymous "female Fu Manchu". Arkoff then dispatched Towers to Madrid to oversee a Spanish/German co-production for AIP. House of a Thousand Dolls was an exotic drama about the white slave trade with Vincent Price as the stage illusionist/brothel keeper plying his evil trade in Tangier.

In Spain, Towers met the cult director Jess Franco and entered his "blue period" with a roster of sexploitation and schlock horror movies. Justine was narrated by Klaus Kinski as the Marquis de Sade; and the German actor was persuaded to return for Venus In Furs and Count Dracula, in which he played the madman Renfield. Most of these pictures also featured the Austrian actress Maria Rohm, who became Towers' wife.

Over the next couple of decades, with a keen eye for non-copyright literary material, Towers raided the popular classics. Hence the 1971 treatment of Treasure Island, in which Welles essayed Long John Silver, also contributing to the screenplay (as "O.W Jeeves"); but Towers' hit-and-run methods of production meant that Welles' dialogue was post-synchronised by the dubbing specialist Robert Rietty. Meanwhile, credit problems with American Express obliged Towers to remove himself to Canada, where he took citizenship and relaunched his career from Toronto, drawing on overseas investment. The 1973 version of Jack London's Call of the Wild was a German/Spanish/Italian French co-production; this was followed by King Solomon's Treasure (1977) and The Shape Of Things To Come (1979).

In 1980 Towers cleared his outstanding account with the US authorities, paying a £4,200 fine in recognition of the 1961 bail escapade; the old vice racket charges were then dropped. From 1985 onwards he was involved with kindred spirits Menahem Golan and Yorum Globus aka Cannon Films. For Golan, he supervised a trio of Edgar Allan Poe stories - Premature Burial, Fall of the House of Usher, Masque of the Red Death - shot in South Africa; and yet another remake of Phantom of the Opera. For Globus, Towers signed up the accomplished screenwriter Nelson Gidding to script The Mummy Lives (1992), but with Tony Curtis as the Brooklyn-accented Egyptian high priest it was doomed to oblivion.

In 1995 Towers organised the return of Len Deighton's spy anti-hero Harry Palmer. Bullet to Beijing was filmed cheek by jowl with Midnight in Moscow (rapidly amended to Midnight in St Petersburg after the collapse of the Soviet Union). "Peter Welbeck" wrote the storylines for these UK/ Canada/Russia co-productions but despite Michael Caine's customary professionalism, Palmer's new adventures went straight to UK video in 1997. Towers resurfaced in Bulgaria, where he instigated a brace of mystery thrillers shot "back to back" with the same crew and virtually identical casts. In High Adventure the plot device was a map showing the location of Alexander the Great's treasure, while for Death, Deceit and Destiny On The Orient Express it was a terrorist bomb on the train. While at the local Boyana studios, the 80-year-old Towers also knocked out a new version of H. Rider Haggard's She.

--Cy Young





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