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Original The Creaking Door header art

The Creaking Door Programme

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The Creaking Door MP3 Cover Art
The Creaking Door MP3 Cover Art

The Creaking Door was South African Radio's attempt to create a compelling program of highly suspenseful, dramatic thrillers with a supernatural bent for their sponsor, State Express Cigarettes. Some commentators insist it was conceived as a spin-off of the already successful Inner Sanctum episodes that had been syndicated for broadcast in Australia and South Africa during the 1950s. Given the format, one can see the inference, but in fact The Creaking Door stands on its own as a unique, well-produced, engaging supernatural thriller series on its own merit.

The etymology of the name, The Creaking Door, bears some reflection. When legendary producer and director, Himan Brown first presented Inner Sanctum as one of three requested sponsorship candidates to Carter Products, he presented Inner Sanctum as The Creaking Door. Carter didn't care for the name, so on the spur of the moment Hi Brown suggested Inner Sanctum as an alternative, and voila, Radio history was made.

The emphasis on high production values is perhaps the very reason that several early, morally challenged Radio traders felt they could get away with interspersing many of the Creaking Door episodes with their Inner Sanctum, Mysterious Traveler, and Strange Dr. Weird offerings to a still naive community of radio recording collectors. Although somewhat left-handed, it's still a compliment to both SABC and Springbok Radio that those early 'otr hooligans' managed to get away with the practice for well over 20 years.

That takes nothing away from this excellent series in its own right. The expositions were deftly introduced and shaded with just the right amount of chilling narrative. Not quite as chilling and melodramatic as Raymond Johnson, perhaps, but Peter Broomfield rightly camped up his delivery for The Creaking Door, and it worked. Indeed, given the reported conservative budget of each episode, it's a tribute to The Creaking Door's producers that they managed to tease so much quality out of such relatively humbly funded productions.

Circulating The Creaking Door productions remain a highly engaging tribute to the supernatural thriller genre and, as such, continue to be a highly sought after series. Definitely still a compelling, 'lights-out' listening experience for young and old alike.

Series Derivatives:

An American derivative is alleged but there is, as yet, no provenance for it. The Creaking Door is anecdotaly characterized as being inspired by early South African broadcasts of a syndicated 'Inner Sanctum' run, but there is no historical provenance to support this claim. The only point of comparison between the two is the creaking door element introducing the episodes.
Genre: Anthology of South African Golden Age Radio Suspense Thriller Dramas
Network(s): The South African Broadcasting Corporation, Springbok Radio
Audition Date(s) and Title(s): None
Premiere Date(s) and Title(s): 64-04-29 01 The Vagrant (for the 1964-1965 run)
Run Dates(s)/ Time(s): 64-04-29 through 65-03-01 (for the currently circulating episodes only); Saturdays, 9 p.m.
Syndication: None
Sponsors: State Express 555 Cigarettes
Director(s):
Principal Actors: Various unidentified performers
Recurring Character(s): The Voice Behind The Creaking Door.
Protagonist(s): Varied from episode to episode
Author(s): None identified
Writer(s) None identified
Music Direction: None identified
Musical Theme(s): None identified
Announcer(s): Peter Broomfield [Host]
Estimated Scripts or
Broadcasts:
Estimates vary for the actual duration of the run. 45 episodes from the 1964-1965 State Express sponsored run are in circulation. The Pumamouse website indicates a series run duration of three years (1966-1968). Other apocryphal sources indicate a possible run duration of seven years (1963-1970). As a weekly programme, there may have been a theoretical minimum of between 140 to 300+ episodes and/or re-broadcasts.
Episodes in Circulation: 45 episodes in circulation for the 1964-1965 State Express sponsored run.
Total Episodes in Collection: 43
Provenances:
Hickerson Guide, The Pumamouse website, The Springbok Radio Preservation Society.

Notes on Provenances:

The theoretical dates of the 1964-1965 run were interpolated from the one known dated episode in circulation.

Note that the 'White Scarf Strangler' is a Creaking Door episode, not an Inner Sanctum Mysteries episode as is widely alleged throughout many segments of the 'otr' community. As noted above there are actually few similarities between The Creaking Door and Inner Sanctum Mysteries, but throughout the 37 years of the 'otr' era of Golden Age Radio collecting there have been many similar intentional frauds perpetrated on unwitting collectors in the community--in several instances going as far as to clip out the intro and closing from Inner Sanctum Mysteries and insert them into The Creaking Door episodes.

What you see here, is what you get. Complete transparency. We have no 'credentials' whatsoever--in any way, shape, or form--in the 'otr community'--none. But 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 doctored encodes. No misdirection. No posturing about our 'credentials.' No misrepresentations. 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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The Creaking Door Programme Log

Date Episode Title Avail. Notes
64-04-29
1
The Vagrant
Y
[Provisional Premiere]
64-05-04
2
I See Ghosts
Y
64-05-11
3
Auntie Mae
Y
Title Provenanced on Air
64-05-18
4
The Dummy
Y
64-05-25
5
The Haunted Executioner
Y
a.k.a. The Hangman's Rope
64-06-01
6
Face to Face ( Music of the Spheres)
Y
64-06-08
7
Dangerous Dive
Y
64-06-15
8
The Ghost at Ridgeway
Y
64-06-22
9
Bring Back Her Bones
Y
64-06-29
10
Don't Go Down in the Mine
Y
64-07-06
11
Village of Daleside
Y
64-07-13
12
The Cat Woman
Y
Alt. The Cat's Whiskers
Title Provenanced on Air
64-07-20
13
The Imposter
Y
Alt. Masquerading As Thom Reed
Title Provenanced on Air
64-07-27
14
Inn Spectre
Y
64-08-03
15
A Room for the Night
Y
64-08-10
16
Like Blood Sisters
Y
64-08-17
17
Death in Your Hands
Y
64-08-24
18
Happier Dead
Y
64-08-31
19
The Murderer Who Died Yesterday
Y
Alt. Yesterday You Died
Title Provenanced on Air
64-09-07
20
Mystery of the M
Y
64-09-14
21
The Girl, the Gold, the Getaway
Y
64-09-21
22
Title Unknown
N
64-09-28
23
The Ever-Loving Doll
Y
64-10-05
24
The Man in the Lift
Y
64-10-12
25
A Day of Truce
Y
Title Provenanced on Air
64-10-19
26
The Cards
Y
64-10-26
27
The Musical Ghost
Y
[Provisional]

64-11-02
28
Three Wishes

Y
64-11-09
29
The Illusionist
Y
[Provisional]
64-11-16
30
Who Stopped the Train ( the Signalman)
Y
64-11-23
31
The Isle of Lost Souls
Y
64-11-30
32
Alive in the Grave
Y
64-12-07
33
Death on the Road
Y
64-12-14
34
Death for Sale
N
64-12-21
35
Anna
Y
64-12-28
36
The Golden Statue
Y
[Provisional]
65-01-05
37
Don't Take My Blood
Y
65-01-11
38
Informer
Y
65-01-18
39
Man in the Morgue
Y
Alt. Not A Ghost of A Chance
Title Provenanced on Air
65-01-25
40
Midnight Express
Y
65-02-01
41
Secret of the Mausoleum
Y
65-02-08
42
The Haunting
Y
65-02-15
43
Victory over Death
Y
65-02-22
44
Where the Dead Sleep
Y
65-03-01
45
White Scarf Strangler
Y





The Creaking Door Programme Log [Unlogged Episodes]

Date Episode Title Avail. Notes
66-04-30 The Musical Ghost
N
66-05-14 The Illusionist
N
66-07-23 The Golden Statue
N






The Creaking Door Programme - Additional Information




State Express Cigarettes

Sponsor
(1964-1965)


British American Tobacco logo
State Express 333 advert
The British American Tobacco Company first acquired the State Express brand from Ardath Tobacco in 1925. British American then marketed the State Express brand as an international tobacco product.

Viewed through the years as a 'premium' blend cigarette, the State Express brand proved to be a highly popular upscale brand throughout the British Empire.

According to British American Tobacco, the State Express 555 cigarette brand is most popular in China, followed by Indonesia and South Africa. There is anecdotal information that the State Express 555 brand was Mao Tse Tung's cigarette of choice, perhaps explaining it's success in the China market.

State Express has actively marketed three major brands over the years: The '333' line, the '555' line, and the '777' line.



The Creaking Door Programme - Biographies




Peter Broomfield
South African Radio and Television Actor
(1925-2002)
Birthplace: South Africa

South Africa Radiography:
Pick a Box
In the Modern Medium
Open House
Tea In Ceylon
The Creaking Door
'Peter B' Live
Masonite At Your Service
Saturday Gold
Total Exposure

Peter Broomfield circa 1950
Peter Broomfield circa 1950

Peter Broomfield circa 1990
Peter Broomfield circa 1990
Peter Broomfield was a versatile, hard-working, highly successful stalwart in South African Radio and Television from 1940 to 1990.

While serving as a 'Quiz Master' for the Union Castle Line he yearned for a career in commercial broadcasting. His determination and good humor drove him to pursue auditions with the English Service in both Cape Town and Johannesburg. As it turned out, he was offered a position with Springbok Radio.

A versatile presenter, actor, and raconteur, his garrulous good humor, intelligence and good nature led him to several long-running radio and television positions.

As the presenter for The Creaking Door, he'll be remembered for his refreshing commercial breaks throughout the 1964-1965 run.



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