The Price of Fear was originally broadcast over the BBC's 1970s World Service
The Price of Fear cast winds down after a recording session (1973)
The Price of Fear was most widely heard and recorded over the BBC's Radio 4 channel
Present day listeners can occasionally listen to or download The Price of Fear from BBC 7's catalog of sixteen episodes of the series.
The Price of Fear will always be associated more with Vincent Price the famous American actor and host of the series, than its British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) production history. BBC's World Service first broadcast the intial order of five The Price of Fear episodes in the Spring of 1973. The initial five episodes aired consecutively, Monday through Friday between July 2, 1973 and July 6, 1973, then again between December 17 and December 21 of the same year. The World Service broadcasts were so popular that the BBC ordered another five, which, combined with the previous five episodes, apparently aired weekly on both Tuesdays and Saturdays, from September 1, 1973 to November 6, 1973.
By 1974, the BBC's Radio 4 had ordered another six installments of the series, now widely referred to as Season 2, which aired weekly from April 6, 1974 through May 11, 1974. Remember that the BBC, a state-owned broadcasting service traditionally prohibited any form of commercial messages or sponsorship. Any series that was extended or expanded was due only to listener support, letters and phone calls to the service. The series' that returned again and again over the BBC had only their listeners to thank for their longevity.
The BBC's Radio 4 ordered another six installments in 1982, for a Season 3, which aired weekly from May 30, 1983 through July 4, 1983, bringing the entire canon to a theoretical twenty-two installments over ten years and three ostensible 'seasons.' We say ostensible, since the intent and actual air dates and order for the 1973 broadcasts are still somewhat ambiguous.
The Price of Fear becomes a popular international favorite
Recorded in every corner of the world when first broadcast over the BBC's World Service, The Price of Fear soon became one of the most widely recorded offerings of its era. As with most BBC productions, the acting talent and production values were excellent throughout. The stories dramatized in the series are from some of the supernatural fiction world's finest authors. William Ingram was responsible for almost half of the stories and scripts, backed up the works of Bram Stoker, Roald Dahl, Robert Arthur, Rene Basilico, Stanley Ellin, and R. Chetwynd-Hayes. John Dyas produced and directed all three series over the ten year period.
Host Vincent Price, already long since recognized throughout the world as the reigning Master of The Macabre, virtually ensured that the series would be heard. True to his legend, Price's imprimatur on the series provided a voice as chilling and familiar to World Service listeners as that of their own Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing. The Price of Fear has been an international favorite ever since it's first airing. It was picked up by several short-wave and FM stations in the U.S. and enjoyed broadcast airing over several American public broadcasting stations from 1973, on. The BBC's proscription against commercial broadcast of its productions left only national or public broadcasting networks and stations capable of airing the compelling program.
The format varied only slightly over it's various run extensions. It should be noted that in all extant recordings, the series is introduced as "The Price . . . of Fear", intentionally underscoring both the connection with Vincent Price himself, as well as the clever Either the newsreader or Vincent Price, himself, would introduce the production, Price would provide a bit of personal exposition regarding the story to follow, and would segue into the script. At the end of the script, Price would wrap up the piece in the same first-person manner and various BBC newsreaders would announce the credits.
Vincent Price personalized every episode with either first-person asides or through the fictional artifice of portraying the story of the evening as having a personal connection to his past. Price, and the producers, recognized the almost universal connection between Price and the macabre dramas that preceded The Price of Fear. While it's clear that the personal connection was contrived for the series, there was just enough of Vincent Price's own multidisciplinary past included in each expository narrative to make each episode all the more personally compelling for the listener. It was a brilliant stroke to interweave Price's own history of dramatic portrayals of the macabre in creating a more personal connection with the audience.
The BBC itself shows only sixteen programs available in its entire corporate catalog. All sixteen of the programs in the BBC World Service catalog are in wide circulation. Of the additional six programs broadcast, only four are in current circulation. The twenty circulating episodes of The Price of Fear were Golden Age of Radio revival at its finest, and the equal of any radio revivals that have aired since.
Anthology of Golden Age Radio Revival Supernatural Dramas
The BBC World Service; BBC Radio 4; BBC 7
Audition Date(s) and Title(s):
Premiere Date(s) and Title(s):
73-09-01 01 Remains To Be Seen
Run Dates(s)/ Time(s):
73-09-01 to 83-07-04; The BBC; Twenty-two, 30-minute programs
The BBC; The AFRTS
Edward Woodward, Annette Crosby, Margaret Courtney, Sheila Grant, Henry Stamper, Shandor Ellis, Mervyn Johns, Michael Gwynne, Clive Swift, Avril Angers, Diana Bishop, Robin Brown, Gerhard Greene, Phyllis Schroeder, Kenneth J. Warren, Frederick Schraeker, John Sampson, Bonnie Harron, Kate Coleridge, Steve Plietus, Michael Deacon, Peter Cushing, Diana Olson, Steve Preston, Elizabeth Morgan, Douglas Blackwell, Alexander John, Peter Barkweth, Cyril Schaps, Joan Cooper, Christopher Bidmeade, Bruce Beebe, Amanda Marley, Bill Kerr, Coral Brown, John Grahame, Roger Snowdon, Michael Burlington, Morris Perry, Maurice Denham, Betty Humphrey-Wright, Peter Williams, Hugh Burton, Frances DeWolff, Vernon Joiner, William Slade, Freda Jackson, Richard Pearson, Claire Sutcliffe, Michael Siegel, Alan Rowe, Freddie Jones, Geoffrey Collins, Anne Jamieson, Michael Jayston, Daphne Heard , Sondra Clarke, Nigel Grahame
Vincent Price as host.
Bram Stoker, Roald Dahl, William Ingram, Sir Charles Birkin, Robert Arthur, A.M. Burrage, Elizabeth Morgan , Rene Basilico, Stanley Ellin, R. Chetwynd-Hayes ,
Jack Ritchie, William Ingram, Barry Campbell, Morris Travers, Elizabeth Morgan
Estimated Scripts or
Episodes in Circulation:
Total Episodes in Collection:
RadioGOLDINdex, Hickerson Guide.
Notes on Provenances:
The most helpful provenances were the log of the radioGOLDINdex and newspaper listings.
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The Price of Fear Program Log
Remains To Be Seen
[BBC World Service run; Season 1]
William and Mary
Originally titled, "The Score" by Bram Stoker
Meeting In Athens
Originally titled, "So Cold, So Pale, So Fair" by Charles Burkin
The Man Who Hated Scenes
[Announced as the last in a series of five, daily programs]
Vincent Price [Vincent Leonard Price, Jr.] (Host) Stage, Screen, Radio, and Television Actor; Gourmet; Artist; Writer; Humanitarian
Birthplace: St. Louis, Missouri, U.S.A.
St. Louis Country Day School
B.A., Yale University
Courtauld Institute, University of London, U.K.
1936 Fleischmann's Yeast Hour
1938 The Royal Desserts Program
1939 Great Plays
1942 Treasury Star Parade
1942 Columbia Workshop
1943 Lady Esther Screen Guild Theatre
1944 Lux Radio Theatre
1945 Cavalcade Of America
1945 Columbia Presents Corwin
1945 Theatre Of Romance
1946 Hollywood Star Time 1946 The World In Music
1947 The Long Night
1947 Favorite Story
1947 Sealtest Village Store
1947 Family Theatre
1947 The Adventures Of the Saint
1947 Hollywood Fights Back
1948 Command Performance
1949 The Lucky Strike Program
1949 Phillip Morris Playhouse
1949 The Thirteenth Juror
1949 The Croupier
1950 Document A/777
1950 Screen Guild Theatre
1950 Stars Over Hollywood
1951 George Fisher Interviews the Stars
1951 Duffy's Tavern
1951 Hollywood Star Playhouse
1951 This Is Your FBI
1952 Best Plays
1953 Bakers' Theatre Of Stars
1953 Guest Star
1955 Army Of Stars
1956 NBC Radio Theatre
1956 CBS Radio Workshop
1957 Recollections At Thirty
1958 Yours Truly, Johnny Dollar
1958 What's My Line?
1958 Says Who?
1959 Easter Sunrise Service
1959 The Salvation Army
1967 Studio One
1968 Wine Of the Country
1970 The Saints and the Sinners
1973 The Price Of Fear
1973 Vincent Price's Hall Of Horrors
1979 Sears Radio Theatre
The New National Guard Show
The Constant Invader
1938 Service de Luxe
1939 The Private Lives Of Elizabeth and Essex
1939 The Tower Of London
1940 The Invisible Man Returns
1940 Green Hell
1940 The House Of the Seven Gables
1940 Brigham Young
1941 Hudson's Bay
1943 The Song Of Bernadette
1944 The Eve Of St Mark
1944 The Keys Of the Kingdom
1945 A Royal Scandal
1945 Leave Her To Heaven
1947 The Web
1947 The Long Night
1947 Moss Rose
1948 Up In Central Park
1948 Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein
1948 Rogues' Regiment
1950 The Three Musketeers
1949 The Bribe
1950 The Baron Of Arizona
1950 Champagne For Caesar
1950 Curtain Call At Cactus Creek
1951 The Adventures Of Captain Fabian
1951 His Kind Of Woman
1652 The Las Vegas Story
1953 House Of Was
1954 Dangerous Mission
1954 Born In Freedom: The Story Of Colonel Drake
1954 Casanova's Big Night
1954 The Mad Magician
1955 Son Of Sinbad
1956 While The City Sleeps
1556 The Vagabond King
1956 The Ten Commandments
1957 The Story Of Mankind
1958 The Fly
1959 House On Haunted Hill
1959 The Big Circus
1959 The Tingler
1959 Return Of the Fly
1959 The Bat
1960 The House Of Usher
1961 Master Of the World
1961 The Pit and the Pendulum
1961 Nefertiti, Regina del Nilo
1961 Gordon, il pirata nero
1962 Confessions Of An Opium Eater
1962 Tales Of Terror
1962 Convicts 4
1962 Tower Of London
1963 The Raven
1963 Diary Of A Madman
1963 Beach Party
1963 The Haunted Palace
1963 Twice Told Tales
1963 The Comedy Of Terrors
1964 The Last Man On Earth
1964 The Masque Of the Red Death
1964 The Tomb Of Ligeia
1965 The City Under the Sea
1965 Dr Goldfoot and the Bikini Machine
1966 Dr Goldfoot and the Girl Bombs
1967 The Jackals
1968 Spirits Of the Dead
1968 The Conquerer Worm
1968 More Dead Than Alive
1969 The Oblong Box
1969 The Trouble With Girls
1970 Scream and Scream Again
1970 Cry Of the Banshee
1971 The Abominable Dr Phibes
1972 An Evening Of Edgar Allan Poe
1972 The Aries Computer
1972 Dr Phibes Rises Again
1973 Theater Of Blood
1974 Percy's Progress
1975 Journey Into Fear
1976 The Butterfly Ball
1979 Scavenger Hunt
1980 The Sorcerer's Apprentice
1980 The Monster Club
1983 House Of Long Shadows
1984 Bloodbath At the House Of Death
1986 The Great Mouse Detective
1987 The Offspring
1987 The Whales Of August
1988 Dead Heat
1990 Edward Scissorhands
1993 The Princess and the Cobbler
1951-57 Fireside Theater
1952 Lights Out
1952 Chesterfield Presents
1952 Pulitzer Prize Playhouse
1952 Gruen Guild Playhouse
1952 Robert Montgomery Presents
1953 Summer Theatre
1953 Philip Morris Playhouse
1953 The Jack Benny Program
1955 Eddie Cantor Comedy Theater
1955 TV Reader's Digest
1951-56 Lux Video Theatre
1956 The Alcoa Hour
1956 Science Fiction Theatre
1957 Shower Of Stars
1957 Alfred Hitchcock Presents
1956-57 Playhouse 90
1958 Half Hour To Kill
1956-58 General Electric Theater
1952-58 Schlitz Playhouse Of Stars
1956-58 Matinee Theatre
1958 Have Gun--Will Travel
1960 Adventures In Paradise
1960 The Chevy Mystery Show
1960 United States Steel Hour
1961 The Best Of the Post
1965 The Man From U.N.C.L.E.
1967 "F" Troop
1967 Voyage To the Bottom Of the Sea
1969 Daniel Boone
1969 BBC Play Of the Month
1969 The Good Guys
1969 Get Smart
1970 Love, American Style
1970 The Mod Squad
1956-71 The Red Skelton Show
1971-72 Night Gallery
1972 The Brady Bunch
1974 The Snoop Sisters
1976 Ellery Queen
1976 The Bionic Woman
1977 The Brady Bunch Hour
1978 The Love Boat
1979 CBS Library
1979 Time Express
1982 Trapper John, M.D.
1984 Faerie Tale Theatre
1985 The 13 Ghosts Of Scooby-Doo
1991 Tiny Toon Adventures
Vincent Price circa 1945
Dr. Price's innovative Cream Baking Powder circa 1883
The Price family fortune was initially based on Dr. Price's Cream Baking Powder, an innovative baking powder formula containing cream of tartar. The popularity of the brand compelled Dr. Price to post this notice in the Alton Telegraph of November 15 1872
Vincent Price as Joseph Smith in 1940's Brigham Young
Vincent Price as the Witchfinder in The Conqueror Worm (1968)
Vincent Price as Shelby Carpenter in Laura (1944) with Dana Andrews
Vincent Price at CBS mike for The Saint circa 1948
Vincent Price as soap magnate Burnbridge Waters in Champagne for Caesar (1950), here seen with Caesar the parrot
Vincent Price in the horror classic, The House On Haunted Hill (1959)
Vincent Price as Robur in Master of The World (1961)
Vincent Price the gourmet chef in his own Cooking show
Vincent Price voiced the Vincent Van Ghoul character in The 13 Ghosts of Scooby-Doo (1985)
Vincent Price voiced Professor Ratigan in The Great Mouse Detective (1986)
Vincent Price reads 'A Christmas Carol' from 1949
"A man who limits his interests limits his life." -- Vincent Price
A fitting epitaph for one of America's truly great Renaissance Men. Vincent Price, or 'Bink' as his closest friends often addressed him, was born in St. Louis, Missouri in 1911, the son of Vincent Price, Sr., president of the National Candy Company, and the former Marguerite Cobb. Price's grandfather was Vincent Clarence Price, the inventor of the first cream of tartar-based baking powder--Dr. Price's Cream Baking Powder--and president of Steele and Price Manaufacturing.
Having broadened his education at Yale and London's Courtauld Institute, Vincent Price's interest turned to the Stage. Price made his Stage debut in 1935's Victoria Regina, as Prince Albert. The tall (6' 4"), handsome actor soon found work in Film, making his debut in 1938's Service Deluxe for Universal.
Price's debut over Radio was in Rudy Vallee'sFleishmann's Yeast Hour in 1936, the first of over 1,000 appearances over Radio. Price's Radio career spanned forty-three years of appearances in virtually every Radio genre of the era. Price's straight dramatic roles were the most eagerly anticipated and received, but Vincent Price's versatility over Radio found him appearing as a guest star and personality in many of the popular drama and variety programs of The Golden Age of Radio. Price starred as Simon Templar in the Frederick Ziv-synidated interpretation of The Saint, from 1947 through 1951.
Several of Vincent Price's appearances in Escape (1950) and Suspense (1943) represent some of most widely prized recordings from either canon. Price's appearance in Three Skeleton Key is often cited as one of the most thrilling recordings from The Golden Age.
Price was also featured in several Gov't sponsored and public service programs during World War II and later, including The World In Music (1946), The Constant Invader for the National Tuberculosis Association, Command Performance (1948), Treasury Star Parade, Guest Star (1955), The New National Guard Show, and Crusade for Freedom. Indeed as late as the 1970s, Price enjoyed lead and hosting roles over Radio in The Saints and The Sinners (1970), the BBC's The Price of Fear (1973) and Vincent Price's Hall of Horrors (1973). Price also shared hosting duties in 1979's Mutual Radio Theatre, one of the last successful attempts to revive Drama over Radio.
Vincent Price's understandable fame and entre into other media arose from Price's extraordinary Film career, during which he portrayed every character from Joseph Smith, founder of the Mormon religion, to a regional medieval witchfinder--and every imaginable characterization in between. And though his over 140 films comprised only forty or less of the supernatural and horror variety, those are the films for which the great actor is most remembered by his millions of fans.
His background of having come from great wealth, then losing that great family wealth wasn't lost on him as he pursued his own film career. Price's attitude in accepting roles was based almost entirely on acquiring a paycheck. And he made no bones about it. Having invested a great deal of those paychecks in some of the finest art in world history, Price's own take on 'turning lemons into lemonade' clearly served both a higher purpose as well as a constant reminder of fortunes made and lost from his family's own past.
By the time that Vincent Price began pursuing Television roles, his reputation for both his abilities as an actor and his well-earned reputation as a humanitarian and Renaissance Man found him appearing as often in dramatic roles as he appeared as himself, in either parodies of his macabre portrayals on the big screen, or as the fascinating, urbane and widely read and experienced personality he'd become in his own right. His Television career spanned another 4oo performances over forty-five years.
As Vincent Price's own career and fame progressed, it became obvious that Price's acting appearances were simply a means to an end. Though he took every endeavor he associated himself with very seriously, the overarching passions in his life remained The Arts in general, his love of gourmet cooking, and his family and friends.
While characterized, rather starkly, as a social climber in the words of his daughter, it's clear that the social networking Price engaged in invariably benefited both parties. Price, though bedeviled by some of his own insecurities--as is everyone to one degree or another--always seemed to find a silver lining in everything he pursued. And his inherent talent for turning lemons into lemonade continued to preserve his optimism, ebullience, and joie de vivre throughout his long and storied life.
His quickness with a quip found him a regular guest on Television's Hollywood Squares, as well as endearing him to fans and peers alike throughout his entire career. As he became an elder-statesman of sorts in The Arts, his quickness of wit, charm, and hard-fought--and won--mastery of a multitude of artistic disciplines ultimately found him an international expert in food preparation, wine, fine art, and sculpture. Indeed, after years of what his daughter referred to as social climbing, Vincent Price ultimately achieved a position of preeminence as the one whom many sought to climb up to in his own right. Indeed, in Price's case, longevity was its own reward.
And yet, to the very end of his life, he remained remarkably accessible to fans and peers alike, irrespective of their fame, fortune or background--a testament to his own long history of both denouncing inequality and walking that walk by example.
Vincent Price clearly understood that his public persona had become larger than Life from the 1950s, forward. Indeed, in public and private interviews, Price continually downplayed his own amazing success. This, from all appearances and written accounts, wasn't posturing in any way. Price, perhaps owing to his own multidisciplinary background, seemed to grow not only more tolerant of others throughout his life, but at the same time acquired a more charitable view of his own shortcomings.
Price was first married to the former Edith Barrett, an actress, from 1938 to 1948, a union that produced a son, Vincent Barrett Price, in 1940. Divorced for a year, Price met and married designer Mary Grant in 1949, a union that produced his daughter, Victoria, in 1962. Divorced again in 1973, in 1974 Price married former Australian-born actress, Coral Browne, a union that lasted until her death in 1991.
Widely characterized as the love of his life, Price converted to Catholicism as a condition of marrying Ms. Browne, and Ms. Browne applied for American citizenship as a condition of marrying Mr. Price. Their relationship for the remainder of their lives together was widely reported as a life-long love affair. Upon Coral Browne's death in 1991, she was eulogized and buried at Beverly Hills' St. Victor's Catholic Church, to a full orchestral rendition of Mozart's Requiem Mass. Upon Vincent Price's own death in 1993, he was cremated and reportedly had his ashes, with that of his favorite gardening hat, scattered over the coast near Malibu.
From the October 26, 1993 edition of the Post-Standard (Syracuse NY):
Vincent Price, Hollywood's Perfect Villain, Dead at 82
His reputation as a scare merchant was established in the 1953 thriller, "House of Wax."
LOS ANGELES (AP) Vincent Price, the stage-trained actor whose gaunt face and creepy voice made him the perfect villain in such thrillers as "House of Wax," "The Pit and the Pendulum" and "The Raven," died Monday at age 82.
Price died of lung cancer, his personal assistant, Reg Williams, said from the actor's home.
A versatile actor who once played Prince Albert to Helen Hayes' "Victoria Regina," Price became known in his later years as the prince of menace. He was amused by his reputation and exploited it by contributing a ghostly voice on Michael Jackson's hit record, "Thriller." He also served as the host of the PBS series "Mystery."
From the beginning of his film career in 1938, Price performed in a wide variety of films, from the sublime ("Laura," "The Ten Commandments") to the ridiculous ("Dr. Goldfoot and the Bikini Machine " "Dr. Phibes Rises Again").
His philosophy: "It's awfully easy to get out of the business. It's not easy to stay in. I never thought that the great parts were the only ones you should do. That's a great mistake, because there are so many interesting things available."
Price's interests ranged beyond movies. He wrote several art books, including "I Like What I Know" and "The Michelangelo Bible."
He was born in St. Louis on May 27, 1911, the son of a candy manufacturer. His upbringing reflected his father's wealth: tours of Europe and education at Yale University, where he graduated in art history and English.
Aiming for a career as an art teacher, Price enrolled for a master's degree at the University of London. Accepting a dare from a friend, he auditioned for a role in a play, "Chicago" starring John Gielgud, and won it.
There's little question as to Vincent Price's contributions to The Arts, both nationally and internationally. Price's life remains a testament to one of his most often cited quotes: "A man who limits his interests limits his life."
Vincent Price introduces his signature art collection for Sears (1960s)
Vincent Price clearly never limited his interests, as his multidisciplinary history of achievements and contributions fully demonstrates. His only reported regret was growing older--a characteristically humble regret, in the greater scheme of things, given his continued record of accomplishments and contributions into his 80s.
A man of great and noble passions, Vincent Price set a very high bar for those that might hope to emulate his accomplishments. His career in The Arts spanned his entire adult life. He rarely forgot the vagaries of life's fortunes, and remained a loyal friend, gentleman and unflagging and generous supporter of a myriad social and Arts-related causes. He invested both his wealth and his considerable passion into every cause he supported.
Renaissance Man is an often abused sobriquet. In Price's case, it's entirely appropriate. Vincent Price's life stands as proof positive that the only limit to one's life achievements is mortality itself. If he hadn't felt he'd achieved all he could achieve by the time of his passing, it wasn't for lack of demonstrating his willingness to beat Father Time to the finish line.