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Original Sealed Book header art

The Sealed Book Radio Program

Dee-Scription: Home >> D D Too Home >> Radio Logs >> The Sealed Book

The Sealed Book MP3 Cover Art
The Sealed Book MP3 Cover Art

Background

As with The Mysterious Traveler that preceded it, The Sealed Book was an anthology of supernatural drama, produced and directed by Jock MacGregor for the Mutual network, and written by the extraordinary team of Robert Arthur and David Kogan. Indeed this same entire team of network, director, and writers were responsible for the entire run of The Mysterious Traveler. Going even further, The Sealed Book reprised 26 of the Arthur/Kogan scripts written for The Mysterious Traveler. And in yet another similarity, Philip Clarke performed as an actor in five of the original Mysterious Traveler episodes.

Where the series' differed was in the 'hook' or novelty intro to each week's new episode. With the Mysterious Traveler, the atmospheric element was the mournful whistle of the train, and Maurice Tarplin's equally exaggerated exposition at the beginning of each episode. With The Sealed Book, each epsisode opened with the sound of the great gong, followed by Philip Clarke's observation that the Keeper of The Book had once again opened the door to the secret vault, within which was contained the 'great sealed book' recording 'all the secrets and mysteries of mankind through the ages.'

At the end of all but the last episode, Clarke would tell listeners to tune in the following week when "the sound of the great gong heralds another strange and exciting tale from... the sealed book."

Keep in mind that even though the 26 scripts of The Sealed Book were derived from The Mysterious Traveler, it's instructive to note that each production used a different cast than that of it's associated production from The Mysterious Traveler. And indeed, some of the production values were a cut above in The Sealed Book, as contrasted with their similar productions from The Mysterious Traveler.

The Sealed Book was very much its own production, despite the extraordinary similarities between the scripts, writers, and director. But it doesn't diminish yet another well-mounted supernatural drama series that has, over the years, found its own loyal following separate and apart from that of The Mysterious Traveler.

Series Derivatives:

The Mysterious Traveler (1943); The Teller of Tales (1950); Adventure Into Fear
Genre: Anthology of Golden Age Radio Supernatural Dramas
Network(s): The Mutual Broadcasting System
Audition Date(s) and Title(s): None
Premiere Date(s) and Title(s): 45-03-18 01 The Hand of Death
Run Dates(s)/ Time(s): 45-03-18 - 45-09-09; MBS; Twenty-six, 30-minute programs; Sundays, at 10:00pm
Syndication: Charles Michelson Syndication
Sponsors: Sustaining
Director(s): Jock MacGregor
Principal Actors: Varied from Episode to Episode
Recurring Character(s): The Keeper of The Book, and "Hester," "Drake," and "Roger." [Although "Hester," "Drake," and "Roger" didn't appear as the same character. This appears to have been an insider reference by the authors. ]
Protagonist(s): Varied from Episode to Episode
Author(s): Robert Arthur, Jr. and David Kogan
Writer(s) Robert Arthur, Jr. and David Kogan
Music Direction: Unattributed
Musical Theme(s): Unknown eerie gong and organ music
Announcer(s): Phillip Clarke
Estimated Scripts or
Broadcasts:
26
Episodes in Circulation: 26
Total Episodes in Collection: 26
Provenances:
RadioGOLDINdex, Hickerson Guide, New York Times, and Elizabeth Arthur (daughter of Robert Arthur, Jr.).

Digital Deli Too RadioLogIc

OTRisms:

1. Contrary to references from virtually all other sources, Death Laughs Last was not the last episode of the run. Philip Clarke's consultation with the Keeper of The Book at the end of Death Laughs Last clearly states that the following episode will be You Only Die Once.

2. You Only Die Once is one of two The Sealed Book epsiodes that contains a generic next episode reveal. This leaves the impression that further episodes were contemplated, but ultimately abandoned. There was certainly an abundance of further scripts. Arthur and Kogan teamed to create over 400 radio scripts together for The Mysterious Traveler alone.

3. In fact, what appears to be the case, is that the syndicator, Charles Michelson, recorded the transcriptions for The Sealed Book in two sets of thirteen transcriptions. The thirteenth of each set of transcriptions contained a 'generic' tease for the episode to follow. Thus, the two sets could be broadcast in either order--set one or set two, first--and still maintain 'continuity.'

4. In the log that follows, we've elected to employ the only provable run of The Sealed Book that contained announced titles, the W-G-N run as announced in the Wisconsin State Journal in Madison, WI.

5. We stipulate that the first broadcast airing over the Mutual Broadcasting System may well have begun on March 18, 1945, over WOR, Mutual's flagship station. But that run is neither sustainable through newspaper provenances or by any other means presently available. If someone--anyone--can demonstrate otherwise, we stand prepared to change our own findings. We remain skeptical, however, that such a proof exists. As we've discovered in over 300 of these logs, the commercial otr community--and the otr book hawkers that prop them up--have no proof whatsoever to back up most of the rubbish they cite.


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 hobbled downloads. 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.

We ask one thing and one thing only--if you employ what we publish, attribute it, before we cite you on it.

We continue to provide honest research into these wonderful Golden Age Radio programs simply because we love to do it. If you feel that we've provided you with useful information or saved you some valuable time regarding this log--and you'd like to help us even further--you can help us keep going. Please consider a small donation here:

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 Sealed Book Series Log

Date Episode Title Avail. Notes
45-03-18
1
The Hand of Death
Welcome Home
Y
[ Premiere Episode ]
The Mysterious Traveler script from Episode 1, 'The Hands That Killed'

Keeper of The Book announces "
The King of The World" as next

45-05-20 Chicago Tribune
2:30--W-G-N--Radio Players' Theater.

45-05-20 Chicago Tribune
3:30--W-G-N--Name of That Song (M).

45-05-20 Wisconsin State Journal
2:30 Radio Players Theater--WGN.

45-05-20 Wisconsin State Journal
3:30 What's That Song--WGN WIBU

45-05-20 New York Times
10:30 WOR--The Sealed Book--Play
45-05-27
2
The King of the World
I'll Die Laughing
Y
The Mysterious Traveler script from Episode 3, 'King of the World'

45-05-27 Wisconsin State Journal
2:30 p.m.--The Sealed Book (WGN): "
The King of the World," mystery tale.

45-05-27 Chicago Tribune
2:30--W-G-N--The Sealed Book. Mystery: "
The King of the World."

Keeper of The Book announces "
Death Spins A Web" as next
45-06-03
3
Death Spins a Web
Design for Death
Y
The Mysterious Traveler script from Episode 28, 'Death Spins a Web'

45-06-03 Wisconsin State Journal
2:30 p.m.--The Sealed Book (WGN): "
Death Spins a Web."

Keeper of The Book announces "
Devil Island" as next

45-06-10
4
Devil Island
The Ghost Maker
Y
The Mysterious Traveler script from Episode 4, 'Devil Island'

45-06-10 Wisconsin State Journal
2:30 p.m.--The Sealed Book (WGN): "
Devil Island."

Keeper of The Book announces "
Escape By Death" as next
45-06-17
5
Escape by Death
Broadway, Here I Come
Y
The Mysterious Traveler script from Episode 21, 'Escape By Death'

Keeper of The Book announces "
Death At Storm House" as next
45-06-24
6
Death at Storm House
Queen of the Cats
Y
The Mysterious Traveler script from Episode 2, 'Death At Storm House'

Keeper of The Book announces "
The Accusing Corpse" as next
45-07-01
7
The Accusing Corpse
Death Rings Down the Curtain
Y
The Mysterious Traveler script from Episode 20, 'The Accusing Corpse'

45-07-15 Wisconsin State Journal
2:30 p. m. — The Sealed Book
(WGN):
"The Accusing Corpse."

Keeper of The Book announces "
Stranger In The House" as next
45-07-08
8
Stranger in the House
Till Death Do Us Part
Y
The Mysterious Traveler script from Episode 17, 'Stranger In The House'

Keeper of The Book announces "
Out of The Past" as next
45-07-15
9
Out of the Past
The Man with the Stolen Face
Y
The Mysterious Traveler script from Episode 18, 'Out of The Past'

45-07-15 Wisconsin State Journal
2:30 p. m. — The Sealed Book
(WGN):
"Out of the Past."

Keeper of The Book announces "
Welcome Home" as next
45-07-22
10
Welcome Home
My Beloved Must Die
Y
The Mysterious Traveler script from Episode 16, 'Welcome Home'

45-07-22 Wisconsin State Journal
2:30 p. m. — The Sealed Book
(WGN):
"
Welcome Home," tale of man who returns to his birthplace and is treated as a ghost.

Keeper of The Book announces "
I'll Die Laughing" as next
45-07-29
11
I'll Die Laughing
Beware of Tomorrow
Y
The Mysterious Traveler script from Episode 23, 'I'll Die Laughing'

Keeper of The Book announces "
Design for Death" as next
45-08-05
12
Design for Death
Murder Must Be Paid For
Y
The Mysterious Traveler script from Episode 14, 'Design For Death'

Keeper of The Book announces "The Ghost Makers" as next
45-08-12
13
The Ghost Makers
To Have and to Hold
Y
The Mysterious Traveler script from Episode 24, 'Ghost Makers'

45-08-12 Wisconsin State Journal
2:30 p. m. — The Sealed Book
(WGN):
"The Ghost Makers," a strange story of two scoundrels.

Keeper of The Book announces "
a tale of murder; queer, unexpected, fiendish murder, muder of a very unusual kind " as next
45-08-19
14
Broadway Here I Come
Murderer Unknown
Y
The Mysterious Traveler script from Episode 32, 'Broadway, Here I Come'

Keeper of The Book announces "The Queen of The Cats" as next
45-08-26
15
The Queen of The Cats
Time on My Hands
Y
The Mysterious Traveler script from Episode 31, 'Queen of The Cats'

45-08-26 Wisconsin State Journal
2:30 p. m. — The Sealed Book
(WGN): "
Queen of the Cats."

Keeper of The Book announces "
Death Rings Down the Curtain" as next
45-09-02
16
Death Rings Down the Curtain
Death Laughs Last
Y
The Mysterious Traveler script from Episode 33, 'Death Rings Down The Curtain'

Keeper of The Book announces "
Till Death Do Us Part" as next
45-09-09
17
Till Death Do Us Part
You Only Die Once
Y
The Mysterious Traveler script from Episode 35, 'Till Death Do Us Part'

45-09-09 Wisconsin State Journal
2:30 p.m.--The Sealed Book (WGN): "
Till Death Do Us Part."

45-09-09 Chicago Daily Tribune
2:30--W-G-N--The Sealed Book.

Keeper of The Book announces "
The Man with the Stolen Face" as next
45-09-16
18
The Man with the Stolen Face
Y
The Mysterious Traveler script from Episode 29, 'The Man with The Stolen Face'

45-09-16 Wisconsin State Journal
2:30 p.m.--The Sealed Book (WGN): "
The Man With the Stolen Face."

Keeper of The Book announces "
My Beloved Must Die" as next
45-09-23
19
My Beloved Must Die
Y
The Mysterious Traveler script from Episode 36, 'My Beloved Must Die'

45-09-23 Wisconsin State Journal
2:30 p.m.--The Sealed Book (WGN): "
My Beloved Must Die."

Keeper of The Book announces "
Beware of Tomorrow" as next
45-09-30
20
Beware of Tomorrow

Y
The Mysterious Traveler script from Episode 19, 'Beware of Tomorrow'

45-09-30 Wisconsin State Journal
2:30 p.m.--The Sealed Book (WGN): "
Beware of Tomorrow."

Keeper of The Book announces "
Murder Must Be Paid For" as next
45-10-07
21
Murder Must Be Paid For
Y
The Mysterious Traveler script from Episode 27, 'Murder Must Be Paid For'

45-10-07 Chicago Daily Tribune
3:30--W-G-N--Sealed Book.

Keeper of The Book announces "
To Have and To Hold" as next
45-10-14
22
To Have and to Hold
Y
The Mysterious Traveler script from Episode 11, 'To Have and To Hold'

45-10-14 Chicago Daily Tribune
3:30--W-G-N--Sealed Book.

Keeper of The Book announces "
Murderer Unknown" as next
45-10-21
--
Title Indeterminate
N
45-10-21 Wisconsin State Journal
2:30 p. m. —
The Sealed Book (WGN)

45-10-21 Chicago Tribune
3:30--W-G-N--
Sealed Book.
45-10-28
23
Murderer Unknown
Y
The Mysterious Traveler script from Episode 8, 'Murderer Unknown'

45-10-28 Wisconsin State Journal
2:30 p. m. — The Sealed Book
(WGN): "
Murderer Unknown"

45-10-28 Chicago Tribune
2:30--W-G-N--
The Sealed Book.

Keeper of The Book announces "
Time On My Hands" as next
45-11-04
24
Time on My Hands
Y
The Mysterious Traveler script from Episode 38, 'Time On My Hands'

45-11-04 Wisconsin State Journal
2:30 p. m. — The Sealed Book
(WGN): "
Time on My Hands."

Keeper of The Book announces "
Death Laughs Last" as next
45-11-11
25
Death Laughs Last
Y
The Mysterious Traveler script from Episode 42, 'Death Laughs Last'

45-11-11 Wisconsin State Journal
2:30 p. m. — The Sealed Book
(WGN): "
Death Laughs Last."

Keeper of The Book announces "
You Only Die Once" as next
45-11-18
26
You Only Die Once
Y
[ Last Episode ]
The Mysterious Traveler script from Episode 52,
'You Only Die Once'

45-11-18 Wisconsin State Journal
2:30 p. m. — The Sealed Book
(WGN): "
You Only Die Once."

Keeper of The Book announces "
a weird and magic tale of a strange life and an even stranger death, and of a murder, terrible beyond all belief " as next





The Sealed Book Program [1950 Rebroadcasts] Log

Date Episode Title Avail. Notes
50-12-17
1
Ghostmakers
N
50-12-24
2
Broadway, Here I Come
N
50-12-31
3
The Hands of Death
N






The Sealed Book Biographies




Robert Jay Arthur, Jr.
(Author)
Author, Adapter, Director, Producer, Magazine Editor, Screenwriter, Activist

(1909-1969)

Birthplace: Fort Mills, Corregidor Island, The Philippines

Education:
William and Mary College
B.A., English
M.A. in Journalism,
The University of Michigan
Columbia University

Radiography:
1942
Dark Destiny
1943
The Mysterious Traveler
1945
Adventure into Fear
1945
The Sealed Book
1949
Murder By Experts
1950
The Teller of Tales
1952
Mystery Time

Awards:

1950
'Edgar' for Best Radio Drama for Murder by Experts
1953
'Edgar' for Best Radio Mystery Drama for The Mysterious Traveler.


Robert Arthur, Jr. at 'work' at his typewriter, c. 1940
Robert Arthur, Jr. at 'work' at his typewriter, c. 1940

Early Photo of Robert Arthur, Jr. at Ann Arbor, Michigan, ca. 1929
Early Photo of Robert Arthur, Jr. at Ann Arbor, Michigan, ca. 1929

Robert Arthur, Jr. at 'play' at his radio, c. 1942
Robert Arthur, Jr. at 'play' at his radio, c. 1942

The Mysterious Traveler Magazine, from November 1951
The Mysterious Traveler Magazine, from November 1951


The Writers Guild of America--East, sucessor to the Radio Writers Guild of 1942.

Robert Jay Arthur, Jr. was born November 10, 1909, on Corregidor Island, The Philippines. His father, Lieutenant Robert Arthur, Sr. was stationed in the United States Army Expeditionary Forces with his wife, Sarah Fee Abbey. As an Army brat, Robert, Jr. spent much of his childhood moving from Army base to Army base. He was educated in the public schools of Massachusetts, Michigan, Kansas, and Virginia.

The Valedictorian for his high school graduating class, Arthur had won appointments to both Annapolis and West Point, but declined the appointments, enrolling instead at William and Mary College in 1926. Two years later, he transferred to the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, and graduated from the University of Michigan with a B.A. in English.

After a brief stint as editor of one of the Munsey Publications, he returned to the University of Michigan, receiving an M.A. in Journalism in 1932. During 1938 he met and married Susan Smith Cleaveland, a Radio soap opera actress, but by 1940 the couple divorced. He moved Greenwich Village and began writing for pulp magazines. By 1940, he'd published stories in:

  • Wonder Stories
  • Detective Fiction Weekly
  • Mystery
  • Illustrated Detective Magazine
  • Street & Smith's Detective Story Magazine
  • Amazing Stories
  • The Shadow
  • Street & Smith Mystery Reader
  • Detective Tales
  • Thrilling Detective
  • Double Detective
  • Startling Stories
  • Collier's
  • The Phantom Detective
  • Argosy Weekly
  • Black Mask

In addition, Arthur worked as a writer and editor for pulp western, fact detective, and screen magazines for Dell Publishing, becoming associate editor of Photo-Story, a ground-breaking picture magazine published by Fawcett Publications. He then conceived and edited Pocket Detective Magazine for Street & Smith, the first pocket-sized, all-fiction magazine, which published several of his stories. .

The Mysterious Traveler also aired as Adventure Into Fear and 26 of its scripts aired as The Sealed Book. From 1948 to 1951 Arthur and Kogan produced Dark Destiny, an early, well-received, television thriller series.

In 1940 he met the woman who would become his second wife, Joan Vaczek, in a class on The Short Story while attending Columbia University. Joan Vaczek was the daughter of a Hungarian diplomat and a budding science-fiction writer in her own right. During the same year that he met his future writing partner, David Kogan, with whom he eventually wrote and produced his first radio show, Dark Destiny (1942). Soon after that the team wrote and produced The Mysterious Traveler (1943), which aired over the Mutual Broadcasting System and eventually won the Edgar Allan Poe Award for Best Mystery Radio Show of the Year for 1952 by The Mystery Writers of America. He'd also won the 'Edgar' for Best Radio Drama for 1950 for Murder By Experts.

Robert Arthur and Joan Vaczek eventually married in December 1946, moved to Connecticut and then New York, where they had two children, Robert Andrew Arthur and Elizabeth Ann Arthur.

1953 brought the end of his relationship with The Mutual Broadcasting System. He and his partner, David Kogan were both active members of The Radio Writers' Guild. The House Commitee on Un-American Activities (HUAC) had 'determined' that The Radio Writers' Guild was a 'Communist front group'.

History has shown that this was simply another of the numerous, shameful union-busting attempts by the HUAC. Their basic aim was to link a growing collective bargaining movement with Communism, so as to benefit the Radio, Television and Film industries by keeping their employees from forming collective-bargaining units--or unions. The Supreme Court of the United States, in 1937, had ruled the 1935 National Labor Relations Act to be constitutional, but when ultra-conservatives came to power during the Cold War years, they determined to find other ways to undermine the collective bargaining provisions of the Act.

The HUAC's naked fear-mongering tactics succeeded for several of the most shameful years in American history. The Committee's sham hearings were eventually brought down by the very industries they were attempting to benefit--Radio and Television.

To its shame, The Mutual Broadcasting System and its radio station WOR, caving under pressure from their affiliates and corporate sponsors, abruptly canceled The Mysterious Traveler and Robert Arthur's career as a Radio Writer effectively ended. The Mysterious Traveler had consistently been rated among the top sixteen most popular Radio programs of the era. Robert Arthur, Jr. had written and produced over five hundred radio scripts for his two shows as well as for Dark Destiny, The Sealed Book, The Shadow, and Nick Carter, Master Detective.

After 1952, Arthur worked as a co-producer for ABC's radio show Mystery Time as well as continuing to write and publish pulp fiction. In 1959, he moved to Hollywood where he worked in television, writing scripts for The Twilight Zone. He also worked as a story editor and script writer for Alfred Hitchcock's long-running Alfred Hitchcock Presents for television. Robert Arthur, Jr. is also credited with writing most of Hitchcock's droll prologues for the Alfred Hitchcock Presents programs.

He moved back to New Jersey in 1962, where he lived with his father's aunt, Margaret Fisher Arthur, until his death in 1969 at the age of 59.

Among pulp fiction fans and Golden Age Radio fans alike, Robert Arthur's stories and scripts remain some of the most rivetting, compelling fiction from the Golden Age. He and his partner, David Kogan, continue to acquire new fans with every passing generation through the enduring magic of Golden Age Radio.




David P. Kogan
(Author)

Author, Adapter, Director, Producer, Magazine Publisher
Radio, Television, Film and Stage Actor
(1905-1964)
Birthplace: New York City

Awards:

1950
'Edgar' for Best Radio Drama for Murder by Experts
1953
'Edgar' for Best Radio Mystery Drama for The Mysterious Traveler.

Radiography:
1943
The Mysterious Traveler
1945
Adventure into Fear
1945
The Sealed Book
1950
Suspense
1950
The Teller of Tales

David P. Kogan, c. 1960
David P. Kogan, c. 1960


With his writing partner of twenty years, Robert Arthur, David Kogan wrote and produced some of the finest fiction drama of the Golden Age of Radio.



Phillip Clarke
(Host, Narrator)

Stage, Radio, Television and Film Actor
(1904-?)
Birthplace: London, England, U.K.

Radiography:
1943
Words At War
1944
The Mysterious Traveler
1945
Matinee Theatre
1945
The Sealed Book
1947
Did Justice Triumph?
1948
CBS Is There
1948
Sherlock Holmes
1949
Nick Carter, Master Detective
1951
Mr. Keen, Tracer of Lost Persons
1963
Conversation
1966
The World in Depth


Phillip Clarke, c. 1956
Phillip Clarke, c. 1956


London born Phillip Clarke found a home in The Golden Age era of American Radio. A staff narrator and host for The Mutual Broadcasting System, he appeared as both actor and host/narrator in many of the MBS/WOR productions of the 1940s and 1950s.




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