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In one recent post to my blog, a listener remarks that some of the music in our radio versions is music he remembers hearing on “The CBS Radio Mystery Theatre.” The mere mention of that series brings a smile to my face. I, like so many of our TZ fans, grew up listening to “The CBS Radio Mystery Theatre” produced by the one, the only, Himan Brown. I remember staying up late each weeknight to listen to this awesome radio drama series on my local CBS affiliate WBBM in Chicago. From the very first announcer’s words: “The CBS Radio Mystery Theatre Presents …” I was glued to the radio. Then came the sound effects of a doorknob being turned and the ominous creaking, squeaking door opening ever so slowly (the same door was used on Himan Brown’s earlier radio series “Inner Sanctum Mysteries”). Himan was a master at keeping listeners riveted!
For years I tuned in as many nights as I could stay awake; the series came on at 10:30 pm and ran till Midnight, so often times I fell asleep before the climax. I remember this series with very fond memories. As a pre-teen I wrote Mr. Brown a fan letter and to my delight he wrote me back a long handwritten response! Can you imagine my thrill when I received a return letter from HIMAN BROWN?! I remember that my letter asked him if I could act in his series and if I could help him produce the series. Mr. Brown was so sweet in explaining to me the ins and outs of the series – to this day he is one of my inspirations for becoming a radio drama producer. Years later I had the great pleasure of having lunch with him in New York. I was like a kid in a candy store :o) I learned so much from him from just that one lunch. I’ve kept in touch with him over the years. He’s 98 and still producing and going strong!
As far as the music you hear in TZ, yes, some of it is the same music heard in “The CBS Radio Mystery Theatre.” The reason for this is in the 1950s CBS produced a stock music library that they made available to many of their radio and TV productions. In fact much of the music that you hear in the original Twilight Zone TV program utilized much of this stock music. Years later when Himan Brown produced “The CBS Radio Mystery Theatre” he also used some of this music library. Now, years later I too am using some of this stock music for my TZ radio dramas. Factoid: If you’re an old-time radio fan you may notice that in the later “Yours Truly, Johnny Dollar” radio series, they also used this stock music.
Well, I should soon be getting rough mixes of the TZ radio drama “Number 12 Looks Just Like You” starring Bonnie Somerville and Charles Shaughnessy from the geniuses at Cerny American Creative. I can’t wait to hear what they’ve done with it. It’s one of my favorites from the series about a future society where 19-year olds undergo a kind of plastic surgery called a “transformation” which makes them beautifully identical to millions of others. One free-thinking girl resists having the procedure even though her family and friends are pushing her hard to have it. Next week I’ll be able to talk about this show.
Until then, I’ll see you next time IN THE ZONE!