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CBS Radio Mystery Theatre - JPop.com
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CBS Radio Mystery Theatre

CBS Radio Mystery Theatre

CBS Radio Mystery Theatre


The CBS Radio Mystery Theater (or CBSRMT) was an ambitious and sustained attempt in the 1970s to revive the great drama of old-time radio. Created by Himan Brown (who had by then become a radio legend due to his work on Inner Sanctum Mysteries and other shows dating back to the 1930s), and aired on affiliate stations across the CBS Radio network, the series began its long run on January 6, 1974. The final episode ran on December 31, 1982. The show was broadcast nightly and ran for one hour, including commercials. Read more on Last.fm
The CBS Radio Mystery Theater (or CBSRMT) was an ambitious and sustained attempt in the 1970s to revive the great drama of old-time radio. Created by Himan Brown (who had by then become a radio legend due to his work on Inner Sanctum Mysteries and other shows dating back to the 1930s), and aired on affiliate stations across the CBS Radio network, the series began its long run on January 6, 1974. The final episode ran on December 31, 1982. The show was broadcast nightly and ran for one hour, including commercials. Typically, a week consisted of three to four new episodes, with the remainder of the week filled out with reruns.

There were a total of 1399 original episodes broadcast. The total number of broadcasts, including reruns, was 2969. The late E.G. Marshall hosted the program every year but the final one, when actress Tammy Grimes took over. Each episode began with the ominous sound of a creaking door, slowly opening to invite listeners in for the evening's adventure.

At the end of each show, the door would swing shut, with Marshall signing off, "Until next time, pleasant...dreams?" Despite the show's title, Brown expanded its scope beyond mysteries to include horror, science fiction, historical drama and comedy. In addition to original stories, there were adaptations of classic tales by such writers as Edgar Allan Poe (no fewer than seven Poe stories were adapted in 1975 alone), O. Henry, Mark Twain, Ambrose Bierce, Charles Dickens and others. Later in the series Brown experimented with five-episode adaptations of novels such as Les Misérables and The Last Days of Pompeii, as well as an original five-part story about Egyptian queen Nefertiti with Tammy Grimes in the title role. Prominent actors from radio and screen performed on the series, including Morey Amsterdam, Richard Crenna, Keir Dullea, Morgan Fairchild, Jack Grimes, Fred Gwynne, Joan Hackett, Larry Haines, Kim Hunter, John Lithgow, Mercedes McCambridge, Agnes Moorehead, Tony Roberts, Marian Seldes, Roy Thinnes and a young Sarah Jessica Parker. Actors were paid union scale at around $73.92 per show.

Writers earned a flat rate of $350.00 per show. The production took place with assembly-line precision. Brown would meet with actors at 9:00am for the first reading of the script. After he assigned roles, the recording began.

By noon the recording of the actors was complete, and Brown handed everyone their checks. This was followed by post-production in the afternoon. In 1975, CBSRMT won the prestigious Peabody Award, and in 1990 it was inducted into the Radio Hall of Fame. In 1998, the still-active Brown attempted a brief revival of the series, rebroadcasting selected old episodes with his own introductions replacing Marshall's. CBSRMT remains perennially popular with collectors to this day, with numerous websites and discussion forums. A Usenet newsgroup is devoted to trading bootleg MP3 files of episodes.

Himan Brown has explored selling copies of CBSRMT shows by asking on his website [1] whether of not people would be willing to purchase original recordings of his program. Read more on Last.fm. User-contributed text is available under the Creative Commons By-SA License; additional terms may apply..
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