Yes, video did kill the radio stars

By Leigh Morris
Our Place in History
Though nearly unimaginable to today, there was a time when radio dominated entertainment.
Among the very best radio dramas was Suspense. This show began its 22-year run on the CBS Radio Network on July 22, 1940. Over the years, the program earned a Peabody Award and a special citation from the Mystery Writers of America.__PUBLIC__

For maximum thrills, it was best to listen while in a darkened room. Each episode would keep listeners on edge until the last possible moment.
Many critics believe “The House in Cypress Canyon” was the program’s best episode. Starring Robert Taylor, the story begins with a couple moving into the perfect house, or so it seemed. The mystery and terror emanate from a closet with a sealed door. Eerie animal-like sounds are heard coming from behind the closet door. Blood oozes from under the door. It is not long before the wife falls under the closet’s evil spell and with it real terror. This episode will leave your nerves frayed.
Another favorite is “The Man Who Cried Wolf.” This espionage thriller features William Powell as a member of the Soviet Union’s Mexican embassy. He is about to be sent back to Moscow because he is considered a security risk. Knowing he will end up in a Siberian gulag, Powell’s character plots an escape.
Not all episodes were fiction. “The Revenge of Captain Bligh” told the true story of how Bligh and his loyal followers were set adrift, survived a 4,000-mile voyage and exacted revenge on the mutineers. Charles Laughton played Bligh.
Roma Wines, America’s number one winery at the time, was the first sponsor. Eventually, Harlow Wilcox took over as the announcer, pitching Autolite spark plugs. Radio fans will recall Wilcox as the longtime promoter of Johnson’s Wax on Fiber McGee and Molly.
The radio program spawned a CBS-TV show of the same name. Debuting on March 1, 1949, the televised version ran until Aug. 17, 1954. Though a quality program, it lacked the tension created on radio where listeners’ imaginations were encouraged to run wild. And they did.
Interestingly, both the radio and TV versions were live broadcasts. And both attracted some the biggest stars of their time to play leads in the various episodes. Among the famous who appeared on the radio broadcast were Orson Wells, Joseph Cotton, Henry Fonda, Humphrey Bogart and Cary Grant. The TV version attracted the likes of Grace Kelly, Boris Karloff, John Carradine, Peter Lorre and Basil Rathbone.
Not only was Suspense radio’s longest running drama, its last broadcast on Sept. 30, 1962, together with Yours Truly, Johnny Dollar, brought an end to radio drama and the Golden Age of Radio. Indeed, TV’s video killed the radio stars.
If you remember old-time radio or want to discover it for yourself, SiriusXM satellite radio offers a full schedule on its Radio Classics channel. For more information, visit GregBellMedia.com.

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