INNER SANCTUM MYSTERIES: Behind the Creaking Door

INNER SANCTUM MYSTERIES: Behind the Creaking Door

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Inner Sanctum Mystery is considered one of the best horror programs ever broadcast on the radio. From 1941 to 1952, Inner Sanctums cared radio audiences with chilling tales of mystery and horror, usually a mystery with supernatural overtones. The vampire turned out to be a mad scientist with a needle and a bicycle pump. Best remembered for the sound of the creaking door during the opening and closing of each episode, the host of Inner Sanctum, Raymond Edward Johnson (later Paul McGrath) invited listeners in for a weekly half-hour fright fest of murder and madness. Werewolves, vampires, creeping vines, walking corpses, thunderstorms and old dark houses, black cats and vengeful ancestors all roamed the hallways leading up to the dripping portals of the creaking door.

Actors from both Hollywood and Broadway played both victims and murderers. Boris Karloff, Peter Lorre, Lon Chaney, Jr., Judith Evelyn, Frank Sinatra, Donald Buka, Les Tremayne, Claude Rains, Agnes Moorehead, Simone Simon, Paul Lukas, Ralph Bellamy, Raymond Massey, Helen Hayes, Orson Welles and many others! When Himan Brown, the creator and director of the program, wanted to bring back radio drama in the early seventies, he used the same creaking door for his new series, The CBS Radio Mystery Theatre. Folks who grew up in the seventies remember listening to gruesome stories of a similar nature. In 1968, a South American radio station created their own version titled, The Creaking Door. Universal Studios even produced a series of six motion-pictures using the Inner Sanctum name.


This 266 page book documents the history of the Inner Sanctum program, including:
*  An Episode Guide for the radio and television programs with titles, airdates, cast, plot descriptions, and even assorted trivia.
*  Includes documentation about the Australian & South African radio versions of the Inner Sanctumseries and episode guide.
*  An unpublished interview with Raymond Edward Johnson.
*  A highly-detailed list of the Simon & Schuster Inner Sanctum mystery novels from which the radio show was based.
*  A lengthy chapter about the production of the six Universal Studios Inner Sanctum movies (written by Gregory William Mank), the 1948 low-budget movie, the 1991 made-for-television film and the 1998 unaired pilot.
*  Three short stories adapted by the script writers based on radio broadcasts of Inner Sanctum episodes not known to exist in recorded form!


* Warner Brothers created a short Bugs Bunny cartoon in 1946 titled “Racketeer Rabbit” with two villains (Peter Lorre and Edward G. Robinson) and makes reference to the Inner Sanctum.
* Robert Bloch’s 1959 mystery novel “Psycho” was initially released as an Inner Sanctum mystery novel before Hitchcock made the novel into a major motion picture.
* The strangest sound effect that ever evolved, recalled Sanctum‘s sound man Ted Slate, was that of leeches eating a man. To accomplish the effect, he kept beating a hunk of liver on a marble slab.


“It is my personal view that Inner Sanctum Mysteries: Behind the Creaking Door is one of the finest books written on the subject of a single show that has been published to date… Grams has done us a service by putting together a definitive record of Inner Sanctum‘s long history.”
— Rodney Bowcock, Jr.,  October 2003 issue of Radiogram


“If you are a fan of Inner Sanctum, and there are a lot of you out there, this is the book to read.”
— Jerry Collins, The Illustrated Press


“One of Martin’s previous books, Inner Sanctum Mysteries made me a convert to that program so there may be hope for me yet.”
– Ivan G. Shreve, Thrilling Days of Yesteryear


“A one-of-a-kind find, this is a valuable resource for any library or student of popular culture.”
— June Pulliam, February 2004 issue of Necropsy


“This the latest in the Grams’ history of old-time radio, but this volume goes quite a bit farther into the details, development and impact of the program profiled, Inner Sanctum Mystery, than his previous tomes.  To be concise, whatever you may have dreamed of knowing about this show, you will find it here. Of course, any Martin Grams’ book on old-time radio is distinguished by its complete (or at least as complete as diligent research can make it) radio program log.  The log for Inner Sanctum Mysteries is another splended success story.  Here you will find the usual data you’ve come to expect: Episode number, title and date aired; featured players; even the original copyright registration date. Talk about detail!  Additional information as to production crew, sound effects personnel and sponsors are found in separate and very detailed chapters of their own. All in all, this is a complete package for the OTR buff and, especially for those of us whose hair (at least what’s left of it) still stands on end when we hear the opening signature of one of radio’s best remembered and best loved programs.”
— Charles R. Sexton, September 2003 issue of RLL on the Air


“In this overview for fans of suspenseful mysteries with frequent supernatural overtones and for students of popular entertainment, a history of the Inner Sanctum Mystery is followed by sections on the long-lasting series as it appeared in movies, television, radio and novels.  Another section covers interest in the series in Australia and South America.  The book suits both readers looking for factual material as well as ones who would enjoy reminiscing about the series.  Mutual on publicity budgets, the publication of novels, casts for some programs, and such is found with synopsis of the more than 500 radio programs.  This is one of several books by the avid mystery buff Grams on popular mysteries of the early days of radio.”
–  Henry Berry, Nov./Dec. 2033 issue of The Small Press Book Review



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