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Beyond Midnight

was a South African horror anthology series that ran from 1968 to 1970. It was originally conceived as a simple replacement for the Sci-Fi series SF 68, but ended up being much more successful. Its success may have been due in part to producer Michael McCabe (who also produced SF 68) honing his talents to a higher degree.

Michael McCabe was born in England, grew up on the Isle of Wight, and did a spot of acting in Kenya before ending up at Springbok Radio in South Africa. He was a highly regarded writer/producer who created many radio series, including The Avengers, Beyond Midnight, Personal Column, SF 68, The Searchers, Suspense, and Wheels.

According to Springbok Radio, 71 of the 78 episodes originally produced for Beyond Midnight are known to exist. Of those, perhaps 56 are in general circulation. Many vendors offer the same episode for sale under multiple names, so beware. It is common to see "The Signal-Man", "Hello, Below There" and "The Train" offered on the same CD [hint #1: they are the same episode!] or "All at Sea", "The Upper Berth" and "The Thing in Cabin 105" on the same CD [hint #2: see hint #1].

It appears that Michael McCabe wrote most of the scripts, many of which were adaptations of classic ghost stories (with different titles). Original authors include Ray Bradbury, Mary Elizabeth Braddon, A.M. Burrage, Robert W. Chambers, Basil Copper, F. Marion Crawford, Charles Dickens, Amelia B. Edwards, William Hope Hodgson, W.W. Jacobs, Henry James, E. Nesbit, and H.G. Wells. All episodes are in standard half-hour format.

The episode titles below were obtained from Springbok Radio by way of Relic Radio. Where possible, I have cross-referenced these titles to those more commonly used in the OTR community (I count 63 'alternate' titles floating around, but there are probably more!). Springbok Radio is currently engaged in restoring many of their programmes, so this list will be revised as more episodes are found, restored and released to the public.

Currently this archive contains 57 of 72 plotlines

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Webmaster Recommends:
A Beautiful Viper | Borneo | The Fifty-Six Gs | The House | Lanceford House | A Man's Worth | The Monkey's Paw | A Night in the Waxworks | No-Name Baby | The Train

Jeff Dickson Recommends:
Lanceford House

40th Birthday
See: "Eloise's Whereabouts"
56 G's, The
See: "The Fifty-Six G's"

All at Sea

aka: "The Thing in Cabin 105"
aka: "The Upper Berth"
Year: 1969
Duration: 30 min
Genre: Ghosts
Available for Listening Booth: Y
Story by: F. Marion Crawford, 1885

A well-travelled businessman, on a routine steamer trip from England to America, runs into a spot of trouble when his roommate (in the upper berth of state-room 105) screams, dashes through the doorway, and is never seen again. The captain and crew encourage him to change rooms, but the businessman can't believe there isn't a rational explanation for the whole thing, and he's determined to get to the bottom if it.

Reading Link: 'The Upper Berth', by F. Marion Crawford, available at Project Gutenberg.

Opening: "I'm an old sailor. I cross the Atlantic pretty often. I have my favourite ships, you see, and I have a habit of waiting for certain vessels I favour. It may be prejudice, but I was only cheated out of a good passage once in my life. I remember it very well. It was one June, and the Kamtschatka was a ship I always loved to travel on. I say 'was' because she emphatically no longer is. She is uncommonly clean in the run aft. She has enough bluffing off in the bows to keep her dry and her lower berths are most of them double. She has a lot of advantages, but I won't cross that duck pond in her again. Why? You'll find out. You'll find out the terror that was curtained in the upper berth on the June crossing of the Atlantic that year, when all the drowned souls who ever were, endeavoured to drag me... Beyond Midnight." --- the narrator

Reviews:
A slow-paced, narrator-driven story with minimal sound effects and music. Well-acted and well-scripted. The written story has an element of wry humour which is missing in this production. Nevertheless, a solid adaptation. [7/10] --- zM

Arsenic

Year: 1969
Duration: 30 min
Genre:
Available for Listening Booth: N
Story by:

Opening:

Reviews:

Arthur's Return

Year: 1970
Duration: 30 min
Genre:
Available for Listening Booth: N
Story by:

The recording I have with this title is the actually "The Marble Knights".

Opening:

Reviews:
Bargain of Rupert Orange, The
See: "Rupert Orange"

Beautiful Viper, A

aka: "Eveline's Visitant"
Year: 1968
Duration: 30 min
Genre: Ghosts
Available for Listening Booth: Y
Story by: Mary Elizabeth Braddon, 1862

Out beyond the church of Saint-Germain des Prés, a duel of honour pits Hector de Brissac against his first cousin, André. André the beautiful, André the fortunate, André the loved... André the slain. In his dying breath, André delivers his deathbed curse: "My shadow shall shut the sunlight from your life!"

Another version aired on The Hall of Fantasy (as 'The Mark of Shame')

Reading Link: 'Eveline's Visitant', by Mary Elizabeth Braddon, available at Arthur's Classic Novels.

Opening: "It was at the masked ball at the Palais Royal that Hector de Brissac's quarrel with his first cousin, André, began. The quarrel was about a woman. The women who followed the footsteps of Philip of Orleans, were the causes of many such disputes; and there was scarcely one fair head in all that glittering throng which might not have seemed bedabbled with blood. There were many beautiful vipers in those days, and she was one of them; there is no need to mention her name. The quarrel was a fierce one, and there could be but one result." --- the narrator

Reviews:
A somber, fatalistic tale with a predictable, yet strong, ending. Even though this is a simple story with a predictable plot and resolution, the acting and pacing still manage to create tension and a strong sense of foreboding. Well-played by the female lead. [8/10] --- zM
Behind the Locked Door
See: "The House Was a Sphinx"

Bonanza, The

Year: 1970
Duration: 30 min
Genre: Mystery
Available for Listening Booth: Y
Story by:

Richard Javelin, anthropologist, wanders into the Bonanza Department store looking for a water distilling outfit—a copper tank with coils of copper tubing used for distilling water—for a 10-man expedition up the Amazon. He takes the elevator to the 13th floor where he meets the most amazing sales woman and arranges to meet her after work. When she doesn't show up, he enquires at the store... but they have no record of an Elaine Carmichael working there.

Opening: " [loudspeaker] 'You are entering the Bonanza Department Store. Welcome. If the Bonanza hasn't got it, it isn't. You are entering the Bonanza Department Store. Welcome. If the Bonanza hasn't got it, it isn't.' ... [unintelligible women in background] ... [loudspeaker] 'You are entering the Bonanza Department Store. Welcome. If the Bonanza hasn't got it, it isn't.' ... [man] 'Eighteen stories high, hm? Anything from a spool of thread to complete equipment for an eight-month safari into the Congo. Ah, my last chance. The Bonanza. Well, if I can't get it here, then... oh. Which floor I wonder."

Reviews:
Not really Suspense or Horror—more of a mystery. A bewildering mystery, at that, which winds its way from department to department in the world's largest department store. "Did you get what you wanted, sir?" "Yes" "Oh. Sorry." "Sorry? Why should you be sorry?" For a while I was afraid this was one of those mysteries that leaves you scratching your head, wondering what it was all about. Instead, it finishes up nice and tidy. I feel a bout of triskaidekaphobia coming on... [7/10] --- zM

Interesting with a deeper sense of mystery than other episodes of this series. Kind of wish the Bonanza department store really existed... --- Noelle (6/10)
Boomerang
See: "Borneo"

Borneo

aka: "Something on His Mind"
aka: "The Caterpillar"
aka: "Boomerang"
Year: 1969
Duration: 30 min
Genre: Horror
Available for Listening Booth: Y
Story by: Oscar Cook, 1931

The relationship between two partners (Leopold Thring and Clifford Macy) on a small experimental estate in Borneo becomes quite strained when one of the partners returns from a trip to England with a young bride (Rhona)... and the other partner falls in love with her.

"The Caterpillar" was produced as a teleplay for Night Gallery in 1972.

Reading Link: 'Boomerang', by Oscar Cook, available at http://www.otrplotspot.com

Opening: "[Warwick] 'And a very good evening to you!' [man] 'Hello Warwick, well, well. What'll you have?' [Warwick] 'What'll you have?' [man] 'Okay, on you then, I don't mind.' [Warwick] 'Er... Fancy somewhere a bit quieter? Like over there in the corner. Got a story to tell you.' [man] 'Oh?' [Warwick] 'Hmm. Remember the story about Mendingham you told me? I've got as good a one to tell you. Been hoping I'd see you. Had it straight from the...eh... filly's mouth, so to speak. The usual? Ah, Frank, double Scotches, two please.' [man] 'There's something ghoulish in your manner this evening, Warwick. You going to try and scare me?' [Warwick] 'Heh-heh, listen and see. Ever been to... Borneo?' "

Reviews:
After hearing the end of the tale, the listener will appreciate the irony of the story's title! The same story was featured on the U.S. TV series Rod Serling's Night Gallery and aired on 1st March 1972 under the title "The Caterpillar." --- Anonymous

A slow-moving, suspenseful tale. Acting, par for the series. Story, slightly better than average. This tale touched a personal phobia of mine and had me cringing as each new detail unfolded, but if you don't share this phobia, you'll probably rate this episode lower. Delightfully nauseating. [9/10] --- zM
Brickett Bottom
See: "The Paxton's House"
Cassius Touch, The
Note: not a Beyond Midnight episode.

Cataclysm

Year:
Duration: 30 min
Genre: Supernatural
Available for Listening Booth: Y
Story by:

Clara explains to her lover that she cannot marry because she is cursed. He doesn't believe in curses. She tells the story of how, in Salem in 1692, an old woman named Joan Bathfield tried to befriend a young girl named Emily. Emily bit her and, out of spite, pretended that the old woman was turning her into a cat. Six magistrates and four ministers of the gospel arrested the old woman and tried her for witchcraft. Even though Emily confessed that she was making the whole thing up, Joan was executed. On her deathbed, Joan cursed Emily's family for seven generations. It is now 250 years later and Clara claims to be the 7th generation direct descendent of Emily...

Opening: "We are about to travel into a region of [threatening ego], the harsh world of reality and illusion, where [nameless ?] and phantoms live. A macabre world... beyond midnight." ... "Tonight you'll hear a strange tale of ancient beliefs, or misbeliefs if you will, projected into a twentieth century setting, of bizarre happenings with never a tangible foundation of fact on which to rest the bewildered mind of the observer. Believe it or not. Frankly I must tell you that the newspapers did not, but newspapers are like that. My story is called 'Cataclysm'. Cat-a-clysm." --- the narrator

Reviews:
Very poor audio quality... barely intelligible. Listening to a recording with such poor audio quality is like reading the Cliff's Notes of a novel—you get the plot and the character names, but much of the emotion and nuance are lost. I'd love to read a copy of this short story because I think there may be hidden depths. [4/10] --- zM
Caterpillar, The
See: "Borneo"

Cigarette Case, The

Year: 1969
Duration: 30 min
Genre:
Available for Listening Booth: N
Story by:

Opening:

Reviews:
Claimant, The
See: "Hobart"
Cliffs of Bembridge
See: "A Time for Thunder"

Crystal Ball, The

aka: "The Yellow Dressing Gown"
Year: 1969
Duration: 30 min
Genre: Occult
Available for Listening Booth: Y
Story by: Sir Charles Lloyd Birkin, 1968

Lilian has always looked good in her yellow dressing gown. But lately, she feels her husband slipping away... into the arms of her best friend. While cleaning one day, she discovers her old crystal ball and, gazing intently, witnesses events that have dire implications for her, her daughter, and her husband's mistress.

This story was announced the previous week as "The Yellow Dressing Gown", by Charles Birkin. "The Yellow Dressing Gown" was first published in Dark Menace, 1968.

Opening: "Lilian Hamilton sat at the writing table in her bedroom. She turned her head and looked out of the window at the garden in which she spent a lot of her time. The roses were blazing in the two long beds. Lilian Hamilton sat at the writing table and slowly, in a style that was not good, but colourful and evocative, penned the story of her married life in a thick [school] exercise book. The last chapter was not going to be written, of course, for the final chapter of any autobiography must remain unwritten. Poor Lilian." --- the narrator

Reviews:
Slow start, strong ending: For the first 15 minutes, one wonders if this is merely a soap opera about a cheating husband. There's only one supernatural moment here, but it's enough to set off not only one terrifying ending, but two. While the opening is a bit of a yawn (although the use of a female narrator instead of the typical male narrator provides some interest), the conclusion is drawn out just enough to evoke a solid feeling of gloom. --- Rob Mayer

Very slow beginning, but worth listening to. Birkin is known for brutally telling stories which are bleak and feature physical cruelty: infanticide, rape, and cannibalism. This story falls more along the lines of psychological terror than actual physical cruelty. There is plenty of foreshadowing to suggest a grim ending... but it was still a shock. [7/10] --- zM
Dear Ghost
See: "A True Ghost Story"
Death Wish, The
See: "A Man's Worth"
Don't Joke in the Morgue
See: "The Jokester"

Door in the Wall, The

Year: 1969
Duration: 30 min
Genre:
Available for Listening Booth: N
Story by:

Opening:

Reviews:

Dream, The

aka: "Janizaries of Emillion"
aka: "The Janissaries of Emilion"
Year: 1969
Duration: 30 min
Genre: Supernatural
Available for Listening Booth: Y
Story by: Basil Copper, 1967

A doctor becomes concerned for a friend who claims that his dreams are transporting him to another time and place, where savage horsemen are bearing down on him, swords drawn to kill him. The dreams, or rather the different parts of the same progressive dream, become more complete each night. The friend is concerned that in a few nights the dream may reach its final, terrifying conclusion.

Possibly based on the Basil Copper short story "The Janissaries of Emilion" first published in The Eighth Pan Book of Horror Stories, 1967. [Still waiting for a copy from the library.]

Opening: "He awoke for a third consecutive occasion at dawn, sweatin' and terrified, with the details of the dream vivid in his mind. His hands were clutching the simple iron frame of the bedstead above his head and the [dews] of his night terror had soaked the linen of the bedding. His name was Farlow. He was a genius in his line, that of higher physics. He was also a friend and acquaintance of mine, and I believe it my duty to tell his story, not that I know what it all means, but I do know that Farlow was not mad. And yet, why should a celebrated scientist be admitted at his own request as a private patient to [Green] Mansion for rest and observation. [Green] Mansion is, not to put too fine a point on it, a luxuriously appointed [mental] home. You see, my friend Farlow experienced a brand of mental torture that is perhaps greater than anything ever recorded. More terrible than anything dreamed up by the horror writers of the last two centuries. He travelled further than any other into the regions that lie... Beyond Midnight." --- the narrator

Reviews:
A slow-moving, tale that is well-written and well-acted. Even though the ending is predictable, Copper manages to create a suspenseful tale through the strong use visual imagery. [7/10] --- zM

Eloise's Whereabouts

aka: "40th Birthday"
aka: "The Room"
Year: 1969
Duration: 30 min
Genre: Horror
Available for Listening Booth: Y
Story by:

A suspicious and peevish man, fast-approaching his 40th birthday, becomes discontented with his flirtatious young wife, Eloise, and decides his only option is to murder her [of course!]. When he learns about a secret room beneath his garage that once was used by bootleggers he decides to move ahead with his plan. After all, it's the perfect place to bury his wife, isn't it?

See also: "Three O'clock" (Sleep No More and Suspense).

Opening: "[Holmes muttering] ...seventeen short, swift days and you'll be forty, Robert Holmes. Forty years old. [interrupted] 'Yes? Oh, uh, leave it there please. No, no. No. On the table there. Thank you.' [continues muttering] Forty. Forty years old. [narrator] Generally, it is the so-called frailer or weaker sex who are so conscious of the passage of time, that they hear the knell of doom in the number Forty. Generally speaking, that is. To Robert Holmes, though, forty held all the terrors that modern man can imagine within its two crisp syllables. For-ty. Seventeen days short. Oddly, with each succeeding year, the age gap between him and Eloise, seemed to widen as if time were carrying him along and leaving her behind. In the beginning she had looked at him as being attractively mature, while now he felt she regarded him as growing old. It was no trick of the imagination the way he saw Eloise looking at the younger men in the club, and a number of them, young 'bucks' like Edward Mathes, were not above doing something about it. Poor Robert. He should have done something about it himself. Instead, he allowed it to prey on his mind, and that pathetic little number, the one that comes after thirty-nine, carried him... Beyond Midnight."

Reviews:
A clever ending built around a mediocre tale. The acting was adequate, but I never warmed to either the story or the characters (much of the episode involved the husband muttering under his breath). Forty was so long ago, I can't remember what all the fuss was about. Odd that. [4/10] --- zM

Evil Face, The

aka: "Let Me See Your Face"
aka: "One Who Saw"
Year: 1969
Duration: 30 min
Genre: Supernatural
Available for Listening Booth: Y
Story by: A.M. Burrage (as Ex-Private X), 1931

A writer with a special interest in Joan of Arc, spends a week at l'Hôtel d'Avignon in Rouen, France. The hotel has a wonderful garden... wonderful for writing, that is. It is surrounded by brick walls and starved for sunlight, but it is deserted. At least until one evening when the writer glances out his window and sees a woman, face turned away, the very embodiment of dejection and despair. By the time he can walk to the garden, however, she has vanished. The hotel staff offer him a different room and warn him not to try to see her again.

"One Who Saw" was first published in Jarrolds in 1931.

Opening: "There are certain people, often well enough liked, genial souls whom one is always glad to meet, yet who have the faculty of disappearing without being missed. Crutchley was one of them. It wasn't until his name was mentioned casually that evening at the Storgates' that most of us remembered that we hadn't seen him for the last year or two."

Reviews:
Eh, to be honest, nothing spectacular. Basic setup, below average payoff. Best part is the atmosphere created when the protagonist first sees the figure beside the pool below his room. --- Robert Mayer

Seems like I've heard this story many times before. Atmospheric, but unremarkable. [5/10] --- zM
Eveline's Visitant
See: "A Beautiful Viper"

Evil Memory of Julia Wright, An

Year: 1970
Duration: 30 min
Genre:
Available for Listening Booth: N
Story by:

Opening:

Reviews:
Eye for an Eye, An
See: "Yarrow"
Fear of Spiders, A
See: "Spider-Phobia"

Fellini the Great

aka: "The Great Fellini"
aka: "The Last Escape"
Year: 1969
Duration: 30 min
Genre: Mystery / Horror
Available for Listening Booth: Y
Story by: Henry Slesar, 1961

Fellini the Great (an ageing, dim-witted, muscle-bound escape artist) is obsessed with his fading popularity and proposes a death-defying attempt at the Water Trick—shackled, strait-jacketed and dumped in the ocean. His wife is tired of hearing about it and plans to sabotage his escape from a potentially watery grave.

"The Last Escape" was produced as a teleplay for Alfred Hitchcock Presents in 1961 and as a radio play for CBS Radio Mystery Theater in 1974.

Opening: "They lashed the heavy braided cord about Fellini's wrists and knotted it tightly. Then they put the leg irons on the magician and locked the catches. They stood over their victim and seemed smugly satisfied with their efforts. Then the woman put the screen in front of Fellini's bound body. In less than a minute the screen was thrown aside by Fellini, the Escape Artist Supreme...." "Fellini had done it again. But it is not with past triumphs that we're concerned. This is the story of Fellini's greatest, most baffling, escape... his Last escape." --- the narrator

Reviews:
The plot's nothing new, but what makes this work is the acting at the conclusion. The story simply just flows along in terms of emotion, and then suddenly the wife lets out a performance that unnerves the listener. --- Rob Mayer

One small incident of horror at the conclusion, but otherwise mostly a tale of mystery better-suited for CBS Radio Mystery Theater than Beyond Midnight. I enjoyed the CBSRMT version better because it spent more time developing the back-story. Acting was sound in both versions. [6/10] --- zM

Fifty-Six G's, The

aka: "The 56 G's"
aka: "Water's Edge"
Year: 1970
Duration: 30 min
Genre: Mystery / Horror
Available for Listening Booth: Y
Story by: Robert Bloch, 1956

Rusty Conners—recently released from prison—looks up Helen Krauss, the wife of his former cell-mate. Rusty's got a message for her. Seems before her old man died, he told Rusty where the loot was hidden. Sort of. It's with the body of the man he knocked off, but nobody could ever find. Now all Rusty and Helen need to do is figure out where the body is located. Sounds like the beginning of a beautiful, trusting relationship...

"Water's Edge" was also produced as a teleplay for The Alfred Hitchcock Hour in 1964.

Opening: "The fly-speckled lettering on the window read, 'The Bright Spot Restaurant'. Great. It was a counter joint, with a single row of hard-backed booths line one wall. Half-a-dozen customers squatted on the stools at the end of the counter near the door. He walked past them, slid into a stool at the far end. There he sat, staring at the three waitresses. None of them looked 'right' to him, but he had to take a chance. He waited until one of the women approached him." ... "She didn't look right to him either. But the lady said she was Helen and he guessed she ought to know, but she didn't look right. He looked her over. He had no time for women. Women try to make a monkey out of a man, all women. Women have to be treated rough, there's no other way to treat women. No woman, though, would ever make a monkey out of him. Not Rusty Conners. She went to get him something cool, and he sat and worked things out." --- the narrator

Reviews:
I enjoyed this quite a lot. I listen to voices the way some people watch performers. Everything just seemed right about this production: the interplay between the Rusty and Helen; the pacing and delivery; the voice quality and inflection; the characterization. The plot teased me along, dribbling out details no quicker than necessary to create a sense of mystery. It was obvious from the beginning that Rusty didn't care much for women. But what of Helen? Why did she look so different from the way her husband described her? Why was she acting so weird? What was she thinking? Overall, well done. [8/10] --- zM
Fortieth Birthday
See: "Eloise's Whereabouts"
Ghostly Rental, The
See: "The House"
Great Fellini, The
See: "Fellini the Great"
Green Vase, The
See: "Lanceford House"
Habitants of Middle Islet, The
See: "Happy Return, The"
Happenthatch
See: "Little Happenthatch"

Happy Return, The

aka: "The Habitants of Middle Islet"
Year: 1969
Duration: 30 min
Genre: Ghosts
Available for Listening Booth: Y
Story by: William Hope Hodgson, before 1918

A man's world-wide search for his fiancée's lost ship brings him to a desolate isle in the South Atlantic. Even though her ship is found dismasted and void of life, it is meticulously clean, as if the crew had just departed with the life boats. The ropes are clean and neatly coiled, the calendar turned to the correct date. So where is everybody?

Reading Link: 'The Habitants of Middle Islet', by William Hope Hodgson, available at http://www.otrplotspot.com

Opening: "...we were in the South Atlantic. Far away to the north showed dimly the grim, weather-beaten peak of the island of Tristan, the largest of the da Cunha group; while on the horizon to the westward we could make out indistinctly Inaccessible Island. Both of these, however, held little interest for us. It was on Middle Islet, off the coast of Nightingale Island that our attention was fixed. We were looking for a boat, a long-lost boat called the "Happy Return". My friend Trenhern's fiancée had sailed for Tasmania on the "Happy Return", but the craft had never reached van Diemen's Land. It had been lost in the vastness of the ocean. Only Trenhern would never believe that the beautiful girl he had sworn to make his wife would never again smile at him and sing to him. He searched and searched and I accompanied him on a voyage over the edge of the world into the abyss that lies... Beyond Midnight." --- the narrator

Reviews:
While about three-quarters of the way through you get the idea that this is based on an older story/myth, the set-up of exploring the empty ship is worth listening to. The conclusion isn't exactly original, but the way the story got there is. --- Rob Mayer

A slow-moving tale with nice sound effects of wind, rigging, and waves. The buildup in the written story is a bit stronger, but not bad in this dramatization. Strong, but unenlightening ending. [7/10] --- zM

Harry

aka: "Harry, Such an Ordinary Name"
Year: 1968
Duration: 30 min
Genre: Ghosts
Available for Listening Booth: Y
Story by: Rosemary Timperley, 1955

A young, adopted girl with few friends compensates by talking and playing with an imaginary older brother.

"Harry" was first published in The Third Ghost Book in 1955.

Opening: "[Child singing] 'Rock-a-bye baby on the tree top, when the wind blows, the cradle will rock, when the bough breaks, the cradle will fall, down will come baby, cradle and all'. [child speaking] 'I'm Christine. [Where's] my mommy and daddy? Oh, but they are my mommy and daddy!' [child singing again] 'Rock-a-bye baby, on the tree top. When the... [fades]' [Woman] 'Such ordinary things make me afraid. Sunshine. Sharp shadows on grass. White roses. Children with red hair. And the name, Harry. Harry, such an ordinary name'."

Reviews:
The mother has a soothing voice, but I found the little girl's voice shrill and annoying and it grated on my nerves. Descriptive language throughout the build-up, but I found the plot-gaps distracting. Harry, such an ordinary story. [4/10]
Harry, Such an Ordinary Name
See: "Harry"
Hello, Below There
See: "The Train"

Hobart

aka: "A Man Called Hobard"
aka: "The Claimant"
Year: 1969
Duration: 30 min
Genre: Ghosts
Available for Listening Booth: Y
Story by: Elizabeth Bowen, 1955

A wife and her husband Arthur, dedicated to transforming their new house into a home, receive a disturbing letter in the post. Mr P. St. J. Hobart claims the house belongs to him by right of inheritance and aims to take possession. Mr Hobart dies in a plane crash en route from Australia... but he still means to take possession.

"The Claimant" was first published in The Third Ghost Book in 1955.

Snippet: "...we'd been in the house three weeks when the letter came. July. It was drowsy weather. There was so much to do, the new house, curtains and... we worked very hard. We went to bed before dark every day, tired out. By the same post, I got a letter from Mary. Forgetting Australia for the moment, I was deep in their everlasting news when something made me look up. I looked down again and then back once more at Arthur's face. I wasn't sure, then, what I saw there. I only knew that whatever it was, it wasn't good."

Reviews:
A psychological-drama type of ghost story, rather than a chains-in-the-night type. Not quite as good as the originally-written story due to poor audio quality which makes some of the dialogue difficult to understand. The story is essentially the same, however, with much of the background and dialogue taken word-for-word, so if you can find a copy it will help to read along. Solid acting by the female lead creates a strong build-up, but it's followed by a weak ending. [7/10] --- zM

Honeymooners, The

aka: "The Honeymoon"
Year: 1969
Duration: 30 min
Genre: Mystery / Ghosts
Available for Listening Booth: Y
Story by:

Two soldiers on furlough share a compartment on a train to Edinburgh and become fast friends. Alex invites Major Peter Buckel home to stay with him and his sister, Angela, for a few days. The three get along very well. Angela and Peter fall in love and marry... and all three head off to Brightons for a honeymoon.

Opening: "The Flying Scotsman was two hours late, [as ? happened] frequently during the war, especially when the [? had been over during] the night. The train was blacked out, lights were dim. I was sharing a compartment with another officer, [Major, of about 35]. He was reading The Idiot. He smoked continuously. We spoke hardly at all, just a word or two now and again. Above each of our seats was a notice which stated "Idle chatter helps Hitler." But that wasn't why our conversation was so sporadic. Just had no curiosity about one another, that's all. I [was going to Edinburgh] where my sister kept house for me."

Reviews:
I found myself intrigued right from the start, trying to figure out what was going on, but the story progressed so slowly I wondered if there was ever going to be any supernatural or horror element. There was, but it was only toward the end and the explanation was rather mundane. [5/10] --- zM

House, The

aka: "The Visits"
aka: "The Ghostly Rental"
Year: 1969
Duration: 30 min
Genre: Ghosts
Available for Listening Booth: Y
Story by: Henry James, 1876

A young student of divinity, rambling the countryside near Medford, stumbles upon and seems drawn toward an abandoned house. The door is locked and barred, but hearing someone approach, he hides himself and witnesses an odd spectacle—a little old man pauses before the door, bows to it, produces a key and inserts it into the lock, then presses against one of the door panels and enters as the door swings open. When the man leaves, he again bows to the door and hobbles away without a backward glance. Intrigued, the young man visits the house again and again and discovers that the old man visits the house on the last day of every quarter, precisely at sunset....

Reading Link: 'The Ghostly Rental', by Henry James, available at The University of Adelaide Library.

Opening: "I was in my twenty-second year, and had just left college. I was free to choose a career, and I chose it too quickly. Afterwards I abandoned it with great speed, but I've never regretted the two years I spent in Cambridge as a student of divinity. Cambridge, for the lovers of woods and trees, has changed for the worse since those days, of course, but I remember the Cambridge I want to remember. One grey December afternoon, I went to the town of Medford. I was late in starting back for my lodgings, and as dusk was falling I came to a narrow road I did not recognize. I was about three miles away from home, and I reckoned the road offered me as good a shortcut as any. The road was obviously seldom used. The wheel ruts looked old and after ten minutes walking, I came to... The House. And so began one of the strangest, and for a time, one of the most terrifying episodes in the whole of my life." --- the narrator

Reviews:
I found Henry James original version wordy and confusing. This adaptation much improves on the original by streamlining the action while retaining the descriptive imagery. Even so, this is a slow-moving tale. It has a strong buildup and a stronger ending which involves not one, but two twists. Well done. [8/10] --- zM
House at Brickett Bottom, The
See: "The Paxton's House"

House Was a Sphinx, The

aka: "The Locked Room"
aka: "Behind the Locked Door"
Year: 1969
Duration: 30 min
Genre: Horror
Available for Listening Booth: Y
Story by: Henry Slesar

Handsome and penniless David Snowden marries a young and innocent heiress, Bonnie Daniels. Bonnie's wealthy mother seeks to have their marriage annulled. Davey and Bonnie concoct a plan to get mom off their backs... and all the while there's that locked door on the 4th floor of the run-down mansion that preys on Davey's mind. What's behind it?

"Behind the Locked Door" was produced as a teleplay for The Alfred Hitchcock Hour in 1964 and as a radio play for CBS Radio Mystery Theater in 1974 (as "The Locked Room").

Opening: "Curiosity allegedly kills cats. Why this fate should befall our feline friends in particular, is beyond me. I do know, though, that if a bedroom door is locked, I cannot rest until it is opened. Perhaps you feel like that too. Davey Snowden did. He had a few ideas about what might lie on the other side a certain locked door, but he could never have guessed with any accuracy. You see, a mere turn of the handle sent him on a journey into and... Beyond Midnight." --- the narrator

"The house was a sphinx, squatting on the hillside. It had the dark, sullen look of all empty houses..."

Reviews:
There are really two stories here: the love affair between Davey and Bonnie and the conflict with Bonnie's mom... and the secret of what is hidden in the locked room. Each story reveals a surprise. The mood is better in the Beyond Midnight version, but the back-story is more developed in the CBSRMT version. The cast is good in both versions, but Bonnie sounds more childlike (and believable as the innocent victim) in the CBSRMT version. [6/10] --- zM

Impala

aka: "'Nyala"
aka: "Mkara"
Year: 1970
Duration: 30 min
Genre: Occult
Available for Listening Booth: Y
Story by: Michael McCabe

Charles Woodley flees to the highlands of Ethiopia to escape a curse that has been laid upon him for killing a sacred bull elephant—a curse which would cause him to die horribly, trampled beneath the feet of the God of All Elephants, if he were to stay in Tanganyika. There are no elephants in the Ethiopian highlands...

Another version was produced for Nightfall (as "Mkara"). See also: "The Thirteenth Elephant".

Opening: "[man and woman talking, then]... 1943. The mountains of the Arussi country, Ethiopia. The Woodley's lived in a six-room cabin, fashioned from a wood known locally as [asala]. The trees that provide this wood grow at a high altitude, on the mountain slopes of that beautiful country that was once Abyssinia. Charles Woodley was devoting what he believed to be the last months of his life to correlating all there was to discover about the Abyssinian Bushbuck or 'Mountain Nyala' known in Arussi [credentia]. The Edinburgh-born doctor was not quite honest when he told the wife that there was nothing wrong with her husband. He had met men before who were determined to die. Beyond Midnight." --- the narrator

Reviews:
It's interesting that this episode and "The Thirteenth Elephant" both feature hyenas mucking about in dustbins. Is this a common problem in Africa? They also both feature massive bull elephants as Gods. I thought this was more common in India than Africa, but what do I know? Poor audio quality combined with many African names and places obscure some of the details, but the story is easy to follow with a predictable plot and outcome. Adequate acting. Mediocre plot. [5/10] --- zM

Incomplete Corpse, The

Year: 1970
Duration: 30 min
Genre:
Available for Listening Booth: N
Story by:

Opening:

Reviews:

Insect Man

aka: "Insects"
aka: "The Watchers"
Year: 1969
Duration: 30 min
Genre: Horror
Available for Listening Booth: Y
Story by: Ray Bradbury, 1945

A tycoon, William Tinsley, obsessed with the notion that all insects are the agents of the Devil on Earth and are watching—always watching—him, devotes all his resources to wiping them out... but he must keep his actions secret, for if they learn his plans they shall surely destroy him.

Reading Link: 'The Watchers', by Ray Bradbury, available at http://www.unz.org.

Opening: "In this room the sound of the tapping of the typewriter keys is like knuckles on wood, and my perspiration falls down upon the keys that are being punched by my trembling fingers. A mosquito circles above my bent head. There are flies buzzing and colliding with the wire screen, around the naked yellow bulb in the ceiling. A bit of torn paper, that is a moth, flutters. An ant crawls up the wall. I watch it, the ant, with bitterness. How mistaken we three were: Susan and I and William Tinsley. Whoever you are, wherever you are, if you hear this, do not ever again crush the ants upon the sidewalk, do not smash the bumblebee that thunders by your window, do not annihilate the cricket upon your hearth. You see, that's where Tinsley made his colossal error. You remember Tinsley. You must do. He was the man who threw away a million dollars on fly-sprays and insecticides and ant killers. I was this man's secretary just after the second World War. I was with him when he wandered into a web and became lost forever from human eyes... Beyond Midnight." --- the narrator

Reviews:
A story about paranoia (but if all the insects really are out to get you, is it still paranoia?) Well-written and well-acted, with a surprising twist at the end. I never really warmed to the story and the insect thing isn't one of my phobias, but this episode is still worth listening to. [7/10] --- zM
Insects
See: "Insect Man"
The Janissaries of Emilion
See: "The Dream"
Janizaries of Emillion
See: "The Dream"

Jokester, The

aka: "Don't Joke in the Morgue"
Year: 1969
Duration: 30 min
Genre: Horror
Available for Listening Booth: Y
Story by: Robert A. Arthur (as by Anthony Morton), 1952

Too many jokes played on too many people lead to unexpected consequences for Bradley, a boorish reporter on the Police Beat who finds it amusing to play practical jokes on anybody he can, including the night attendant at the morgue.

"The Jokester" was also produced as a teleplay for Alfred Hitchcock Presents in 1958.

Opening: "It was Bradley's idea. It was a dull night, [?] in a dingy little room at headquarters where the reporters on the Police Beat gathered. Bradley, of 'The Express', tired of playing three-handed stud and waiting for something to happen." ... "Let's play a joke on old pop. Pop Henderson was the night attendant on duty at the morgue, in the basement of the building. Funny place to play a joke. Funny person to play a joke on, Pop Henderson, watchman of the morgue. But Bradley was like that, you see, he was a jokester, and that's how it all began. The hour had gone long... Beyond Midnight." --- the narrator

Reviews:
A strong ending which doesn't quite make up for the uninspired and rather boring build-up. Meh. [4/10] --- zM

Lanceford House

aka: "The Green Vase"
Year: 1969
Duration: 30 min
Genre: Creatures
Available for Listening Booth: Y
Story by: Dennis Roidt, 1962

A writer seeking solitude so he can finish his novel buys a remote house so he can have some peace and quite! What he discovers however, is mystery: a locked attic room... a piece of paper warning that a certain green vase should not be moved... rumours of previous owners dying horrible deaths...

"The Green Vase" was first published in Dark Mind, Dark Heart, 1962.

Opening: "I came into possession of the Lanceford House through the accident of my uncle's death. My inheritance from him enabled me to buy it, for it was the isolated kind of dwelling I'd been looking for in order to finish a novel I was working on. I've always found it impossible to create anything worthwhile in the noise of the city. The house was fully furnished, but since it had been empty for many years, it was extremely dusty and I spent my first day cleaning away the dust in the few rooms I intended to use. Lanceford House. I remember the place as if it were only yesterday I discovered the green vase, learnt it's terrible secret, and passed so nearly through the veil that separates sanity and the madness that lies... Beyond Midnight." --- the narrator

Reviews:
Quiet and introspective tale with great music (eerie, plaintive) and sound effects (moaning, heavy breathing, clanging and banging). Great build-up marred slightly by a confusing, but satisfying, ending. [8/10] --- zM

What I've learned while listening to Beyond Midnight: If you are a writer trying to finish your novel for NaNoWriMo and have writer's block, don't rent a secluded house in the country! And if you do, and you find a locked door, DON'T OPEN IT! Great stuff. Love this series. --- dakota
Last Escape, The
See: "Fellini the Great"

Late Mr. Elsham, The

aka: "The Story of the Late Mr Elvesham"
Year: 1968
Duration: 30 min
Genre: Horror
Available for Listening Booth: Y
Story by: H.G. Wells, 1896

A young, ambitious medical student is approached by a wrinkled old man with a yellow face who claims he is looking for someone to leave his fortune to upon his death. There are conditions, though: the young man must be in fine health and have strong personal morals... he must be of sound mind... and he must agree to take the old man's name, Egbert Elvesham, when the time comes.

Reading Link: 'The Story of the Late Mr Elvesham', by H.G. Wells, available at The University of Adelaide Library.

Opening: "My name is Edward George Eden. I was born at Trentham, in Staffordshire. I was orphaned soon after my birth, and was brought up by my uncle George Eden. He educated me generously and fired my ambition to succeed in the world. At his death, four years ago, he left me his entire fortune, the sum of five hundred pounds. In that year of grace, 1886, a not inconsiderable sum. I became a medical student at University College, London. I lodged at 11A University Street. At the time of the beginning of my story, I was taking a pair of shoes to be mended at a shop in the Tottenham Court Road..." --- Edward Eden

Reviews:
I've heard this tale several times before (or something quite like it), so the ending was fairly predictable. Acting was sound, and the delivery (like all the episodes in this series), was slow and well-paced. [5/10] --- zM

A rather simple story with an excellent sense of dawning horror. --- Noelle (7/10)
Let Me See Your Face
See: "The Evil Face"

Little Happenthatch

aka: "Happenthatch"
aka: "Mrs Smiff"
Year: 1969
Duration: 30 min
Genre: Supernatural
Available for Listening Booth: Y
Story by: Collin Brooks, 1955

A writer stays with his cousin at a rural vicarage while he finishes writing his book: "The Epistemological Implications of Practical Psychiatry" [riveting, I'm sure], but gradually becomes more interested in the practical implications of his cousin's sturdy, but shapely, housekeeper who provocatively wears thins muslin frocks... and who happens to cast no shadow.

Possibly based on the Collin Brooks short story "Mrs Smiff" first published in The Third Ghost Book, 1955. [Still waiting for a copy from the library.]

Opening: "It was not until the third morning of my visit that I noticed a peculiarity about her. Until then, I mean apart from her quite striking natural beauty, she had seemed as common place a rural-type as one would expect a young widow named Mrs Bert Smiff to be. Yes, I said Mrs Bert Smiff. Two F's. A score of villagers, dozens of hamlets, could no doubt have matched her with more than comely young matronly women of just her kind of breeding. Mrs Smiff. How could I know when first I arrived at the parsonage of Little Happenthatch that this lady would provide me with the strangest, most inexplicable experience of my entire life? The happenings of that summer are still unexplained. There is no answer, at least not one that would satisfy a gentleman of science. Three summer weeks I intended to spend at Little Happenthatch. On the third day, the mystery of Mrs Smiff began, and the events did not reach their frightening conclusion until twenty days had passed. And on that twentieth day it was long... Beyond Midnight." --- the narrator

Reviews:
Begins with wonderfully eerie music and shows great promise, but plods along without much happening until the finish. Unfortunately, several garbled words/phrases at key points during the climax make the meaning unclear and result in a disappointing/confusing ending. [5/10] --- zM
Locked Room, The
See: "The House Was a Sphinx"
Man Called Hobard, A
See: "Hobart"

Madeira Wine

Year:
Duration: 30 min
Genre: Ghosts
Available for Listening Booth: Y
Story by:

Down-and-out Mr Robinson, with less than a shilling in his pocket, hires on as a clerk at the Sailor's Rest, a decrepit inn run by the expansive Mrs Ambrose Manifold. But there's something odd about Mrs Manifold. Rumour has it she once ran a highly successful inn in Singapore before she skipped out. Nobody knows why. Well... perhaps one person knows why.

Note: Title not provided by Springbok Radio and as yet unverified.

Opening: "I don't know whether I'd have gone to the Sailor's Rest if I'd seen its proprietor before I saw the grimy card with its scrawled [?] in the window. But, perhaps I would. A man with less than a shilling in his pocket and little chance to [enter] that can't hesitate too much. Still, there was something about Mrs [Manifold], something you could 'feel' but hardly put into words. I never saw anyone so fat. Though she was a short woman, she weighed over 300 pounds. It was easy to understand why she preferred to keep to her own room on the fourth floor. A gable room. Mrs [Manifold]. Oh, I can see her now... her fat fingers, her little tiny eyes... and I'm still frightened, just by the memory of her. And to this day I cannot abide the smell of Madeira wine." --- the narrator

Reviews:
Oh, the Captain's in the brig, lads,
     the First Mate's brains are blown.
We'll sail the seven seas, lads,
     and make them all our own.

Oh, the old man's in the deep, lads,
     the madame's packed him [?],
I'll sail the seven seas, lads,
     until I find her home.

A good ghost story, but for some reason the plot didn't grab me as it should have. Too much foreshadowing giving away the ending? Me not paying enough attention to the build-up/lack of involvement? Not sure. Solid acting, though. [6/10] --- zM
Man Who Lost His Soul, The
See: "Sir Derminic's Bargain"
Man Who Sold His Soul, The
See: "Sir Derminic's Bargain"

Manor House, The

Year: 1969
Duration: 30 min
Genre:
Available for Listening Booth: N
Story by:

Opening:

Reviews:

Man's Worth, A

aka: "The Death Wish"
aka: "The Candidate"
Year: 1969
Duration: 30 min
Genre: Occult
Available for Listening Booth: Y
Story by: Henry Slesar, 1961

An oft-hated, up-and-coming executive in the food market business, Burton Grunzer, aged 35, is approached by the secretary of a voluntary-service group called Society for United Action. The members of this organization are engaged in a spot of coordinated 'anthropological psychiatry'... that is to say, Voodoo, and would like to know if Mr Grunzer is interested? Has he ever, for example, personally wished someone dead? Membership? £50 a year.

Reading Link: 'The Candidate', by Henry Slesar, available at http://www.otrplotspot.com

Opening: 'A man's worth can be judged by the calibre of his enemies'. A man's worth can be judged by the calibre of his enemies. Burton Grunzer had encountered the phrase in a pocket-sized biography purchased at a newstand just before the train left the station. 'A man's worth can be judged by the calibre of his enemies.' Burton Grunzer stared reflectively from the murky compartment window. Darkness silvered the glass and gave him nothing to look at but his own image. How many people were enemies of that face, of the eyes narrowed by a myopic squint denied by vanity the correction of spectacles, of the nose, he secretly called patrician, of the mouth, it was hard, unrelenting... cruel even. 'How many enemies have I got? Heh-heh, how many? Oh, I've got a lot of enemies. I'm rich in enemies. Some of them are twenty-four-carat.' This is the story of a man with enemies, this is a tale of a man with foes, this is a story of Burton Grunzer, who collects opponents like spent matches wherever he goes. Heh-heh-heh-heh." --- the narrator

Reviews:
A psychological thriller that slowly pulls you in—developing the build-up, setting the trap—and by the time the trap is sprung you realize you've known for a long time what was coming, but you were still engrossed in the story due to the fine writing and acting. [8/10] --- zM

Marble Knights, The

aka: "October 31st"
aka: "Man-Size in Marble"
Year: 1968
Duration: 30 min
Genre: Creatures
Available for Listening Booth: Y
Story by: E. Nesbit, 1886

Newlyweds Laura and Harry—writer and painter—move to a secluded cottage in the country. Their housekeeper, well-versed in local folklore, tells them the grey marble knights stretched out beside the altar in a nearby Norman church had once been fierce, wicked men—marauders by land and sea—who now come to life each All Saints' Eve and roam the land. Folklore, of course.

Other versions were produced for CBS Radio Mystery Theater and The Hall of Fantasy.

Reading Link: 'Man-Size in Marble', by E. Nesbit, available at Project Gutenberg, Australia.

Opening: "Although every word of this story is as true as despair, I do not expect people to believe it. Nowadays, a rational explanation is required before belief is possible. Let me at once, then, offer a rational explanation. It is held that Harry and Laura Inness were under a delusion on that 31st of October, and that this supposition places the whole matter on a satisfactory and believable basis. But there were three who took part in the events of the 31st. The other man still lives and can speak to the truth of the least credible part of Harry's story. October the 31st; it began like any other last day of the month, and progressed into terror, as it moved... Beyond Midnight." --- the narrator.

Reviews:
Meh. The description of the Norman church and the marble knights is intriguing and promises a suspense-filled episode. Unfortunately, the ensuing story is marred by cloying sentimentality and drab, almost lifeless, acting. The climax is good, but doesn't really make up for the poor build-up. [5/10] --- zM
Marble Room, The
See: "Turning to Marble"
Mask, The
See: "Turning to Marble"
McGraw Shoots Stoney
See: "Mr McGraw and His Victim"

Mexican Mario

Year: 1969
Duration: 30 min
Genre:
Available for Listening Booth: N
Story by:

Opening:

Reviews:
Mkara
See: "Impala"

Monkey's Paw, The

Year: 1968
Duration: 30 min
Genre: Horror / Occult
Available for Listening Booth: Y
Story by: W.W. Jacobs, 1902

An Indian Fakir, a very holy man, put a spell on a desiccated monkey's paw many years ago to show that Fate rules our lives and those who interfere with it do so to their sorrow. The spell allows three separate men to each have three wishes from it. The monkey's paw has now come into the possession of Mr White and his family. They've been warned...

A classic tale which has been produced many times. See the Famous Authors on Radio page for more details.

Reading Link: 'The Monkey's Paw', by W.W. Jacobs, available at Project Gutenberg.

Opening: "Outside, the night was cold and wet. But in the small parlour of Lakesnam Villa the blinds were drawn and the fire burned brightly. Father and son were playing chess. The former, who played a revolutionary game was putting his king into such sharp and unnecessary perils that it even provoked comment from the white-haired old lady knitting placidly by the fire. Father and son. They were the principle actors in this drama of The Monkey's Paw. As were the already mentioned lady and a certain Sergeant-Major Morris who was due to visit Lakesnam Villa on this darkest of nights, when the gods showed their displeasure with the world by drenching it with the cold rain of winter. And with the Sergeant-Major's visit the three inhabitants of the villa moved forward into the terrors that lie... Beyond Midnight." --- the narrator

Reviews:
The story of the monkey's paw terrifies me no matter how many times I listen to it! A very powerful, well-written story which is strong on mood, suspense, and descriptive imagery. The Beyond Midnight version is very good—one of the best—but my copy is marred by poor audio quality. It has very good pacing and delivery, solid acting, and good sound effects (wind/rain, son knocking on door). Better audio quality would bump my rating up one or two notches. (I rate the Nightfall version, which has very good audio quality a 10!). Highly recommended. [8/10] --- zM

Mr McGraw and His Victim

aka: "McGraw Shoots Stoney"
aka: "My Daddy Had No Gun"
aka: "Return of Verge Likens"
Year: 1970
Duration: 30 min
Genre: Murder
Available for Listening Booth: Y
Story by: Davis Grubb, 1950

It was ruled self-defence. Stoney Likens swung a beer bottle at Riley McGraw, and Mr McGraw shot him dead. Nobody liked it, but everybody agreed it was self-defence. Everybody except Stoney's eldest son, Verge. Verge thinks it was cold-blooded murder and he aims to get revenge... no matter how long it takes.

"Return of Verge Likens" was also produced as a teleplay for The Alfred Hitchcock Hour in 1964.

Reading Link: 'Return of Verge Likens', by Davis Grubb, available at http://www.otrplotspot.com

Opening: "Whatever fear or awe or envy the people of Tygarts County felt for Riley McGraw, self-elected emperor of the state, they knew that he had no right to shoot old Stoney Likens that night, outside the Airport Inn. As Verge Likens, Stoney's eldest boy said, 'Daddy didn't have no gun on him. So I just can't see no fair reason for Mr McGraw shooting him'. Beyond Midnight." --- the narrator

Reviews:
A plodding story with a clever ending set in the back-country of West Virginia. [6/10] --- zM
Mrs Smiff
See: "Little Happenthatch"

Mrs Taber's Killer

Year: 1969
Duration: 30 min
Genre:
Available for Listening Booth: N
Story by:

Opening:

Reviews:
My Daddy Had No Gun
See: "Mr McGraw and His Victim"
Night in the Murderer's Den, A
See: "A Night in the Waxworks"

Night in the Waxworks, A

aka: "A Night in the Murderer's Den"
aka: "Waxworks"
aka: "The Waxwork"
Year: 1969
Duration: 30 min
Genre: Horror
Available for Listening Booth: Y
Story by: A.M. Burrage, 1931

An aspiring journalist, Raymond Hewson, seeks to make a name for himself by successfully spending the night amongst the wax murderer's at Mariner's Waxworks and publishing the account.

Versions were produced for Beyond Midnight, The Price of Fear, Sleep No More and Suspense (x3). A teleplay was also produced for Alfred Hitchcock Presents (1959).

Reading Link: 'The Waxwork', by A.M. Burrage, available at http://www.otrplotspot.com

Opening: "The last stragglers were leaving Marriner's Waxworks. The uniformed attendants, glad that another day's work was over, were locking up. On the second floor of the old grey building, the manager, a stout blonde man of smart appearance, was talking to one Raymond Hewson who looked anything but smart. His clothes, although good once, were showing distinct signs of their owner's losing battle with the world." --- the narrator

Reviews:
This is my favourite version of this oft-adapted tale (although the 1956 Suspense version is very good, also). Slow-moving, with almost no music and sound effects, but a strong sense of tension and suspense created through solid acting and pacing. [8/10] --- zM

Creepy, creepy, creepy. --- dakota
Night of the Visitiors, The
See: "The Visitors"
Night Visitors, The
See: "The Visitors"

No-Name Baby

aka: "The Small Assassin"
Year: 1969
Duration: 30 min
Genre: Horror
Available for Listening Booth: Y
Story by: Ray Bradbury, 1962

Alice is convinced that her newborn baby is trying to kill her: the baby lies awake all day long, staring at her and plotting against her, and at night he cries constantly, depriving her of sleep and rest. Day after day this goes on. Sometimes Alice can hear him moving about the house, but when she looks in on him, he is always in his crib staring... staring... staring. It's enough to drive anyone mad.

Reading Link: 'The Small Assassin', by Ray Bradbury, available at Tales of Mystery and Imagination

Opening: [woman] 'David. David?' [narrator] A room floated around her. Sharp instruments hovered, and there were voices and people in sterile, white masks. [woman] 'David? David, I'm being... Why didn't you come, David? I'm dying. Why didn't you come?' [narrator] Beyond Midnight. [baby] 'Try and kill me. Try! I won't die. I won't! Try, try, try, I won't die. I won't.'

Reviews:
Warning: Don't listen to this if you are pregnant or have an infant child! Horrifically realistic with very creepy music and a plot that is downright disturbing. The baby's voice will send chills down your spine. [9/10] --- zM
Nyala
See: "Impala"
October 31st
See: "The Marble Knights"

Party, The

Year:
Duration: 30 min
Genre: Murder
Available for Listening Booth: Y
Story by:

Opening night. After seven long years, actress Laura Laine has finally made it—she is a now a star to be followed. The press are downstairs, the music is thumping, and the party is in full swing, yet 35-year old Laura lingers in her dressing room, pausing to gather the strength needed to face the reporters... reporters who have relentlessly sought to uncover the past which Laura is desperate to keep hidden. Enter, stage left, Laura Laine's thought-to-be-dead husband, who just happens to know her secret.

Note: Title not provided by Springbok Radio and as yet unverified.

Opening: "Laura [Laine], star of Star-Crossed Love, premiered that night, the night of the party. Laura Lane: star, public property. She didn't know (how could she?) that as she sat down in front of her mirror and regarded her lovely (expensive) face, events were beginning which would carry her and one other swiftly... Beyond Midnight." --- the narrator

Reviews:
Meh. A good ending but the build-up didn't really do anything for me. [6/10] --- zM

Paul Henry Expedition, The

aka: "A Smile to Drive You Mad"
Year: 1969
Duration: 30 min
Genre: Adventure
Available for Listening Booth: N
Story by:

The episode I have with this title is the actually "Vulture People". Since I don't have a copy of "The Paul Henry Expedition", I don't know if "A Smile to Drive You Mad" is an alternate name for it or "Vulture People".

Opening:

Reviews:

Paxton's House, The

aka: "The House at Brickett Bottom"
aka: "Brickett Bottom"
Year: 1968
Duration: 30 min
Genre: Ghosts
Available for Listening Booth: Y
Story by: Amyas Northcote, 1921

A pair of sisters accompany their father, the Reverend Maydew, to a rural parsonage, where they become enamoured of an old brick house located in a narrow glen named Brickett Bottom. The house has been occupied by Colonel Paxton and his wife for many years. When Alice (the younger daughter) hurts her ankle, Maggie (the elder) visits the Paxtons and strikes up a friendship with the very charming Mrs Paxton. The only problem is that none of the locals have ever seen the house or heard of the Paxtons.

Another version aired on CBS Radio Mystery Theater (as "The Phantom House")

Reading Link: 'Brickett Bottom', by Amyas Northcote, available at Project Gutenberg, Australia.

Opening: "The Reverend Arthur Maydew worked very hard in a large parish for eleven months of the year. He was also a student and a man of no strong physique. So that when an opportunity was presented to him to take a holiday by exchanging his parsonage in a sprawling, dark industrial town, with the country living of another clergyman in the sunlit south, he was very glad to avail himself of it. Arthur Maydew had two daughters: the heroines of this story set in an English county, shortly after the first World War. Both these girls rejoiced at the prospect of a period of quiet and rest in the pleasant country neighbourhood of Overbury. But their dreams were shattered. From the gentle green acres, the Maydew sisters passed into the dark regions of terror that lie... Beyond Midnight." --- the narrator

Reviews:
A rather simple and boring ghost story. The girls, aged twenty-four and twenty-six, are a pair of giggling, shallow, air-headed, Victorian maidens. Not my type. In fairness to Amyas Northcote, however, this characterization seems to have been added by the Beyond Midnight adaptor. The original story didn't have much characterization at all and focused mainly on the plot. [4/10] --- zM

This the first episode I heard from this series and I have to say it left an impression on me. Was it the idyllic setting of a green countryside? The way the story unfolds with a slight feeling of something amiss in the peace? Good for the ghost story fan. --- Noelle (9/10)

Phantom Coach, The

Year: 1968
Duration: 30 min
Genre: Ghosts
Available for Listening Booth: Y
Story by: Amelia B. Edwards, 1864

Lost on the lonely moors of Northern England, a hunter seeks shelter in the manor of an eccentric recluse. The recluse, a long-forgotten scientist, grudgingly welcomes the hunter for supper and then embarks on an evening of philosophical ramblings. Eager to reach his wife waiting at home though, the hunter interrupts the evening and seeks the Crossroads where he might catch a lift on the mail coach.

Reading Link: 'The Phantom Coach', by Amelia B. Edwards, available at Project Gutenberg, Australia.

Opening: "In the year of 1864, in the December of that year to be more exact, James Murray, Barrister-at-Law, did a lot of grouse shooting. During the last few days of the season he made several trips across the northern moors, after the elusive and soon-to-be-prohibited birds. December, the wind was due east; the moors were bleak and wild. On his last expedition, the very day before the ending of the season, James Murray became hopelessly lost. The first feathery flakes of the coming snow storm fluttered down upon the heather and a leaden evening was closing in all around. The purple moorland melted into a range of low hills. There was not the faintest smoke-wreath. Not the smallest cultivated patch, or fence, or sheep-track. The world had changed. Become hostile. Alien. Murray shouldered his gun and pushed wearily forward on and beyond... Midnight." --- the narrator

Reviews:
Very strong on mood and build-up, but with a rather weak, abrupt ending. The Horror/Supernatural element plays a small role at the very end, but the important part of this episode is the build-up. The music, chiefly clarinet, is mournful and bleak and exactly matches the moor on a late winter evening, while, later, violins accent the headlong rush of the phantom coach. The sound effects are eerie (creaking doors, wind, barking dogs, horse tack). The visual imagery is etched into my mind... a man hopelessly trudging through the snow contemplating death... the study/reading room of the eccentric scientist... the mouldy curtains of the coach. Perfect for listening to on a cold winter night as the wind howls outside. [8/10] --- zM

Phantom Groom, The

Year: 1969
Duration: 30 min
Genre:
Available for Listening Booth: N
Story by:

The episode I have with this title is the actually "The Phantom Coach".

Reviews:

Picture, The

Year: 1970
Duration: 30 min
Genre: Supernatural
Available for Listening Booth: Y
Story by:

Jane Brooks is startled when her dustbin lid flies off and lands a couple of metres away. But surprise gradually gives way to alarm, fright and, eventually, terror when neither Jane nor her husband, James, can find evidence of natural causes—no people hanging about... no animal spoor... no wind or earthquakes. Whatever it is, is very, very fast. Eventually a hunter friend hits on the idea of rigging up cameras and trip wires to take some photographs.

Opening: "[James and Jane talking excitedly, then] ...James Brooks was his name. He had been in South Africa for three years. Leaving England on an impulse, England and the girl-friend, he had come to seek his fortune in a city called Johannesburg that was said to be made of gold. Within a month he had decided he might as well have stayed in Sheffield, for there was nothing 'African' about Johannesburg. Then the city got under his skin and he saved and bought a small car and began to go on weekend safaris to the Hartebeestpoort Dam, and once he even drove to Durban. He wrote four times a week to a girl called Jane, and when she finally left Southampton University with an upper Second or a lower First or something in History, she flew from a grey United Kingdom into the hard, bright sunlight of Jan Smuts Airport. By this time, he had rented a cottage at a place called Kyalami, where they race motorcars. And so began in earnest, James Brooks' African adventure, 'The Picture'." --- the narrator

Reviews:
A pleasant episode with a not-so-very-scary supernatural element. Acting was sound. Sound effect were good. This seems as though it is based on an older legend, but I haven't been able to find any sources. [7/10] --- zM

Radiation

Year: 1969
Duration: 30 min
Genre: Horror
Available for Listening Booth: Y
Story by:

Livermore National Laboratory, California. An accident involving a highly-classified project results in serious radiation poisoning of a civilian truck driver. Secret notes are read and passed about... experts are consulted... the truck driver is detained. It's all very hush-hush, and I really can't say any more about it.

Opening: "[phone rings, Ellison answers] 'Hello?' [McIntyre replies] 'Is this Commander [Ellison]? Permanent Officer-of-the-Day?' [Ellison] 'Yeah, yeah... Quarter to Four!' [McIntyre] 'Lieutenant McIntyre, sir, temporary OD. I'm in the administration building. There are two security officers here with a patient. A civilian. Huh? Oh, just a minute, sir.' [Ellison] 'I don't believe it, not at quarter-to-four in the morning. Nobody, but nobody...' [Captain] 'Captain Blankenship here, Naval intelligence. We have a highly classified emergency on our hands and we need you, Commander, immediately!' [Ellison] 'Give me ten minutes.' "

Reviews:
A truly bizarre episode which seems out of character for the series; I'm not sure what to make of it. I feel as though I'm missing something important... like a current event from 1969 that I should be aware of? Fun fact: between 1946 and 1970, the United States dumped 90,543 containers of radioactive waste into the Gulf of Mexico and the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans. That in itself is pretty scary. [5/10] --- zM

Rendezvous

Year: 1969
Duration: 30 min
Genre:
Available for Listening Booth: N
Story by:

Opening:

Reviews:
Room, The
See: "The Yellow Room", or
See: "Eloise's Whereabouts"

Rupert Orange

aka: "What Happened to Rupert Orange"
aka: "Whatever Became of Rupert Orange"
aka: "The Bargain of Rupert Orange"
Year: 1970
Duration: 30 min
Genre: Supernatural
Available for Listening Booth: Y
Story by: Vincent O'Sullivan, 1896

Socialite Rupert Orange lived with his aunt in New York till he was twenty-four years old, and when she died, leaving her entire estate to him, a furious contest arose over her will. The Court declared that the old lady had died lunatic; that she had been unduly influenced; and, that consequently her testament was void. So began the fall of Rupert Orange from opulence to poverty... followed by an unexpected rise.

Reading Link: 'The Bargain of Rupert Orange', by Vincent O'Sullivan, available at Project Gutenberg, Australia.

See also: "Sir Derminic's Bargain".

Opening: "...Whatever became of Rupert Orange? At every society party in London, in New York, anywhere, such a question was once asked frequently, now not so often. Soon it will never be asked again, because people forget people. Public figures fade into insignificance, great stars of the stage and screen are forgotten all to easily, and heroes we might owe our lives to could die in rags for all we care, within a few short years of their exploits. Rupert Orange. Rupert Orange was no hero, of course, he starred on no stage, although he was at one time a familiar figure at London first nights, and would never have dreamt of attending if a box had not been available. A box meant a beautiful woman, and whether the play was good or bad, the evening required food and wine at its end. Rupert Orange blazed like a comet for a few short, brilliant years, but when his name slipped from memory in the early 30s, there were precious few to mourn a man who had gone forever... Beyond Midnight."

Reviews:
A long, drawn out build-up with a straight-forward ending. I expected some sort of twist, but no. The ending of the written story is vague, though much is implied. The radio adaptation is more specific and ties up some loose ends and is more satisfying. Even so, a mediocre story with adequate acting. [6/10] --- zM

Sammy

Year: 1969
Duration: 30 min
Genre:
Available for Listening Booth: N
Story by:

Opening:

Reviews:

Sarah

Year: 1970
Duration: 30 min
Genre:
Available for Listening Booth: N
Story by:

Opening:

Reviews:

Sheriff's Wife, The

Year: 1969
Duration: 30 min
Genre: Murder
Available for Listening Booth: Y
Story by:

A sheriff, fed up with hanging innocent people and disgusted at the unfair trial a young artist is receiving, swears he will never hang another man. Instead, he slips the accused six hacksaw blades and provides a foolproof plan of escape. Sometimes, however, things don't go according to plan.

Note: Title not provided by Springbok Radio and as yet unverified.

Opening: "[attorney] 'I only ask you to bear in mind... I only ask you to bear in mind that this creature, Burke, is on trial, charged with the most brutal murder ever committed in this county, the most brutal it has ever been my duty to present to a jury. Now, I'm not going to keep you much longer, but whenever possible, I prefer to present my cases... [fades] [narrator] The perspiring prosecutor loosened his tie and continued his summation. His voice rose and fell like an old-fashioned Shakespearean actor's. Burke's skin itched. The little courtroom, sweltering and airless in the July heat had taken on the unreal blur of something experienced in a nightmare, or seen through the walls of an aquarium. He knew now that he would hang."

Reviews:
A slow, meandering build-up, followed by a nice, twisty ending that I quite enjoyed. I enjoyed this more the second time I listened... perhaps I was not quite so impatient? [6/10] --- zM

Short Circuit

Year: 1969
Duration: 30 min
Genre: Horror
Available for Listening Booth: Y
Story by:

A reclusive millionaire builds an isolated mansion to secure his privacy and keep the world out... complete with laminated steel floors, ceilings, and walls; polarized glass windows with steel shutters which can repel armour-piercing bullets; sealed fuses; and a self-contained, emergency backup generator... but his high-tech security backfires when he himself becomes trapped within.

Possibly based on the short story "Short Circuit" by Charles Eric Maine, first published in Tales of Unease, 1966 [still waiting for a copy from the library].

Opening: "It isn't only the ghoul, the vampire, the un-dead dead, the scream in the night, or similar shafts of fear selected from the quiver of horror that spell-bind the listener and fascinate the casual turner-on of the radio switch. In this tale, there is nothing outwardly ghostly. It is a story of unease, and we challenge you to make your radio set silent without listening all the way to 'Short Circuit'." --- the narrator

Reviews:
I saw the first crisis coming a mile off and just kept shaking my head at the folly of building such a house without proper safeguards, but the second crisis took me completely by surprise. Enjoyable, but neither a stellar production nor a gripping story. [6/10] --- zM
Signal-Man, The
See: "The Train"

Sir Derminic's Bargain

aka: "The Man Who Sold His Soul"
aka: "The Man Who Lost His Soul"
aka: "Sir Dominick's Bargain"
Year: 1969
Duration: 30 min
Genre: Supernatural
Available for Listening Booth: Y
Story by: Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu, 1872

Sir Dominick Sarsfield inherits an estate—one of the finest in Ireland—but spends much of his time drinking, dicing, racing, and playing cards. In a few short years the estate is in debt and Sir Dominick is a distressed man on the brink of suicide. There doesn't seem to be a viable alternative, until he receives an offer...

Reading Link: 'Sir Dominick's Bargain', by J. Sheridan Le Fanu, available at http://www.otrplotspot.com

See also: "Rupert Orange".

Opening: "Oh yes. Oh. Oh, that's beautiful... Lovely... [It's] only lovely because it's in ruins... Looks so lonely. Forgotten. Dunoran. After all this time the name's still there. Could a place like this ever be built up again, I wonder? No, never. Too far gone. So still..."

Reviews:
If death was a thing
     that money could buy,
The rich, they would live
     and the poor, they would die.

A simple, predictable story which is nevertheless very well told, with solid acting and a striking ending. The Irish accent of the 'dark-featured, hunchbacked old man' is a little hard on my unaccustomed ears, but quite enjoyable (I bumped my rating up one notch after reading the written story, as I was better able to understand what was going on). [7/10] --- zM
Sir Dominick's Bargain
See: "Sir Derminic's Bargain"

Smee

Year: 1968
Duration: 30 min
Genre: Ghosts
Available for Listening Booth: Y
Story by: A.M. Burrage, 1929

Christmas season—a season for large gatherings and childish games in sprawling country houses. Fourteen young adults decide to play a game of smee (a variation on hide-and-seek, played in the dark) with unexpected results. The house is large; the hiding places, obscure. Has everyone been found?

Reading Link: 'Smee', by A.M. Burrage, available at http://www.otrplotspot.com

Snippet: "...Smee. It's a game, something like go-hide-and-seek. They played it that night at the Sangston's. Just an ordinary game, Smee. Great fun at Christmas. An ordinary Christmas, that is. But there was nothing ordinary about that Christmas night." --- the narrator

Reviews:
A childish opening... or rather, a bunch of adults behaving childishly... turned me off from the start. A simple story with a very obvious conclusion and no real excitement, suspense, or drama. The acting seemed forced. I enjoyed the written story more than the adaptation. [6/10] --- zM
Smile to Drive You Mad, A
See: "Paul Henry Expedition, The"

Something Haunts This House

Year: 1969
Duration: 30 min
Genre: Ghosts
Available for Listening Booth: Y
Story by:

Newlyweds Dobbin [?] and Kate [?] return from their honeymoon in high spirits, giggling, laughing and having a grand old time. Their delight with their new home wanes, however, and tensions rise as Kate becomes convinced that someone—or something—is watching her... or stalking her.

Opening: unintelligible

Reviews:
Sadly, nothing original here. --- Robert Mayer

Very poor audio quality. The lovey-dovey newlywed-giggling grated on my nerves, but was offset by some nice screaming toward the end. The plot and resolution are standard fare and have been done many times before.

[SPOILER] The back-story is delivered as a short 4-minute narrative by the doctor to Dobbin. A man named Jack Faber built the house in 1820 and brought his bride there to live. Two years later, he caught her with a lover... killed the lover, then strangled his wife. At the trial he vowed, "Even though you hang me I shall return to my home, and I shall dwell there with my bride!" Now it is some 150 years later. [END SPOILER] My very low rating is due largely to poor audio quality. Excellent audio quality might bump this up to a 4. [1/10] --- zM
Something on His Mind
See: "Borneo"

Speciality of the House, The

Year: 1970
Duration: 30 min
Genre:
Available for Listening Booth: N
Story by:

Opening:

Reviews:
Spider, The
See: "Spider-Phobia"

Spider-Phobia

aka: "A Fear of Spiders"
aka: "The Spider"
Year: 1968
Duration: 30 min
Genre: Horror
Available for Listening Booth: Y
Story by: Elizabeth Walter, 1967

Returning home late one night, Justus Ancorwen is confronted by his worst nightmare—a huge spider lurking beside his drawing-room door. He makes a run for it and barely escapes to the corridor outside his flat, but doesn't know where to turn for help in the middle of the night. He chooses Isabel Bishop—a woman who lives just upstairs... a woman with whom he had a relationship, but has been ignoring for the past several months... Bad idea.

"The Spider" was also produced as a teleplay for Night Gallery in 1971, (as "A Fear of Spiders").

Reading Link: 'The Spider', by Elizabeth Walter, available at http://www.otrplotspot.com

Opening: "Justus Ancorwen, age thirty-five, bachelor. Plump. A magazine writer specializing in cozy chats, preferably with titled persons. Conceited. Lived in a flat. An expensive flat, directly below a lady by the name of Isabel Bishop. Used to pay court to Isabel. Tired of her. Cut her out of his life. Justus Ancorwen, self-satisfied, a glutton for good food. Always avoided bread and potatoes because of his figure. Justus Ancorwen, all his life an unreasoning fear of... spiders. Since childhood, Justus had dreaded that a spider might get on him, it's eight legs running up his flesh. He was convinced that he would die if one of the bent-legged brutes should as much as touch him. The very thought of the spider was enough to plunge Justus into the abyss... Beyond Midnight." --- the narrator

Reviews:
Weak plot with mediocre acting. The visual imagery in the written story is quite good, but the radio adaptation sacrifices detail for a lot of banging and clanging about in the middle of the night and, consequently, is hard to follow. Much of the detail was left to my imagination... I guess I don't have a very good imagination. [5/10] --- zM
Story of the Late Mr Elvesham, The
See: "The Late Mr Elsham"

Storybook Man

Year: 1969
Duration: 30 min
Genre:
Available for Listening Booth: N
Story by:

Opening:

Reviews:
Taboo
See: "The Werewolf"

Take Your Partners

Year: 1969
Duration: 30 min
Genre: Ghosts
Available for Listening Booth: Y
Story by: Ronald Blythe, 1955

The romance of a log fire entices an old man to reminisce with his grandson about a ball he once attended... and the woman he met there. It was long ago and life was simpler then. And the ball was held at Campion's. Ah. Campion's. An invitation to a ball at Campion's and you were set for the whole year... tennis, the Bishop's garden-party and no end of other little beanos.

"Take Your Partners" was first published in The Third Ghost Book in 1955.

Reading Link: 'Take Your Partners', by Ronald Blythe, available at http://www.otrplotspot.com

Opening: "There is the kind of story where the listener is aware all the time of an impending doom, a gradual buildup of terror towards a grand climax. Then again, there is the tale which seems gentle enough, a story of normal happy people, recognizable scenes and not until the very end, indeed not until the last minute or so, does it become apparent that something is very, very wrong. My play tonight falls into this later category. We present "Take Your Partners" by Ronald Blythe, the forty-fifth consecutive production in Beyond Midnight."

Reviews:
Strong on mood... weak on plot. Predictable ending. A milieu story, i.e. a journey into another time and place where mood and experience are more important than plot. Enjoyable, if you know what to expect, but incredibly boring if you don't. This is a slow-moving and dreamy, yet pensive, tale well suited for a late-night glass of wine. Don't expect any action or conflict, though. Just relax and imagine life as it once was... [7/10] --- zM

Tangled Way, The

Year:
Duration: 30 min
Genre: Occult
Available for Listening Booth: Y
Story by: Michael McCabe

Young Alexander Tavert, visiting his uncle in the Shetland Isles, discovers strange symbols in a disused passageway and begins to fear for the lives of himself and a female visitor when evidence suggests his uncle's allegiances might have a dark undertone.

Opening: [man] "...delighted to meet you, too uncle. I-I hope you'll not mind me calling you 'uncle'. After all, I know it's only by marriage." [uncle] "Uncle will do. Uncle will do. They all called [me] uncle—your father's full brother, Elsie, Norma, Matilda, Edna, and all their sisters, all called me uncle. Well, take yer bag, pick up yer feet, we've a fair walk. The house is set well back. I built every brick of her with my own hands, and I completed the whole building and the barn without another man's hands to help me, inside of three years." [man]

"Alexander [Tavert's] my name. I was 27 when I went to stay with my uncle [Foylan] in the [Shetland Isles]. He was a recluse, a one-time minister of the old kirk. A man who had become disillusioned with his god for some reason. A man who'd had three wives and never an heir to his name. My first impressions when the launch had dumped me on that desolate shore full of seagull cryings, [bladderweed], shells, and my father's half-brother as big as a barn, are difficult to recall after the passage of years, but I do know that for some strange reason I couldn't fathom, I felt a kind of awe that was not far removed from fear. I turned and watched the launch, but she was already a quarter of a mile out towards the mainland again. I shook uncle [Foylan's] great hand, and so began the most terrifying weeks of my life." --- the narrator

"In our series, Beyond Midnight, we present 'The Tangled Way' written and produced by Michael McCabe."

Reviews:
The best part is a good to strong set-up in terms of the uncle's portrayal, although the ending has a sense of 'we've been here before.' --- Robert Mayer

First time I've heard that definition of 'white-livered': '...it means no woman can ever bear him a normal [breathing] child without losing her life as well as being delivered of a still-born bairn.' --- dakota

A slow-moving tale with good pacing and a strong build-up. Eerily discordant music helped set the mood right from the start and was followed immediately with solid characterization and foreshadowing when the uncle tells his nephew "I play hard. I play to win. And I rarely do aught else but win". Just when I was getting the feeling the plot was going to break new ground, it ended abruptly with a weak, ambiguous ending... as if the author couldn't be bothered to tidy things up. Disappointing. [6/10] --- zM
Terror Killed the Laughter
See: "The Werewolf"
Thing in Cabin 105, The
See: "All at Sea"

Thirteenth Elephant, The

Year: 1970
Duration: 30 min
Genre: Supernatural
Available for Listening Booth: Y
Story by:

Local headmen complain to the Kenyan government in Nairobi that a renegade herd of elephants (jumbos) is destroying their crops and damaging their shambas. Two young hunters are hired to thin the herd, but they cannot find it—it seems to be hiding. Desperate, they ask a local witch doctor for help. He agrees to tell them where the herd is... as long as they promise to kill no more than twelve elephants.

See also: "Impala".

Opening: "...Africa where many believe man had his very beginnings. Africa, where the most unbelievable but true stories originate. Tonight, in Beyond Midnight, we present "The Thirteenth Elephant" ... "Beyond Midnight" ... "Robert [Bryant] and John [Younger] were hunters, or so they were pleased to style themselves. The year was '28. Europe and North America were swamped in Jazz, racketeering, money, breadlines, and starvation. It was, as always, an unfair world where the poor rub shoulders with the rich in the hope that something would 'rub off' on them. To [Bryant and Younger] though, beginning their careers as hunters of elephant in Kenya, the not-so-gay '20s and the big, bright cities of the world might just as well have been on the moon." --- the narrator

Reviews:
As with 'Impala', poor audio quality combined with many African names and places obscure some of the details. Mediocre plot. Adequate acting. [5/10] --- zM

Time for Thunder, A

aka: "Cliffs of Bembridge"
Year: 1969
Duration: 30 min
Genre: Time Travel
Available for Listening Booth: Y
Story by: Michael McCabe

During the holidays, a man visits his life-long friends on their centuries-old estate and falls in love with the portrait of a long-dead woman. Later that night, a strange thunderstorm transports him back in time, to 1737, where he has a chance to meet her.

A tip of the hat to observant listener Noelle who noticed that "A Time for Thunder" takes place on the cliffs of Bembridge.

Opening: "[Christmas reunion of old friends, followed by...] They were my dearest friends, always had been, always will be. [Petal] and Christopher [Farringford]. I once proposed to her, but she told me she loved me far too much to marry me. A month later, she went to the altar with my best friend. And I spent the next five years puzzling out how a beautiful girl could possibly love someone 'too much' to marry them. I went abroad. China, Australia, East Africa. I enjoyed good times, experienced the ebb and flow of fortune. Never married. Never forgot Petal. Then one day, I grew sick of travelling. I'd made money, but I didn't have much I wanted to do with it, so I sent a telegram to Seapoint, Bembridge, the Isle of Wight, on the off-chance that the Farringfords still lived there. They did... with four children. She was lovelier than ever. It was Christmastime. December the 19th, as a matter of fact. The strangest Christmas I've ever known. My story doesn't directly concern the gorgeous Petal, or her husband Chris, it concerns... another. In all my days, my memory, I shall never, never forget her." --- the narrator

"In our series, Beyond Midnight, we present 'A Time for Thunder', written and produced by Michael McCabe." --- the announcer

Reviews:
Another of the slow-moving, dreamy tales that Beyond Midnight does so well. Rich in detail; very strong in descriptive imagery. The music fits the mood perfectly—melancholy in spots, festive and gay in others. Solid acting by the male lead, but the dialogue sometimes slipped from romantic to mawkish and I had a hard time not laughing. I have very little patience with the "I-just-met-you-but-I-have-loved-you-all-my-life" school of literature. But even with the distracting dialogue, this story seems to work. It is a tender, sentimental, love story, well-suited for a quiet evening. [7/10] --- zM

Train, The

aka: "Hello, Below There"
aka: "The Signal-Man"
Year: 1969
Duration: 30 min
Genre: Ghosts
Available for Listening Booth: Y
Story by: Charles Dickens, 1866

Yet another rendition of that classic horror tale "The Signal-Man", by Charles Dickens.

A very faithful re-telling of Charles Dickens' classic tale. In times past, Signal-men manned outposts (signal boxes) along railways. Telegraph lines connected these signal boxes and provided a means of transmitting warnings up and down the line. Upon receipt of a warning, the signal-man would light a lantern and alert passing trains. Interestingly, one of the jobs of the signal-man was to verify that each passing train still had its caboose attached. If the caboose didn't arrive with the rest of the train, the signal-man knew the intervening section of track was NOT clear and he would sound the alarm.

Reading Link: 'The Signal-Man', by Charles Dickens, available at The University of Adelaide Library.

Opening: "'Halloa! Below there!' When the Signal-Man heard my voice thus calling to him, he was standing at the door of his box, with a flag in his hand, furled around its short pole. One would have thought he could not have doubted from what quarter the voice came; but instead of looking up to where I stood on the top of a steep cutting over the railway line, he turned himself about, and looked down the line. There was something remarkable about the man, about the way he stood, something strange, perhaps uncanny, but certainly I would have turned such a though mere imagination, then. I know now what was remarkable about that man, and even though years have passed I still see his figure foreshortened and shadowed, down in the deep trench, my figure high above him, so steeped in the glow of an angry sunset, that I shaded my eyes with my hand before I saw him at all." --- the narrator

Reviews:
One of the best recordings of "The Signal-Man" that I've heard. Dickens' tale is so well-written that, in my opinion, modern adaptations can't do it justice (most of this script is taken directly from Dickens). The acting is muted... allowing the full force of Dickens' wonderfully descriptive language to shine through. Strong foreshadowing builds suspense throughout, but doesn't tip its hand, so to speak, so the ending, though foreshadowed, is still a surprise. [8/10] --- zM

True Ghost Story, A

aka: "Dear Ghost..."
Year: 1969
Duration: 30 min
Genre: Ghosts
Available for Listening Booth: Y
Story by: Fielden Hughes, 1965

Sevastopol Terrace, Crome Stratford. A writer staying at the widow Mrs Wane's house, finds himself the unwitting vehicle for her dead husband, Sidney, to reach back from the grave and deliver a final, parting message.

"Dear Ghost..." was first published in The Fourth Ghost Book, 1965

Opening: "Dear ghost. Dear ghost... Dear ghost. This is a true story. There's not much point in inventing ghost stories. Anyone can do it. It is rather like playing a game whose rules one has made up without telling anyone else what they are. The events I am going to report took place in the glorious blaze in the most marvellous summer in living memory. England. The summer of 1921. Good, it was, that summer to be alive, but to be young was very heaven. I was as old as the century, 21." --- the narrator

Reviews:
Not nearly as good as Hughes' written story... even though many of the events and much of the dialogue are the same. By editing (thinning down) the written story, many of the details which create the buildup and establish the mood are lost. We are left with nebulous feelings which lack strength and build toward nothing. As a result the ending is weak and ambiguous. [5/10] --- zM

Turning to Marble

aka: "The Marble Room"
aka: "The Mask"
Year: 1969
Duration: 30 min
Genre: Super Science / Horror
Available for Listening Booth: Y
Story by: Robert W. Chambers, 1895

Sculptor Boris Yvain discovers a chemical solution that that turns living objects to marble—lilies, goldfish, rabbits—a curiosity he has no intention of exploiting, for doing so could destroy sculpture the same way that photography has destroyed painting. He shares this discovery, however, with his long-time painter friend, Alec, but the conversation becomes strained when Geneviève arrives... a woman both men love.

Reading Link: 'The Mask', by Robert W. Chambers, available at Project Gutenberg, as a short story within a collection called 'The King in Yellow'.

Opening: "[Boris] 'There is no danger, if you choose the right moment. That golden ray is the signal. Now. There, you see? Without a flaw. Oh, what sculptor could reproduce that? The Easter lily which Geneviève brought to me this morning from Notre Dame? Turned to stone, to the purest marble!' [Man] 'I know nothing of chemistry, Boris, but how? I mean...' [Boris] 'Ah, don't ask me the reasons. It never fails though. Yesterday, I tried one of Geneviève's goldfish. There it is.' [Narrator] 'The other man looked to where Boris' hand pointed. The goldfish that once had floated in a glass bowl, now lay upon a small antique table, sculptured in marble. The stone was beautifully veined with a feint blue, and from somewhere within came a rosy light, like the tint which slumbers in an opal. When the Russian-born sculptor had dropped the lily into the basin, the liquid it held had lost its crystalline clearness. For a second, the flower was enveloped in a milk-white foam, which disappeared leaving the fluid opalescent. Changing tints of orange and crimson played over the surface, and then, what seemed to be a ray of pure sunlight, struck through from the bottom where the lily was resting. It was at that precise moment, Boris had plunged a hand into the basin and drawn out a marble flower." --- the narrator

Snippet: "The mask of self-deception was no longer a mask for me, it was a part of me. Night lifted it, laying bare the stifled truth below; but there was no one to see except myself, and when the day broke the mask fell back again of its own accord."

Reviews:
I thought I had this one figured out right from the start, but I was wrong! The love triangle between Boris, Alec, and Genevieve suggested a mundane conclusion, so I was pleasantly surprised when the story veered off in a new direction. Acting, music and sound effects were solid, but my copy suffered from poor audio quality—many phrases were muddled, which obscured key plot developments. I finally had to download a copy of the story and read along. Better audio quality would bump my rating up a notch. [7/10] --- zM
Under the Hau Tree
See: "Under the Hull Tree"

Under the Hull Tree

aka: "Under the Hau Tree"
Year: 1969
Duration: 30 min
Genre: Ghosts
Available for Listening Booth: Y
Story by: Katherine Yates, 1925

A mysterious travelling couple are difficult to trace, as their names are forgotten by everyone they encounter and even disappear from the hotel registry!

Based on the Katherine Yates short story "Under the Hau Tree", first published in Weird Tales, 1925.

Opening: "The woman was stringing scarlet wiliwili seeds into a barbaric necklace. The man was idly looking through a basket of unmounted photographic prints. The drooping branches of the Hau tree shut out the glare of the late-afternoon sun, and the fluttering leaves were backgrounded by a purple-blue horizon, from which long lines of white surf came rolling in, curling nearer and nearer, until they washed softly up the sand to the line of rocks. The man continued to toss the prints over idly. Suddenly he stopped and bent forward. He bent forward over one of them. His expression was at first one of amazement, [is] changed into fear, and then disbelief illumined his face as he turned to the woman. 'Where did you get this one?' This is a true story. I shall not name the person who recounted it to me. I have no proof of its authenticity. I merely offer it to you as something quiet unbelievable, and yet, it happened. Hawaii. Under the Hau Tree." --- the narrator

Reviews:
While I guessed the ending to this tale about two-thirds through the program, this is still one of the most interesting entries of Beyond Midnight. While most episodes in this South African series are set in England or non-descript locations, this episode goes deeply into the history of a South African family, features local accents, and even makes brief use of the Afrikaans language in one scene. Oddly enough, the immediate setting for all this is a resort in Hawaii! --- Anonymous

Yes, it's essentially a modern twist on a classic ghost story, but it demonstrates why Beyond Midnight clearly has to be listened to. Unlike like many horror/ghost/terror shows, Beyond Midnight operates with a clear sense of knowing when to be restrained and when to go over the top, particularly when it uses a narrator. That sense of restraint here allows you to be sucked and dragged into the story until you realize how far you've allowed yourself to be pulled in, even if you've already guessed the ending. --- Rob Mayer

To appreciate any audio drama you must be in the right frame of mind. The first time I listened to this, years ago, I was in a hurry and I wasn't too impressed. The story was predictable and the pace, too slow. This round, however, I took my time, relishing the details and allowing the suspense to build. As a result, I enjoyed it much more. [7/10] --- zM

Uninvited Face

Year: 1969
Duration: 30 min
Genre:
Available for Listening Booth: N
Story by: Michael Asquith ??

"The Uninvited Face" was first published in The Third Ghost Book in 1955.

Opening:

Reviews:
Upper Berth, The
See: "All at Sea"

Visitors, The

aka: "The Night Visitors"
aka: "The Night of the Visitors"
Year: 1970
Duration: 30 min
Genre: Time Travel
Available for Listening Booth: Y
Story by:

Colin Hunt, a plantation owner in Sierra Leone, is relaxing on his stoop early one evening when a self-assured young man (Philip Milton) arrives and starts acting as if he owns the place! Soon, friends of Philip (Ann and David Stewart) arrive and start demanding what Colin is doing in their home...

Opening: "I'm a cocoa man. Took over a rice plantation back in the '20s, rolled up my sleeves, reorganized the soil, got it to do what I wanted it to do, and put in cocoa. Rice erodes the soil, you see, in the uplands. The Southeastern province is the richest in Sierra Leone. Lovely crop, cocoa. Harvest it and you don't feel bad. Not wicked like you do when you put a chopper or a saw against a tree. I'm soft about trees; I prefer them to people if the truth were known. Anyway, that's enough about cocoa and trees. I've got a story to tell and it's one of the most impossible you've ever heard. One of the most impossible anyone ever heard. I wouldn't believe it at all if I were you. Won't make any difference to me. Unfortunately, I'm stuck with it, because you see it all happened to me. The oddest night of my life. The night of... The Visitors." --- the narrator

Reviews:
A plodding story without much suspense. Strong foreshadowing gives the ending away early on, but great descriptive language, entertaining dialogue, and fine acting still manage to create a sense of mystery. [7/10] --- zM
Visits, The
See: "The House"

Voice, The

Year: 1969
Duration: 30 min
Genre:
Available for Listening Booth: N
Story by:

Opening:

Reviews:

Vulture People

Year: 1969
Duration: 30 min
Genre: Horror
Available for Listening Booth: Y
Story by:

The injured leader of an archaeological expedition into the Amazon waxes jealous when his wife and their amorous Brazilian guide depart for help—so jealous that he sports truck with murderous natives known as the 'Vulture People' to retrieve her.

This episode is sometimes mislabelled as 'The Paul Henry Expedition'.

Opening: "Sir Cedric [Harbin], the archeologist, had been lying in his confined canvas cot for eight days and nights. A young Xavante native fanned him constantly to keep away the mosquitoes and the tiny vicious [hyeim] flies. Occasionally, Sir Cedric tried to sit up, despite the adhesive strapped over his bare chest like a cocoon. But it was always the same, he sank back with a groan. The Mato Grosso interior. Harbin. Three broken ribs. Harbin? Sir Cedric Harbin. But boa constrictors are no respecters of titles. What's a knight of the realm to a great reptile disturbed from its slumber? It acted in the only way possible. It whipped its coils around the blundering human and squeezed and squeezed and Sir Cedric, archeologist, passed from the dimming light of the jungle into and beyond, midnight" --- the narrator

Reviews:
My copy of this has very poor audio quality, which, when combined with Brazilian places names and accents, makes the episode very difficult to follow. Better audio quality would bump this up one, maybe two, ratings. Even though the foreshadowing is pretty strong, the exact ending is a bit of a surprise. Update: found a better quality encoding, so I'm bumping the rating up from five. [7/10] --- zM
Watchers, The
See: "Insect Man"

Watches by the Dead

Year: 1969
Duration: 30 min
Genre: Supernatural
Available for Listening Booth: N
Story by:

Opening:

Reviews:
Water's Edge
See: "The Fifty-Six G's"
Waxwork
See: "A Night in the Waxworks"

Wedding, The

Year: 1969
Duration: 30 min
Genre: Supernatural
Available for Listening Booth: Y
Story by:

To everyone's surprise, beautiful and flighty Mae Foster suddenly agrees to marry geeky, yet persistent, John Charrington. Friends speculate that Charrington has unduly influenced Miss Foster, but when the wedding date is set and invitations are sent it is obvious the betrothed are committed to spending eternity together.

Snippet: "It was true. There wasn't a man in Barkham that wasn't in love with Mae Foster. Oh, I remember her so well, the picture of her is imprinted on my mind. I had asked her twice myself. She laughed, of course, she always laughed, as if the whole idea of matrimony was the funniest joke in the world. I have to confess that we all secretly believed that Charrington had used something other than persuasion with her. The queer thing about it was that when we congratulated Miss Foster, she blushed and smiled and dimpled for all the world as though she were in love with the man, as if she'd been in love with him all the time. Upon my word, I think she had been. Women are strange, impossible creatures. We were all asked to the wedding. September the 19th, 1893. The date is engraven upon my mind." --- the narrator

Reviews:
Strong foreshadowing gives the ending away very early on and, contrasted with "The Visitors", weak acting and uninspired dialogue strip the story of any remaining mystery or suspense. Mildly entertaining, but not a story you'll want to listen to twice. [6/10] --- zM

The feeling of having heard the story more than once is prevalent from the opening. The pace was moderately slow with lingering foreshadowing detracting surprise from the ending. Worth a listen to. --- Noelle (6/10)

Werewolf, The

aka: "Terror Killed the Laughter"
aka: "Taboo"
Year: 1969
Duration: 30 min
Genre: Creatures
Available for Listening Booth: Y
Story by: Geoffrey Household, 1939

Kyra Vaughan and her husband meet Lewis Banning while vacationing at Zweibergen, a small village in the Carpathian Mountains, during the Summer of 1926. Two local men have vanished during the past week and the townspeople are convinced a werewolf is responsible. Vaughan and Banning take turns acting as bait to lure the werewolf out so the other can kill it.

Based on the Geoffrey Household short story "Taboo", first published in The Salvation of Pisco Gabar, 1939. Another version was produced for Escape.

Snippet: "...Bright sun. The song of the birds. High and remote. The year, 1926. Europe. Zweibergen. Those are the facts—facts that just a few people can never forget, and would give anything to forget. They were happy that day, very happy. The Vaughans, Eric and his American wife, and their visitor, Lewis Banning. Three civilized people had met together in a remote place. It was natural that they should wish to spend longer in one another's company. They were happy, that day. But, terror killed the laughter." --- the narrator

Reviews:
Geoffrey Household's story "Taboo" is a well-crafted tale which builds suspense throughout and ends abruptly with a subtle, easily-misunderstood ending. Upon reflection, however, the meaning of the title becomes nauseatingly obvious. This adaptation, however, twists the story around and completely rewrites the ending, obliterating the original meaning and substituting one that is far less offensive. As a result, much of the impact is lost and we are left with just another werewolf story. The Escape version is much closer to the original, but even so, the ending is made extra subtle... deliberately obscuring Household's meaning. I recommend reading the original story. [6/10] --- zM
What Happened to Rupert Orange
See: "Rupert Orange"
Whatever Became of Rupert Orange?
See: "Rupert Orange"

White Revised

Year: 1969
Duration: 30 min
Genre:
Available for Listening Booth: N
Story by:

Opening:

Reviews:

Yarrow

aka: "An Eye for an Eye"
Year: 1969
Duration: 30 min
Genre: Horror
Available for Listening Booth: Y
Story by: Sir Charles Lloyd Birkin (as by Charles Lloyd), 1933

Sixteen year-old Angela Peters is raped and murdered on Wimbledon common. Evidence points to the family chauffeur, George Yarrow, but there is not enough evidence to convict him of the crime. Thinking release from the police means he won't suffer the consequences for the murder he committed, Yarrow accepts his old job as chauffeur. Angela's father, however, is a noted scientist who has some interesting experiments in mind for his loyal employee.

Based on the Charles Birkin short story "An Eye for an Eye", first published in Shivers, 1932.

Snippet:
Jimmy - Well, take that horrible murder, for instance. Nothing anyone can do about the beggar.
Woman - Jimmy, if the police know who's done it, why on Earth can't they arrest him?
Jimmy - Because, darling, the evidence is inconclusive.
Man - You see, Mrs Clinton, a man can only be tried once for any murder, and the police are reasonably certain that sooner or later, he'll give himself away.
Jimmy - Or the missing link in the chain will be filled in.

Reviews:
While a good radio show relies on the audience's imagination, and Beyond Midnight usually does that, there just aren't enough clues to really get you thinking for this episode. The ending offers some potential to get the audience to think, but the performance actually suffers from too much restraint to get to the listener. --- Rob Mayer

Based on the plot summary this episode showed great promise... but the result was rather drab and uninspired. [6/10] --- zM
Yellow Dressing Gown, The
See: "The Crystal Ball"

Yellow Room, The

aka: "The Room"
aka: "The Red Room"
Year: 1969
Duration: 30 min
Genre: Ghosts
Available for Listening Booth: Y
Story by: H.G. Wells, 1894

Enticed by an eccentric, yet wealthy widow's substantial reward, a sceptic accepts an offer to spend a night locked in a supposedly haunted room in her mansion... despite the fact that previous volunteers have all gone insane or committed suicide.

This story was announced the previous week as 'The Room'. It is based on the H.G. Wells story 'The Red Room'. See also 'The Room', Nightfall.

Reading Link: 'The Red Room', by H.G. Wells, available at Project Gutenberg.

Opening:

Watts - 'Do you like ice Mr Todd?'
Todd - 'Ah, ice? Tha... thank you, Miss Watts'
Watts - 'Mrs Watts, Mr Todd'
Todd - Oh, I'm sorry.
Watts - That's all right... There. Gives me great pleasure to see a man drink whiskey, Mr Todd. My late husband was partial to it.
Todd - Oh, lovely. Thank you Miss... Mrs Watts.
Watts - Do I look like a spinster?
Todd - No. Not at all. No.
Watts - Well, you seem determined to make me one. I'm a widow. I have been one for twenty-two years.
Todd - Cheers... It's lovely whiskey.
Watts - Atlas Whiskey. One of the first ever produced in Scotland. Not available in the general run of [?].
Todd - Well. I'm honoured
Watts - Oh, this is nice. So long since I've been able to offer my whiskey. I've had that bottle for nearly a quarter of a century. Poor Alfred was the last to drink from it. He died the next day... Shall we discuss the matter in hand?
Todd - Hm. Rather.

Narrator - They began to discuss the matter in hand, and Ronald Todd, bachelor, aged 33 of Landsdown Private Hotel, began his journey into the land that lies... Beyond Midnight.

Reviews:
"The Red Room" by H.G. Wells is a well-written ghost story with a strong build-up, great pacing, and plenty of descriptive imagery to set your imagination running wild. The conclusion makes perfect sense (based on the buildup) and although the story ends abruptly, you are left feeling satisfied with Wells' explanation. Not so with this adaptation. The motive of the Mrs Watts is missing, as is the necessary detail which explains Ronald Todd's fear. The result is a flat story, and a feeling that we're missing something important. [6/10] --- zM


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