Next, I recently heard the classic short story “Lamb to the Slaughter” by Roald Dahl read by Catherine O’Hara. The story is sort of like “The Tell-Tale Heart” if it had been written by…well, Roald Dahl. I couldn’t find that exactly, but here’s the next best thing: the 1958 episode of Alfred Hitchcock Presents that adapted the story. And yes, that is a quite young Barbara Bel Geddes as Mary.
Update: Crap. Well, that didn’t take long. It’s been taken down, so I hereby replace it with “And So Died Riabouchinska,” which is probably the only place where Hitchcock, Ray Bradbury (story), Claude Rains and Charles Bronson all meet.
We’ll get to this evening’s feature filled with possession and mayhem in a moment. But first, we go to the immortal Spike Jones and “I Was a Teenage Brain Surgeon” with vocals by the equally immortal Thurl Ravenscroft.
Tonight, first of all…Hollywood Canteen was based on an actual place setup for military servicefolks where they could get in for free by wearing their uniform. The film came out in 1944 and the two cameos you have here are the tip of the iceberg. But seeing these two together again is, of course, priceless.
Casper the Friendly Ghost
There’s Good Boos Tonight (1948)
Written by Bill Turner and Larry Riley
Directed by Isadore Sparber
Horror certainly comes in many forms. It can be the visceral sudden fright of someone jumping out and helping boo. Or it could be the slow dawning realization of watching a story play out and it is not about what you thought it was supposed to be about.
Before we get to the 1964 film Devil Doll (and yes, I have to specify which one because…well, you didn’t think there could just be one film with that title, did you?) let’s hit a couple other old-time radio favorites, shall we? First we go to Quiet Please, a radio show from the late 1940s and the episode “Tanglefoot.” I’ve written a story myself about messing around with making what are essentially designer insects. It never goes the way you intend, you know.
Time for some more sci-fi tonight…but that of course put me in the mind for some of the 1980s Twilight Zone, which has been much maligned but I really enjoyed. First we have a very young Bruce Willis (well…he has hair, anyway) in a Harlan Ellison story directed by Wes Craven! This was the first segment of the new TZ that aired.
It occurs to me that there are a great number of When Animals Attack genre films, so in the interests of public safety, it might be a good idea to provide a true cautionary tale for one way to avoid being devoured. This is, of course, courtesy of Hilaire Belloc.
Holy mackerel, we’re already at the halfway point! Time flies when you’re launching it from a trebuchet. We kick off tonight’s festivities with a bit of old-time radio. It’s the show Sleep No More, with readings by Nelson Olmstead. This episode, “The Storm,” is close to a half-hour in length, so that makes it post-1956 when the show was expanded. The show ended in 1957.