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32 Days of Halloween VII, Day 11: Murders in the Zoo!

Murders in the Zoo

Before we get to the feature presentation, which was remade most recently as We Bought a Zoo, we bring you a pair of old-time radio jewels.

First things first, and the reason I came up with this opening: I didn’t know until just today that Basil Rathbone had started in a comedy/mystery radio show entitled Tales of Fatima. At first, I was wondering what the hell Rathbone was doing dramatizing stories of the apocalypse that were told to three youngsters in Portugal. But no, apparently Fatima was the brand of cigarettes that sponsored the show. Then next, I was amused to hear that Rathbone is playing a fictionalized version of himself.

I could only find one embeddable version of the MP3 (apparently this is only one of two surviving episodes?), and it begins about three minutes in. Feel free to skip forward.

And Rathbone playing himself reminded me of a similar program that came later: The Price of Fear, in which Vincent Price narrated stories in which he–as himself–had been inserted as a participant/witness/protagonist. Here’s one entitled “Cat’s Cradle,” to give you an idea.

And lastly, our feature film for tonight. Remade very liberally as Zookeeper most recently, Murders in the Zoo from 1933 gives Lionel Atwill a zoo full of animals with which he kills the rivals he has for his wife’s affection. The opening sequence will tell you what’s in store. Among the cast: Randolph Scott. Enjoy.