EXISTING EPISODES OF
INNER SANCTUM MYSTERIES

(Revised as of September 9, 2007)
by Martin Grams, Jr.

The purpose of this listing is to encourage both collectors and fans to look back through their holdings, and see if maybe some episodes in their collection are considered "lost." A "lost" episode is considered any radio broadcast not known to exist, or available from collectors in circulation. This list is subject to change in the near future, as updates are acquired.

The code LOC are marked beside episodes known to exist in the Library of Congress Archives. Many of these LOC entries are not available from collectors yet, but according to the LOC, they do exist. If there is an episode marked Q, that means "questionable." There still remains a few episodes that supposedly exist but I marked a Q because I have not verified that the episode actually exists. If anyone feels they have a recording that isn't on this list, by all means contact me. There are still many recordings floating in circulation that have alternate dates and titles so beware of those mistakes!

 

FAKE INNER SANCTUM EPISODES

Here are small notes to add:

"The Mystery of the Howling Dog" (2/11/41) does not exist. There was such a drama aired over the radio, but there is no recording of this episode known to exist. Someone at one time, took the premiere episode, which is entitled "The Amazing Death of Mrs. Putnam," and labeled it "The Mystery of the Howling Dog." Why? Simple. Over the past few years, collectors have taken various recordings and edited them - or in this case, re-label them - so other collectors would think, "Horray! A new episode of Inner Sanctum has just been discovered!" This sort of scam (creating or labeling already existing episodes so people think a new episode has surfaced) only adds a little profit to the collectors who start this sort of con game. By the time a handful of people have complained, the seller then stops offering the recording and even if he has to refund money to a couple collectors, he has already made a large profit from the dozens of people who jumped on the bandwagon.

This has been done for many years. Examples: Many episodes of "Arch Oboler's Plays" had their opening and closings deleted, replaced with the familiar "Lights Out!" theme, and whoala - the collector just created a "newly discovered" episode of "Lights Out!" There are many of these recordings circulating, innocent collectors have turned around and put the "new" recording into their catalog, and the chain of circulation begins. Before we know it, the same false recording as been handed down through dozens of sources and many hands, and those with a keen ear start complaining because they discover that it wasn't a real "Lights Out!" episode.

Regarding "Inner Sanctum," the episode floating about on MP3s entitled "The Snow-White Scarf" is really an episode from a South African radio program (circa 1966-68) entitled "The Creaking Door." There was, in fact, an episode entitled "The Snow-White Scarf" from 1951, but this is not that episode - it's a recording of the sixties' South African broadcast.

This of course, is just ONE of MANY examples floating about. This bad practice comes back to haunt innocent researchers as well. Why? Authors and scholars over the past few years spend long hours and days and weeks of communication and digging through library collections till they realize that what they are looking for (such as a broadcast date to a circulating recording), does not exist. This also haunts the researcher, because after an author completes a very well-researched broadcast log and episode guide, stubborn and ignorant (innocent I should say) collectors who can't tell the difference between a legit radio program and a false radio program, start publicly attesting that the author/researcher is "wrong." In the past, authors have also been criticized for a "lack or information," not doing their research correctly, or even not knowing what they are talking about.

"Inner Sanctum Mystery" is one of the few radio programs that is really f---ed up. And I mean it's awful. Why?

  1. It's one of the few radio programs out there have really have not received any special treatment of restoration. Look at the "Gunsmoke" and "Suspense" series for example, and I guarantee with a little searching, you can acquire the entire series in the most beautiful, restored, remastered sound quality. Thanks to the technology of the twenty-first century, collectors can use their home computers and affordable sound equipment to make poor sound quality into beautiful, crystal clear recordings. The Inner Sanctum shows have not yet received that sort of treatment.
  2. It is estimated that of the 100+ episodes of Inner Sanctum known to exist in circulation, about half of them only exist because of the AFRS. Since the AFRS replayed various episodes over the late forties and early fifties, (sadly editing many of these shows into their own format with a closing signature "this is the AFRS, brought to troops over seas."), about half of the circulating episodes are the AFRS broadcasts only. Take "Murder Comes at Midnight" from September 1946. Only the AFRS recording exists, not the CBS aircheck. Although many collectors dislike what the AFRS did to the recordings (like deleting the original sponsor commercials), we do have to thank the AFRS for having done what they did, else we would not have as many Inner Sanctum episodes floating about.
  3. Like many radio programs, the same scripts were performed again years later, so even if the 1946 version of one episode exists and the 1949 version of the same drama does not, collectors have been labeling the same show under two different titles. So if collectors go by the airdates to verify whether or not they have a specific episode of Inner Sanctum or not, they will find that they do have the same recording, each labeled with a different airdate, but the same recording! (Careful listening to the closing of some of these episodes such as the host telling us the Inner Sanctum novel of the month can help narrow down which version of these episodes actually exists.) Have collectors actually done a little checking to figure the exact date out or did they just pick a date from a log, without thinking it might have been a different date?
  4. Many of the Inner Sanctum episodes, during the mid-late forties, were also repeats of earlier scripts, but retitled and with a different cast. Instead of the female being the victim, the second version to air four years later had a man as the victim. All they did was switch the sex of the protagonist and change the title. The plot may be familiar, but the script was not 100% exact. There are multiple versions of these available in circulation. Sadly, stubborn collectors listen to the first few minutes, say to themselves "Hey, I've heard this before. This is the wrong title and airdate listed on my cassette!" Reality, it's the right date and title, just a repeat of the drama.
  5. In the wake of the MP3 formats, people have sent me listings of their Inner Sanctum collection. While MP3 may be a format to collect OTR, many people compiling these MP3 discs are placing multiple copies of the same episodes on the same disc, just labeling each recording a different title, making the buyer or trader assume they are getting 100 different shows when in reality they are getting 87. And since MP3s are as cheap and easy as downloading off the web, collectors who catch the mistakes are just shrugging this off, so corrections are not being made like they should. Also, episodes of the South African series, The Creaking Door, are having their themes replaced with Inner Sanctums (much like the Arch Oboler Plays being remade to appear like Lights Out! episodes). "Waxwork," for example, a common title found on these MP3 discs, is not really an Inner Sanctum episode. While I myself have no intention of getting into the MP3 collecting, I can say from eyewitness accounts and observations, that each time I see another MP3 listing of Inner Sanctum shows, the new list seems to be holding one or two more recordings than the last list, and I have yet to see a real new episode surface that isn't a duplicate of fake. Please be aware of this!

 

Please keep in mind that the "existing episodes" list above is subject to multiple corrections as the months pass. Unless a collector can verify a correction to the list above using multiple sources as reference, and not know-it-all mentalism (which is the polite way of saying their "assumptions"), please do not attempt to make a correction on this list. If fifty people every month were to start adding and deleting to the list above, the same titles and airdates would be going up, coming off, going up, coming off this web-page so much it'd be ridiculous. Just e-mail me, I'm open minded and will check the source.

 

ALTERNATIVE TITLES:

Thanks to Gordon Payton, a.k.a. "The Sci-Fi Guy," enclosed below is a list of alternative titles that have been floating about. Gordon severely fell victim to the plague many Inner Sanctum fans have gone through. He continued to buy and trade for copies of Inner Sanctum that did not match any other titles on his list. He eventually discovered like the rest of us, that he was just getting duplicates of what he already had. So Gordon started detailing the "alternative titles" in his catalog. Here they are. If you have an alternate title (though I think we've covered them all by now), please let me know.

Wonder if you have any recordings in your collection marked with no airdates but these alternative titles instead? If so, you can make the corrections now.

OTHER CORRECTIONS TO BE NOTED:

There are some very bad misconceptions that have been floating about regarding various episodes of "Inner Sanctum" and even after years of research (and the fact that anyone can simply listen to the recordings themselves and verify with their own ears), people still stubbornly insist that facts are facts. Here are some corrections to be noted and hopefully, this will put things to rest once and for all.

The June 10, 1944 broadcast of "Death is a Joker" stars Peter Lorre in the drama - NOT Boris Karloff. This was an AFRS broadcast that played an excerpt of a Karloff performance from a different radio show, AFTER the Inner Sanctum drama. Reference works still continue to list Karloff as the star of the drama. He was featured in the recording, but NOT in the drama. If someone was to find the original CBS aircheck, you would never hear Karloff in that Inner Sanctum broadcast.

People insist that the broadcast of October 7, 1944 entitled "Dead Man's Vengeance" was not an Inner Sanctum episode. Well, it was an Inner Sanctum episode. Raymond Edward Johnson was the star and lead actor in more than one Inner Sanctum episode, this is no different.

Shameless pitch: Material for this broadcast log originates from the book, INNER SANCTUM MYSTERIES: BEHIND THE CREAKING DOOR, copyright 2003. Reprinted material with permission. For more info about the Inner Sanctum series, this book comes highly recommended. The book documents the history of the radio series, television series, mystery magazine, mystery novels, movies, and much more. Lots of photos and radio advertisements reprinted, tons of trivia, episode guide for both radio and television, and so much you'll fall in love with the book.

Available $29.95 plus $4.00 postage. INNER SANCTUM BOOK, Po Box 189, Delta, PA 17314

Author and researcher Martin Grams, Jr. is also the author of THE HISTORY OF THE CAVALCADE OF AMERICA, and co-author of THE CBS RADIO MYSTERY THEATER: AN EPISODE GUIDE AND HANDBOOK, THE HAVE GUN-WILL TRAVEL COMPANION, THE ALFRED HITCHCOCK PRESENTS COMPANION, and THE SOUND OF DETECTION: ELLERY QUEEN'S ADVENTURES IN RADIO. If you have a question for the author, Martin can be contacted at mmargrajr@hotmail.com.

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