CBS Radio Mystery Theater

CBS Radio Mystery Theater

CBS Radio Mystery Theater

CBS Radio Mystery Theater… Aaah, along with the epic Dark Shadows, this was a show that I and my mom would enjoy religiously. The opening intro, deliciously dark and mysterious, featured the sound of an opening door,  ancient in its creak, and the foreboding tones of soundtrack music originally featured in the Twilight Zone episode titled “Two” and written by Nathan Van Cleave. Dark, scary music with stories that crept under the skin before establishing permanent residence in one’s cranium. Good family entertainment.

Check out 1:33-2:10. That’s the portion used as the CBS Mystery Theater theme.

The stories on Mystery Theater featured awesome actors and stories that totally sucked the listener in. The host, actor E.G. Marshall, struck the perfect tone. His voice was old-school but creepy at the same time– especially at the end of the each episode where he said “Until next time… pleasant dreams?” It was amazing that my ADD settled down long enough to become immersed in the various plots offered every week. It was appointment radio (yes, such a thing actually existed!) and the precursor to the greatest love of my imagination’s life, and one of my most enduring Muses, The Twilight Zone (prostrate and worship here).

As I write this, I’m listening to a Mystery Theater episode called “Afraid To Live, Afraid To Die.” It starts sounding mad spooky at 23:00. I wonder if a program like this would even survive in the new millennium? I like to think so, because at the end of the day the story rules, and if it’s good, people will want to experience it. I really wish there was a show, or podcast like this!

CBS Radio Mystery Theater Archives – Hear the archived episodes here.


My Muses: Dark Shadows – RIP Jonathan Frid

Jonathan Frid: Dark Shadows

Jonathan Frid: Dark Shadows

I was raised on Dark Shadows. Literally.

My mom loved this show. She watched it religiously, and I sat right beside her watching it, too. I remember the excitement both of us displayed as the eerie music rose at the top of the show. I’d look at her, she’d look at me and then we’d turn to stare at the dark stories unfolding before our eyes.

Real mom-daughter bonding.

The anticipation was the highest during the opening:

It was truly an event.

The funny thing is I cannot tell you anything about the plot. Yeah, I know it was about a weird family, that witches were involved and that the main guy Barnabas Collins was an ancient vampire. But I can’t remember the plot lines or even one episode. I was too young to even understand it much less absorb the story lines.

Nonetheless, Dark Shadows became, and will forever remain, part of the foundation of my creative subconscious. I grew up loving gothic mansions, strange unusual families and of course anything related to vampires.

The show was even an inspiration for Blood To Blood.

So now that Jonathan Frid, the actor who portrayed Barnabas (at the time of this posting his website,, was “unavailable”), has passed on, and Hollywood has decided to revisit the show with a major film starring Johnny Depp, I’ve decided that it’s time for me to delve into one of the deepest parts of my subconscious. Thanks to the magic of YouTube and the miracle of Netflix streaming on my laptop, I can explore scenes from the original Dark Shadows and even watch an episode or two.

Maybe, this exploratory activity will uncover something about my writing that I was unable to figure out. Like why it’s always easier for me to write after the sun goes down. Or it might shed light on my personality. Like why images of brooding gothic mansions near cliffs pounded by waves give me the warm fuzzies.