Friday, March 28, 2008

Oh there you are. I was afraid for a moment you had forgotten our appointment.

Well there you have it friends, simply passing on from the land of the living does not grant one with the omniscience of the ages. Here I stand before you admitting my error. It appears I was, dare I say it... Dead wrong.

In my previous post regarding the Inner Sanctum I passed on the information that "Death For Sale" was Inner Sanctum's pilot episode (this is how the time stamps have been reported elsewhere on the web and on the version I have in my personal collection). With a bit of light research I found a conflicting account that in fact the premiere episode was called "the Amazing Death of Mrs. Putnam" . And low an behold I actually found a broadcast of it online. Unfortunately it is the second half of a radio broadcast which I will have to do some work on to separate the two shows that were broadcast together. Believe me when I tell you that I will post it here once I have done so.

Upon hearing this episode there is no doubt that the Mrs, Putnam episode predates the rest of the series. Raymond's introduction is a complete departure from the one we have become so familiar with, lacking the familiar dark and sadistic wit the character would come to be known for. Using the phrase "Oh there you are. I was afraid for a moment you had forgotten our appointment...", Raymond first introduces us to the Inner Sanctum, here sponsored by Carter's Liver Pills. The introduction and in fact the entire episode plays more like an episode of the Shadow. The tale follows two police officers investigating the reported death of an old lady (Mrs. Putnam) and the bizarre inconsistencies surrounding her apparent demise. Unlike the later and infinitely superior episodes with murder and death abound this tale plays out as a relatively uninspired detective story. Even the organ music used throughout the show has the air of being stolen from an episode of the Shadow. All said it is a rather disappointing performance by everyone involved. however much like the original Star Trek series pilot "The Cage", the Star Wars Holiday Special or the Muppets' "End to Sex and Violence", the legacy of the series certainly makes ample amends, for one small shows shortcomings, and similarly relegates this episode to "must-have" status simply for the sake of posterity.

My error aside, I must admit to being completely satisfied that I first aired such an enjoyable episode as "Death For Sale" for anyone not familiar with the Inner Sanctum, if only to whet your appetite for the show which I doubt this episode would have done.

As a side note Oct. 30 1945 appears to be the original broadcast date for "Death For Sale". By that date this would be one of the first shows with Paul McGrath as the host. Somehow this seems wrong to me thus I'll have to look a bit deeper.

May your dreams be wrought with anxious nightmares, but not on account of this episode, as I will make it available as soon as possible.

To make it up to you I will share another, later Broadcast of Inner Sanctum for you, this time a later recording featuring Paul McGrath as "Mr. Host" along with Mary "the Lipton Tea Lady". This one is another of my favourite episodes, again featuring the King of Creeps Boris Karloff.
Could there be anything better than The Inner Sanctum, Boris Karloff and a tale based largely on Edgar Allan Poe's "The Black Cat". Reportedly aired 11/06/1945...

The Wailing Wall

Gary D. Macabre

Again Link provided from


Horror pariah said...

OOOhh,creepy,Karloff's voice was perfectly suited to this stuff,and not to bash the Ulmer film,but i wonder how he woulda played the lead in a straight adaption,it's one of the few Poe stories that could work full length.still great.

Gary D Macabre said...

HP, your getting ahead of me here LOL. I was actually thinking of next posting a retrospective on the various versions of Poe's The Black Cat with the Wailing Wall being my transition piece.

I enjoy Ulmer's version on it's own merits but it is such a departure from Poe that I have a hard time equating them. Corman's version in which he mates Black Cat and Casque of Amontillado, starring Price and Lorre is my favourite on screen version.