Sunday, January 17, 2010

Radio Horror Hosts

From "Radio Horror Hosts were rarely seen but often heard. Their voices inspired many different images in the minds of listeners. The above artwork (by Chris Terri) was just one of several unsolicitited pieces drawn by listeners imagining what their favorite horror host looked like. The actual host looked quite different."

"Horror Hosts! The words usually conjure up images of ghoulish TV personalities like Elvira and Zacherley. They often wear monster make-up and appeared on make-shift castle sets, interrupting older monster movies and telling us a few jokes or dark puns. But those guys are not the ones who really made horror hosts popular or famous. They were building on a grand tradition that preceded televison completely. The original horror hosts were top-of-the-shelf talents who not only introduced, but often narrated and acted in some the most terrifying shows mass-media ever produced. They were radio dramas with horror, science fiction, or murder themes. The hosts were sometimes famous, but more often mysterious, and they always caught our attention. There was something hypnotic about them. We never actually saw them, yet we visualized them in our mind, along with the many terrors they unleashed there. They established a dark mood and eerie ambiance. They carefully set the scene for the murder, dangerous experiment, or shocking adventure. And they were usually first on the scene after the blood was spilled to chuckle and provide us with a few more gory details. Anyone who heard The Mysterious Traveler, The Whistler, or Inner Sanctum's Raymond will testify to the fact that the host was one of the main attractions of the show. It just wouldn't be the same without them."

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