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October 31, 2011 7:11 AM   Subscribe

"The Thing on the Fourble Board" is a nicely creepy episode of the fantasy/horror radio program "Quiet, Please". You can stream or download it from the link. Originally broadcast on August the 9th, 1948, it's widely considered one of the best episodes of the series. (Here's an archive.org MP3 mirror, also.)

(The stream in the first link sometimes won't play past 23 seconds in-browser. In any case the MP3 files work swimmingly)
posted by Monster_Zero (6 comments total) 23 users marked this as a favorite
Love this radio drama, perfect for halloween.

I'm trying to remember where I read an analysis of this, but the gist was that the way the creature is presented represents a whole mess of "deviant sexuality" with the creature having the monstrous body (bestiality), a child face (pedophilia) and even homosexuality with the male name (which seems kind of meaningless now, but might have been considered as deviant as the others in 1948.)
posted by modernserf at 7:17 AM on October 31, 2011

Quiet Please and Lights Out are surprising sources of nightmare fuel!
posted by Calzephyr at 7:52 AM on October 31, 2011

In college, WVXU in Cincinnati used to play a program called "When Radio Was" from 9 pm to 10 pm. I would listen to it on my way to hockey practice, which started at 10 pm, during the week. On more than one occassion I was late because I had to listen to the "thrilling conclusion" of the show.

Thanks for posting!
posted by glaucon at 8:05 AM on October 31, 2011 [1 favorite]

What the- how did you-

And my Wyllis Cooper post was all ready to roll! Well played, sir.

There were other shows doing horror in the golden age of radio - Suspense, Escape, Mystery in the Air, Lights Out - but Quiet, Please was utterly unique for writer/producer Cooper's focus on character and atmosphere. Each week saw the return of the easy-voiced Ernest Chappel as a new narrating character, usually with no more than one or two other actors. There were a few sparse sound effects and only a little organ music - César Franck's Symphony in D minor sometimes served for both the theme and diegetic sound - but Cooper's distinctive slow, naturalistic scripts didn't need an elaborate production.

An episode of Quiet, Please works by the accretion of voice, image, and emotion. The excellent "Thing on the Fourble Board" is not entirely indicative of the show as whole, except in that it demonstrates Cooper's ability to play with fear and audience identification. Most of his scripts aren't nearly as shocking as "Fourble Board," though the best exceed far it in effect.

Here are some of the better episodes:

"Whence Came You?"
"Adam and the Darkest Day"
"Dialogue for a Tragedy"
"Beezer's Cellar"
"It's Later Than You Think"

posted by Iridic at 8:09 AM on October 31, 2011 [4 favorites]

Modernserf, you probably saw it on the wikipedia entry for "Quiet, Please". From this edit page, it looks like that part of the analysis was chopped out, along with the synopsis of Fourble Board.
posted by theatro at 8:23 AM on October 31, 2011

I went through a few recent years where I had a couple old-time radio drama horror shows in heavy podcast rotation. A lot of those shows blurred into non-memories, but Fourble Board is one of the two that stands out the strongest. (The other was the fantastically skin-scrawling "Three Skeleton Key", with the added benefit of being delivered by Vincent Price.)

Also, one of the opening variants of Lights Out's "It...is...later...than...you...think" with heavy chime hitting between each word has a permanent home as the main alarm I use on my phone. It adds to a sense of dread of waking up each day for work!
posted by Drastic at 2:48 PM on October 31, 2011 [1 favorite]

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