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the genre's premiere review magazine for short SF & Fantasy since 1993

The Hermit's Cave -- "Vampire's Desire"

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The Hermit's Cave aired "Vampire's Desire" sometime during the show's 1937 incarnation, a more precise date being impossible to determine. Out of some 800 shows over a 17-year time span only around 30-40 have survived, and the show's history is relatively sparse and convoluted, going by different names and without information surviving as to the writers and air dates; even show titles have been lost. The short version runs something like this: The show operated more like a franchise than a single, straight up syndicated show originating out of one radio station, even moving from its original station out of Detroit to California at one point. Below is a timeline of the show's various incarnations, though "The Little Theater of the Air" was also appended as a subtitle under the primary title in some instances.

History of The Hermit's Cave

  • 1930-1936 - The Mummers, 15 minute sketches, featuring a character called The Hermit; WJR, Detroit
  • 1936-1937 - Unsponsored, introductory run called In the Hermit's Cave; WJR, Detroit; 19 episodes
  • 1937-1947 - Olga Coal sponsored run called The Hermit's Cave; WJR, Detroit; 539 episodes
  • 1938-1939 - Don Lee-Mutual run called The Devil's Scrapbook; 37 episodes
  • 1940-1944 - West Coast run called The Hermit's Cave; KMPC, LA; 217 episodes

The opening of this episode uses "The Mummers" as the show's title, though this is not one of the 15 minute sketches noted above, but a full half hour (minus the commercials) show, which eliminates it as coming from the 1930-36 era. Other sources have placed this episode as the11th, so this eliminates the 1936-37 unsponsored shows from Detroit (note that there are approx. 5:15 missing due to staion breaks or commercials in this one) and pushes it into the 1937-47 Olga Coal sponsored decade, which fits. So while an exact air date is impossible to nail down, our best guess is that "Vampire's Desire" aired during 1937, marking it as being 78 years old, not to mention one of the rare surviving episodes.

"Vampire's Desire" begins with two travelers caught in a rainstorm and finding their way to an inhospitable old house in search of shelter from the storm. They soon are caught up in strange doings and find themselves at the mercy of a cackling old woman and an old man full of dire warnings. During an exploration of the house they find themselves trapped in a hermetically sealed room...and ere long the real fun begins when a dried-out husk of a corpse falls to pieces under their touch, a coffin is found to be inhabited by a member of the undead, and...you get the picture. It's a quintessential Halloween tale to get you in the mood for the upcoming holiday, and the second of our month-long excursions into tales of the supernatural, dark fantasy, and horror.

Play Time: 24:44

{Uncertain when this radio drama aired--we'll say Spring of 1937--we find our erstwhile band of neighborhood hooligans (those who could afford it) making their way to the corner drugstore on a sunny Saturday morning in search of their favorite science fiction, fantasy, and horror magazines, several of which are shown below. With recent news about the discovery of rivulets of water on Mars, note the Astounding cover story is about "Water for Mars." Both Astounding and Weird Tales were monthly in the Spring of 1937, while Thrilling Wonder was bi-monthly.}

[Left: Astounding, April 1937 - Center: Thrilling Wonder, April 1937 - Right: Weird Tales, April 1937]

           

To view the entire list of weekly Old Time Radio episodes at Tangent Online, click here.