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

Weird Circle -- "The Black Parchment"

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The Weird Circle (1943-45) aired "The Black Parchment" on March 30, 1945 as its 78th and final episode. The show ran as two 39-episode seasons and is considered quite collectible by many OTR enthusiasts, the consensus being that it was an underrated show that holds up well today and being a fine example of the supernatural horror genre. Most of the radio scripts were adapted from the works of Poe, de Balzac, Wilkie Collins, Goethe, Hawthorne, Charlotte Bronte, Daniel DeFoe and many others. Of its 78 episodes, only half have verified titles, and 3 have no known author, of which "The Black Parchment" is one.

The story centers on a man who is down and out on his luck. While contemplating suicide he rescues a strange man, a doctor, who by way of repayment for saving his life offers our man a chance to turn his luck around. Showing him a large black book, the doctor explains that the book will grant wishes of any kind, though after each granted wish it will shrink. When enough wishes have reduced the book to nothingness the person owning the book will die. Desperate for money and the love of a woman who does not return his affections, our man takes the book and begins wishing. Revealing the nature and number of wishes would spoil the storyline, though our man's oft-stated proclamation that he loves the object of his desire more than life itself figures prominently, and in a most unusual fashion. Men and women in love say many things about their beloved, but when push comes to shove do they really mean what they say? "The Black Parchment" provides one man's answer and asks the question of what you would do in the same situation.

Play Time: 25:03

{The more stalwart members of the neighborhood gang would bundle up for their usual trek to the corner newsstand in the still chilly month of March, 1945, to spend their nickels and dimes on their favorite reading, which they would do once back in the comfy warmth of their bedrooms, or stretched out on the rug in front of the living room radio. Astounding kept to its monthly schedule for all of 1945, while Amazing and Thrilling Wonder were both quarterlies.}

[Left: Astounding, Mar. '45 - Center: Amazing, Mar. '45 - Right: Thrilling Wonder Stories, Spring '45]

                          

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