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

Inner Sanctum -- "Magic Tile"

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Inner Sanctum (1941-52) aired "Magic Tile" on March 8, 1948 as its 361st episode. An ancient Chinese artifact known as the Magic Tile calls up the ghost of a dead man who provides a young woman evidence of terrible wrongdoing perpetrated in the past, and which directly impacts her present life.

Inner Sanctum, with its trademark "creaky door" and pun-prone host and narrator, soon became a profitable little franchise, spinning off a series of books and films in the heart of the 1940s. Universal pictures made six Inner Sanctum Mystery films from December of 1943 to December of 1945, all starring Lon Chaney, Jr., capitalizing on the success he enjoyed from his role as 1941's iconic The Wolfman role. Chaney (1906-1973) would also feature in several of the now-famous Frankenstein/Dracula/Wolfman Universal films at the same time, cementing further his position as one of the most popular horror film personalities during the genre's early "golden age." Chaney was a heavy smoker and drinker, and when he passed away of cancer in 1973 at the age of 67, he donated his body to science. Medical students, dissecting his body as per his wish, saved his liver and lungs, preserving them in jars so that others might view the ravages smoking and excessive alcohol use wreaked upon the human body. To this day, no one knows the final resting place of Chaney's remains.

Though not appearing in "Magic Tile," Lon Chaney, Jr. did perform in a number of episodes for Inner Sanctum over the years, as did Boris Karloff (15 episodes over the first year or so), Richard Widmark, Mason Adams (who later starred as the newspaper editor on TV's Lou Grant in the 1970s), and many other personalities who would later transition to TV from radio and film).

Play Time: 22:45

{Universal made 6 Inner Sanctum Mystery films starring Lon Chaney, Jr. between December 1943 and December 1945. Below left: Calling Doctor Death (#1) December 1943 -- Center: The Frozen Ghost (#4) June 1945 -- Below Right: Pillow of Death (#6) December 1945.}