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

The Haunting Hour -- "The Case of the Lonesome Corpse"

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The Haunting Hour (1945-46) aired "The Case of the Lonesome Corpse" on May 12, 1945 as its 8th episode. A much beloved criminologist has passed away decades ago, in the 1920s, and has left his memoirs, many of them having to do with the cases of the macabre and supernatural he has solved. This is one of his cases, and concerns one Caleb Greystone who also died back in the 1920s and built a great wall around his estate. Old man Greystone liked his privacy, but upon his death bequeathed his estate--with his mausoleum at the center--to New York City as a park. One day, the estate lawyer and his chauffeur come to check on the property and the lawyer vanishes, leaving the chauffeur bewildered and beside himself. Over time there are reports of strange apparitions floating in the graveyard, and howling beasts of unknown origin. Just what in the devil is going on in Greystone Park and what has happened to several disappeared people over the years? Eerie sound effects and a minimalist but atmospheric score help set the stage for this creepy story.

Comparatively little is known about the cast and crew of The Haunting Hour. Only 52 episodes were produced, of which it is estimated 41 have survived. Along with several others, NBC tried a new marketing strategy with this  show. Rather than selling the show for the standard (at the time) rate of $56, it sold The Haunting Hour and others for $9.60 per market, figuring that volume sales would make up for the cheap price, some radio markets still recovering from the hard times World War II had thrust upon the entire country. Below is an excerpt of a Billboard article explaining this marketing philosophy.

Play Time: 25:00

{Below left: Thrilling Wonder Stories, Spring 1945, with the lead cover story title "Devils from Darkonia." Darkonia? Really?  Center: Section of an article from Billboard, July 12, 1947 announcing NBC's marketing plan forThe Haunting Hour and some of its other shows. Below Right: Weird Tales, May 1945; cover stories by Bloch and Hamilton.}