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

Inner Sanctum -- "Dark Chamber"

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Inner Sanctum aired "Dark Chamber" on December 11, 1945. This classic mystery/horror show ran from 1941-52 and is estimated to have produced approximately 500 shows, though only around 145 are known to still exist. Known for its Lipton Tea commercials and the host's atrocious puns, Inner Sanctum is fondly remembered by fans of Old Time Radio.

"Dark Chamber" is a study in psychological horror that tests the limits of human fear. A delivery man is set upon and knocked unconscious, only to wake in a pitch black room without windows or visible door. The bewildered delivery man soon discovers he is the subject of a bizarre experiment, as a megalomaniacal doctor reveals himself and explains the situation to his disoriented subject. The forthcoming series of manipulated events designed to test the man's reactions to various aspects of fear are emotionally draining, and when an innocent female is introduced into the equation the fear level is ratcheted up even further. How will he react with the responsibility of a woman to protect? Is this a valid test on the part of the scheming doctor? Other tests increase the feeling of utter helplessness and despair, driving the subjects to...  But you will have to listen to "Dark Chamber" to discover the ultimate answer to this cruel scenario, and as you listen you might imagine how you would react under similar circumstances.

And the host's trademark puns...horrible doesn't begin to describe them.

Play Time: 28:43

{Warding off the screaming meemies after listening to "Dark Chamber," and trying not to imagine they were locked in a dark room with no way out, the local neighborhood tribe of brave warriors headed for the corner newsstand to brighten their day with some of their favorite adventure fare, a few examples of which from December of 1945 are shown below. Note that Astounding and Doc Savage were monthlies, while Famous Fantastic Mysteries was quarterly at this point. Looks like they were in for some good reading, too. The Astounding cover story is by Lews Padgett (pen name of Henry Kuttner & C. L. Moore), the cover story for Famous Fantastic Mysteries is by the incomparable H. Rider Haggard, and Lester Dent--writing with the in-house name of Kenneth Robeson--takes Doc Savage to the Far East to rescue one of his compatriots doing secret work for Army Intelligence in a nifty spy thriller).}

[Left: Astounding, Dec. 1945 - Center: Doc Savage, Dec. 1945 - Right: Famous Fantastic Mysteries, Dec. 1945]


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