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

Inner Sanctum -- "Blood of Cain"

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Inner Sanctum (1941-52) aired "Blood of Cain" on January 29, 1946 as the 256th of its approximately 527 episodes. Unfortunately, most of the shows are lost, with best guesstimates ranging from 140 to "less than 200" still in circulation. However, among these still existing shows, some are only partial episodes, with the majority being AFRS (Armed Forces Radio Service) repeats. While the AFRS is to be commended for having preserved these episodes, it should be noted that it deleted the local, syndicated commercials in order not to play favorites with advertised products. It also removed the original openings and closings, running episodes under the Mystery Playhouse title with Peter Lorre as one of the shows hosts (along with a nameless "Sergeant X" in certain episodes). This is not one of the AFRS episodes thankfully, and is a full, original episode. It features Paul McGrath (1904-1978, photo at right) as the host (he would replace the  original host, Raymond Johnson, after he left the show in May of 1945 to join the armed forces). Lipton Tea would not become a sponsor until the 1945 season, bringing with it the perky co-host and Lipton Tea spokesperson Mary Bennett who became famous for working in Lipton Tea commercials alongside the host's terrible puns.

This is the 28th Inner Sanctum episode we've run since we began featuring Old Time Radio shows back in 2009. The 27th ran in November of last year (2018),  the 26th came earlier that year in July, with the 25th showcased an entire year earlier in July of 2017, so we felt it high time for another. "Blood of Cain" takes us to present day New Orleans where the strange events surrounding the poisoning of pigeons soon takes us back in time to 13th and 14th century France and official executioners. It is a tale of dark family secrets, a chilling legacy handed down through generations, and a bloodline fraught with murder most foul! How would you feel if you learned that the overwhelming compulsion, the obsession to kill was actually handed down to you through your ancestors' blood? Would you seek help? Inform the authorities? Deny something so obviously impossible? What would you do if the death and dying continued? Listen now to the "Blood of Cain" to see how one emotionally distraught woman dealt with such an intolerable situation after learning the history of her long-dead ancestors.

Play Time: 29:44

       {Bitter cold and snow in January of 1946 proved no impediment to the neighborhood gang bundling up and convincing their mothers the walk to the close by newsstand really wasn't that far, even in the current weather. Doc Savage (1933-49) was still cranking out wild adventures for Doc and his gang and this issue's cover proved to be a great tease and a sure buy. The magazine was a monthly in 1946. The Shadow (1931-49) still held great appeal for young fans and cover stories like the one below proved it still held much mojo for lovers of the dark and dangerous. It too was a monthly in 1946. Startling Stories (1939-55) never failed to make young eyes grow wider and hearts beat faster with each dynamic cover promising colorful tales beyond imagining, and who could ignore a new Captain Future novella by the incomparable Edmond Hamilton? Though the cover proclaimed "Outlaw World" as a complete novel (common practice in such cases at the time), in reality it was a long novella. When Ace repackaged it as a slim paperback in the mid-1960s it would run only to 120+ pages; again not an uncommon practice for paperback publishers who brought some of these long pulp novellas to a new audience as slim "novels." They provided a valuable service and are to be commended. Startling Stories was a bi-monthly from its beginnings until the latter war years (1943-46) when its schedule became irregular. After running 5 issues in 1946 (of which the issue below was the first) it would return to its bi-monthly schedule until 1952, when it tried a monthly schedule. That lasted a year and a half until June of 1953, at which point its next 2 issues were again bi-monthly. But these last pair of issues in 1953 and the draw down to a quarterly in 1954 saw the venerable, much beloved magazine gasping for air with only 8 quarterly issues left before expiring with the Fall 1955 issue.}

[Left: Doc Savage, January 1946 - Center: The Shadow, January 1946 - Right: Startling Stories, Winter 1946]


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