Housing Problem — Henry Kuttner

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Henry Kuttner (1915-1958), along with Ray Bradbury, Shirley Jackson, and others, sold stories to Charm magazine back in the 1940s. Kuttner’s “Housing Problem” saw print in this popular women’s magazine in its October 1944 issue. It has proved so, well…charming that it has been reprinted many times. Among other places it was reprinted in Kuttner’s 1961 collection Bypass to Otherness, in The Best of Henry Kuttner (1975), and most recently in Haffner Press’ monumental volume Detour to Otherness (2010, cover at right).

The experimental radio program CBS Radio Workshop aired its dramatization of “Housing Problem” on June 16, 1957. By today’s terminology it would be classified as an urban, or contemporary fantasy. A man and wife rent a reclusive, rather curmudgeonly gentleman a room in their house. He causes no trouble and pays his rent on time. When the gentleman leaves on vacation he makes the couple swear not to touch his birdcage under any circumstances. Of course they do, and what unfolds from their discovery leads to just what is in the birdcage and how it will change their view of reality as they know it. Clever as only a Kuttner story can be, enjoy one of his playful musings in “Housing Problem.”

Play Time: 24:28