Inner Sanctum — “Song of the Slasher”

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Inner Sanctum (1941-52) aired “Song of the Slasher” on April 24, 1945. Two weeks ago we showed you a crazy man, a ghost, and an axe murderer. Last week it was a crumbling, decayed corpse and a vampire. Continuing our run up to Halloween we think it high time for a good old serial slasher episode, but with a twist. Who is the mad slasher? The demented composer who whistles while he works? The over-protective husband? The always-willing-to-do-someone-a-favor lackey? Or someone else? As usual, there are hints galore and misdirection aplenty in this dark little drama, and a fitting one it is for an evening by the radio.

The 1945 season of Inner Sanctum marked the appearance of Lipton Tea as the show’s new sponsor, with our punning host/narrator Raymond Edward Johnson (1911-2001) setting the stage and putting a bit of humor into the grisly goings-on, with co-host and Lipton Tea spokesperson Mary Bennett who would play off of Raymond’s horrible puns and dark humor in order to hawk Lipton Tea. They made for an appealing odd couple audiences loved, and their playful banter only added to the show’s popularity. Somewhere in the neighborhood of 525 shows were produced, though at this time only about 140 are known to still exist.

Raymond had been wth the show from the beginning, but not long after this episode he would resign to join the military, at which point new host Paul McGrath would take over, now simply as Your Host instead of Your Host, Raymond. Lipton Tea would remain a steady sponsor, and Mary Bennett was still there to play foil to McGrath’s just-as-awful and many-times-hilarious puns. Yes, both Raymond and McGrath were real cut-ups in the pun department, so if you can get past the puns and raw humor (even about beating your wife black and blue! Even for Inner Sanctum, this one shocked me), you’ll enjoy “Song of the Slasher.”

Play Time: 29:19

{The last week in April of 1945 would find the neighborhood angels itching for school to be out in just over a month, and to be outside where they could stretch their legs from morning till night, when only their mothers’ front door shouts would bring them home. In the meantime, to stretch their imaginations they would take their usual Saturday trek to the corner drugstore to see what new magazines had arrived, and to spend any leftover change on a chocolate or cherry or vanilla coke at the counter. A few of their possible magazine choices are showcased below. Astounding was still going strong as a monthly in April of 1945, this issue featuring a new Foundation story by Isaac Asimov. Both Famous Fantastic Mysteries and Startling Stories were quarterlies, with the former promoting a cover story by Henry Kuttner, and the latter a story by Edmond Hamilton.}

[Left: Astounding, April ’45 – Center: Famous Fantastic Mysteries, March ’45 – Right: Startling Stories, Spring ’45]


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