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OTR Halloween Specials & One-Shots


OTR Halloween
Many shows that were not horror or dark fantasy would have special episodes at Halloween that reveled in a dark, scary atmosphere. Comedians would visit a haunted house and varieties would invite a special guest known for starring in horror films.
(Also included on this page are horror shows that have only one or two scary episodes reviewed.)

Abbott & Costello

The New Sheriff (Guest: Bela Lugosi) 1948-05-05  

Costello, the new Sheriff of Encino, must investigate Lugosi’s spooky house. Jokes are mediocre. Song: Dickey Bird.

Peter Lorre’s Sanitarium (Guest: Peter Lorre) 1944-01-13  

Costello isn’t feeling well. A doctor appears, inviting him for a needed rest at his sanitarium… where a headless man flees the flu before the flu flies.

Bela Lugosi’s Mystery House

Thirsty Death, The  

(John Carradine, Bela Lugosi) A jealous husband locks his wife and her ex-beau in a house surrounded by mad dogs, then injects “one of them” with rabies! He leaves a knife for one to kill the infected when they go mad…

Best Plays

Arsenic & Old Lace  

[Boris Karloff] A sociopath returns to his family’s home to discover a cellar already filled with corpses! Was it his crazy brother, his sane brother, or his dear, sweet aunts? [Adapted from Joseph Kesselring’s Broadway play]


Bob & Ray

A Visit to Count Yorksha’s Castle  

This episode is only 15 minutes, and the five-minute visit to the Count’s castle is such bad quality that I didn’t understand a single word of the poorly delivered jokes. A shame, I’m usually a big Bob & Ray fan.


Blackstone the Magician


Ghost in the Crypt, The  

A fortune in jewels is hidden inside a haunted house. Mrs. Malcott found the treasure and frightens the benefactor’s nephew and heir away… until he calls on Blackstone! But what drives her assistant to flee the house?!  Motif #1

Riddle of the Seven Zombies  

Assistant Rhoda explores a ruined castle and witnesses a horde of zombies push a man off a cliff. When the drums command them to attack Rhoda, only Blackstone can save her! Followed by a matchbook magic trick!

Chandu The Magician

Spell of Dimitri, The  

In Cairo, Chandu refuses to let Betty (Chandu’s neice and Betty Regent’s daughter) spend time with Prince Dimitri, a man who death seems to follow. In return, the evil black magician takes control of his nephew Bob’s mind, kidnaps him, and turns him into a follower of Satan! They have a psychic showdown! Will the power of three times three be enough to save Bob?


The Chase & Sanborn Hour

Jan 30, 1938 – Guest: Boris Karloff  

A variety show. At 20:00 minutes the sound muffles as Karloff narrates Poe’s Tell-Tale Heart. He returns again at 45:00 to do a comedy routine with Edgar Bergen and Charlie McCarthy. Charlie’s story of a haunted house makes Frankenstein faint.


Columbia Workshop


A retelling of the classic tale by LeFanu. A young woman is targeted by a female vampire… and it wins her! [Adapted from Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu]


Crime Does Not Pay

Crime Does Not Pay


Gasoline Coctail  

(Bela Lugosi) A firebug is angered when a woman refuses his advances, and burns down her apartment building. His wife gives police a clue and he is apprehended before he can murder again. Bela reiterates the moral at the end.

Female of the Species  

A Moll joins with her husband’s killer for revenge on the boss who contracted him out. When a hit goes wrong, she finds a hideout from both the cops and the crime boss… but they can’t hide forever.

It’s the dames, trigger, the dames. They’re never happy with the man they got, they always have to make him bigger than he really is.


Devil’s Holiday

Lucifer Meets a Client  

A murderer is released from prison– but was he guilty, or did the Devil make him do it?

Fatal Passion  

A man falls for a lady in his apartment building. When she rejects him, he kills her and hides her body in the back of a closet. When the police finally search there, they find only a missing sewing dummy. Was it all a bad dream? Nope!


Dunninger, The Mentalist

Guest: Raymond Edward Johnson (7/26 1944)  

Dunninger answers unspoken questions from the audience, often curtly reminding them to speak into the microphone rather than nod. They are shocked he knows their phone number! “There’s someone asking, “Where am I from?” The answer is Chicago. Who does this fit?” There is a musical interlude, then the guest judges present Dunninger with a “mental challenge”, each playing a character in a murder mystery skit. Raymond asks, “When does the meyhem begin?” Dunninger states he is not a fortune-teller. “Someone wants to know where to get ten thousand dollars. My good friend, you tell me, and I’ll split it with you!” (“If money could think, I’d tell you where it is.”)


Fat Man, The

Murder is the Medium  

In this detective drama based on a Dashiell Hammett character, The Reynards are invited to a “manifestation” where Harriet speaks to her departed first husband, who asks for money. When the undercover Detective Runyon (The Fat Man) exposes the fraud, the medium, Sala, is killed! Her assistant is then poisoned. Runyon discovers the film and voice track used at the seance came directly from the Reynard house itself…


Father Knows Best

In a Spooky Cemetery  

Comedy. After a seance at a friend’s house, the family car runs out of gas. They shelter from the rain in an abandoned mansion filled with eerie noises… and a caretaker! The girl’s whining is supposed to be funny, but I found it grating. Still It was enjoyably entertaining.


Fred Allen

Guest: Bela Lugosi  

(Bela Lugosi) Bela wants to sub-let his apartment. Bela appears at the halfway mark. Filled with jokes that are not funny.

Guest: Boris Karloff  

(Boris Karloff) Boris wants to sub-let his house. His entire appearance is five minutes of poor, scripted jokes.

Guest: Peter Lorre (“The Killers”)  

(Peter Lorre) Texaco Star Theater. Peter makes a 5 minute cameo (at 14:00) playing up how few people would know about the morgue if not for him while Fred insults him repeatedly with racist jokes, calling him a “let down” and a “runt”. Then the song When the Red, Red Robin Comes Bob-Bob-Bobbin’ Along!

Grand Marquis

Haunt Me a House  

Comedy. Real-Estate agent must sell a haunted house. “I tell ya, there’s no such thing as ghosts.” Too bad the same isn’t true for mothers-in-law!

Haunted (Tales of the Supernatural)

What Was It?  

An opium-smoking ghost hunter and a friend capture an invisible thing in their boarding house. Plaster reveals a flesh-eating ghoul! [Adapted from Fitzjames O’Brien][See also: Weird Circle: What Was It?]


Hollywood Star Playhouse

The Big One  

(Robert Griffin) A bum offers to tell a pub patron his story for a hamburger. The blue plate special gets you a doosey. A mentalist agrees to read a woman’s mind to discover the location of her daughter, a lost heir she has been hiding. When he discovers she is dead, he plays the old gypsy switch with his own estranged daughter. The tragedy is, the ruse succeeds!


Houdini: The Last Seance

Broadcast on the tenth anniversary of his death: October 31, 1936  

It is explained that Bess and Harry Houdini had made a pact that if either of them should die, they would attempt to come back on the anniversary of their death, but to call it done after ten years. There was a secret code pre-arranged so there would be no question. Presided over by Doctor Saint, the participants encourage Harry’s spirit to appear, but he doesn’t. At the end Bess pronounces that she does not believe there is any way back from the other side.

House of Mystery

Ghost Who Forgot Halloween, The  

Children’s story about a little ghost who can’t help falling asleep… even on Halloween! He is punished by having to go without a sheet. Seems overly cruel, they should consider ADD medication or a possible medical condition like narcolepsy. Typical 1950s punitive approach.

Gift From the Dead  

Mr. Mystery’s friend has a sister who has been shut away from the rest of the world by her possessive, domineering husband. When the husband dies, she is sure he will return…an heirloom jewelry box gives his family “Immortality”. Will his ghost return on their anniversary? The story had truly great potential until the shock ending… shockingly dumb. Disappointing.


Jack Benny

Ghost of Diamond Jim Brady, The (54-04-25)  

Jack and his crew go to a seance where the spirit of Diamond Jim Brady tells Jack to have fun and spend, spend, spend! But the effects man in charge of the crew’s ghost prank was also Jack’s stage manager, so the staff doesn’t get a raise. (Episode also called: Seance)


NBC Radio Theater

Snake Pit, The  

(Agnes Moorehead, Vincent Price) The real-life horrors of a mental institution in the 1950s and the alienation of electroshock therapy. A service announcement. It can’t compare to the horror of Moorehead’s whining. [See Also: The Snake Pit (1948) with Olivia de Havilland]


NBC University Theater

Withered Arm, The  

Unknowing witch dreams revenge on her lover’s new suitor, who then must touch a hanged man’s neck to be cured of the dream-curse: A useless, disfigured arm! Guess who the hanged man turns out to be? [Adapted from Thomas Hardy]

Night Has a Thousand Eyes  

(Edward G. Robinson) A mind reading act goes south when the medium receives real visions. He sees his assistant/lover die, so he leaves to avoid its possibility. She marries and has a child while he lives as a hermit, but she cannot escape fate. He then sees the daughter’s death… by a lion! Guess what just escaped the zoo? (Screenwriters Playhouse)



(Vincent Price) During transport to prison, a prisoner gets the best of his guard, and when a woman has to share their train car, she wonders why the man handcuffed to the officer is bleeding… and dead. The killer coerces her to unlock the cuffs, then jumps out the window on a slow curve, planning to steal the cops’ identity. The criminal is supposed to be “paranoid;” they use the term improperly, but its superfluous to the story. No plot and a tacked-on spin ending, but Price makes the tension fun.


Raised From the Dead, The  

Crime. A trio fake a friend’s death to break him out of prison, but once he draws a map to where the loot is buried, it all goes for nothing. One by one, the rest of the mob drops, and the moll stands alone. Her crazy voice is something else!


Shadow of Huntley House, The  

A woman decides she’s got a chance at her twin sister’s newly acquired inheritance… by taking her place! She kills her husband after he aides in dumping the body. She is almost successful, but murder runs in the family!


Out of the Night

(15 min. episodes)

Empty Coffin, The  

In 1875, an insurance investigator discovers that a coffin holds not a missing husband’s corpse, but scrap metal!


Girl With Two Personalities, The  

A young girl wakes believing she is the daughter of a neighbor who died years ago. She knows things only that girl would know. The change lasts only a few days before the girl returns to herself.



Ninth Skeleton, The  

Man gets lost in the dark woods on his way to meet his lover. The final in a procession of skeletons turns out to be his companion… but who are the other eight? [Adapted from Clark Ashton Smith]

Request Performance

The Bet (Boris Karloff, Frank Morgan, Roy Rogers) 1946  

Karloff, sick of scaring, tries being a jokester and a singing cowboy, but reaches his swing as a romantic crooner singing to the Bat Woman. “Campbell’s Soup… Uhmmm,Uhmmm Ghuuud…” He then gives a straight performance in Anton Checkov’s The Bet— It’s great with The Wizard of Oz’s voice!


Richard Diamond, Private Detective

VanDyke Seance, The  

Dick Diamond is hired to protect Mrs. VanDyke from phony psychic crooks. He proves Professor Leonardo is a bunko artist. Tongue-in-cheek humor gets out of hand when undercover character Lulabell laughs. But VanDyke dies that night.Diamond hunts down the Doc, but who’s got the jewels? After a gunfight, Diamond reveals the true plot! Then he sings “Don’t Blame Me” at the end. (Not horror. Crime/Detective? Comedy? Variety? It’s a weird ride.)


Screen Director’s Playhouse

Big Clock, The  

(William Conrad, Tony Barrett – 1949) A man is approached by his magnate boss’ girl after he quits, disgruntled. She’s killed, and still had his handkerchief in her purse. But their gag gift for the boss is missing from the crime scene! Can the crime reporter put the pieces together before he gets fingered? An abridged version of the film noir classic.


Screen Guild Theater

On Borrowed Time  

(Vincent Price, Agnes Moorehead, Lionel Barrymore) A short version of the movie. An old man traps Death up an apple tree. What happens when “Mr. Brink” lures his grandson too close to the tree? What of the boy’s meddling aunt? A morbidly sweet morality play. [Adapted from Lawrence Edward Watkin]


Sherlock Holmes

Terrifying Cats  

Murder Mystery. An opera singer with a cat phobia loses her voice permanently from screaming after she is locked in a room full of the demonic felines. Was her understudy responsible?

Tales of Horror

Devil’s Deep, The  

Murder, blackmail, and intrigue at sea. Good crime noir adventure, no supernatural. The dead guy is alive, a master blackmailer… but he’s not the one!

The Unexpected


An adopted son pines to get out and see the world. He would do anything to escape, even set fire to his adoptive guardian’s home!

The Uninvited

Guest Spirit at the Seance, A  

A journalist attempts to de-bunk a medium, but gets killed instead. His wife, seeking her still-missing spouse, attends a seance. This time the medium gives an authentic one!


Vanishing Point

Lost Door, The  

An insurance salesman returns home to discover another family in his home. The doctor at the mental ward finds no record of his existence. He finally decides it was those stairs he took, the ones that weren’t supposed to be there. Eventually the same fate befalls the doctor! This is an overused concept and it’s never adequately explained here. Somehow it all ties into a jumper on a bridge. But I never figured out how.


Small Good Thing, A  

A couple’s son is hit by a car and dies.They forget about the birthday cake they had ordered, and the baker makes harassing phone calls. When they go to crack his skull, he gives them fresh bread and cocoa, a small nicety in a terrible situation. A good story, but an emotional wringer. Not Horror. Not sure why it is included here.


Snow Shadow Area  

A child mangler is lose in an isolated,completely snowed-in town.A similar feel to 30 Days of Night. We listen to an audio diary sent to police as we try to guess whether the recordings are real or just a fiction. The man relates how the town wonders that his child is the only one not victimized.


Wild Bill Hickock

Hoodoo of Fiddler’s Bend, The  

Gold prospectors are being killed, and when Wild Bill & Jingles investigate, the sluice gates are released on their heads! The “blue hoodoo” is a curse of blueish clay sludge in the soil that makes mining difficult. Great Kellogg’s commercials! No horror, but what fun!

X Minus One

Dr. Grimshaw’s Sanitarium  

A private eye goes undercover to discover why a man’s death was faked. They are shrinking the people. They shrink the private eye. Hee hee!

Mars is Heaven  

The first scout mission to Mars discovers that their dead loved ones are still alive… and living on Mars!But a doctor who lost his family in Dachow and has no memory of them finds no one there. He wonders how Martians would defend their homeworld against Earth nukes.The ending is no real surprise, but left me with the creepy-crawlies nonetheless! [Adapted from Ray Bradbury]


Wherever You May Be  

A man writing his thesis on witchcraft goes to the Ozarks and meets an eighteen year old girl who has run away from home and is looking for a husband. But when she gets mad, her telekinesis tends to kill her men. This story had real potential, but never scored.


Yours Truly, Johnny Dollar

The Matter of the Medium, Well Done  

1956. Five-Part Serial (15 Minute Episodes)
Episode 1
Johnny is asked to investigate why a wealthy woman has suddenly changed the beneficiaries of her sizeable life insurance policy to a medium and a thug.

Episode 2
Johnny meets the gorgeous Carol Sharpe, who invites him to see her psychic in action. He lies that he has seen her before in a veridical dream. The thug, Tony Ricardo, threatens Johnny’s life.

Episode 3
In order to better understand how the seance racket works, Police Sergeant Singer takes Johnny to see the fake psychic Miss Clarabel. She gives pretty good insurance advice while in a trance, then Singer reveals the badge. Miss Clarabel comes clean when they promise not to pinch her.

Episode 4
Johnny has a date with Carol to attend a seance of top-notch medium Celia Morgana-Morgana. Ricardo meets Johnny, but is genuinely concerned for Carol. He preps Johnny for what to expect at the seance. Expense item #15: Special infra-red camera! Carol’s father talks to her through a trumpet. So does Johnny’s brother… except he never had one!

Episode 5
Exposed, Morgana-Morgana claims she offers comfort and solace to the grieving. Carol, Johnny, and Tony then drive back to Jersey where Carol’s adopted brother is waiting. He pulls a gun, but Tony is quicker! He was jealous that Carol had received most of the inheritance.


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