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OLD TIME RADIO - 1 CD - 60 mp3 - Total Playtime: 25:53:11

Arch Oboler (December 7, 1907 – March 19, 1987) was a playwright, screenwriter, novelist, producer and director who was active in radio, films, theater and television. He generated much attention with his radio scripts, and his work in radio remains the outstanding period of his career. Praised as one of broadcasting's top talents, he is regarded today as a key innovator of radio drama.

Born in Chicago, Illinois, to Leon Oboler and Clara Oboler, Jewish immigrants from Riga, Latvia, Arch Oboler briefly attended the University of Chicago prior to dropping out to pursue a full-time writing career.

Oboler sold his first radio scripts while still in high school during the 1920s and rose to fame when he began scripting the NBC horror anthology Lights Out in 1936. He later found notoriety with his script contribution to the 12 December 1937 edition of The Chase and Sanborn Hour. In Oboler's sketch, host Don Ameche and guest Mae West portrayed a slightly bawdy Adam and Eve, satirizing the Biblical tale of the Garden of Eden. On the surface, the sketch did not feature much more than West's customary suggestive double-entendres, and today it seems quite tame. But in 1937, that sketch and a subsequent routine featuring West trading suggestive quips with Edgar Bergen's dummy Charlie McCarthy helped the broadcast cause a furor that resulted in West being banned from broadcasting and from being mentioned at all on NBC programming for 15 years. The timing may have been a contributing factor, according to radio historian Gerald S. Nachman in Raised on Radio:

The sketch resulted in letters from outraged listeners and decency groups... What upset churchgoing listeners wasn't the Biblical parody so much as the fact that it had the bad luck to air on a Sunday show.

When Oboler took over Lights Out in 1936, the show was already a sensation because of creator Wyllis Cooper's violent, quirky scripts, and Oboler continued in a similar vein, announcing during the opening of each episode:

This is Arch Oboler bringing you another of our series of stories of the unusual, and once again we caution you: These Lights Out stories are definitely not for the timid soul. So we tell you calmly and very sincerely, if you frighten easily, turn off your radio now.

One of Oboler's best remembered scripts for Lights Out was Chicken Heart, first broadcast March 10, 1937:

Dr. Calvin: I tell you that mass of flesh was a chicken heart... the tissue of which for some reason is undergoing constant, rapid, accelerating growth. With every passing hour its growth is doubling. Do you know what that means? If it is now one block in size, within 30 hours that cannibal flesh will have increased in size to one square block to the 30th power. In 30 hours every inch of this whole city will be crushed under that moving flesh. Within 60 hours it will have covered the entire state. Within two weeks the entire United States. You ask for the National Guard. I say call out the entire army. Blast this thing off the earth.

Curiously, in the 1960s, "Chicken Heart" became more associated with comedian Bill Cosby than Oboler. Cosby's retelling of the radio drama with humorous vocalized sound effects became one of his most popular comedy routines, recorded on Cosby's Wonderfulness (1966) and available today on both YouTube and a CD reissue.

In 1939, Oboler introduced another series, Arch Oboler's Plays, on NBC. In addition to horror tales, the dramas on this series often employed more topical material, especially regarding early World War II events, and the cast featured many leading film actors. After a year on NBC, it returned for a short run on Mutual in 1945. The series was syndicated in 1964.


Arch Oboler's Plays 42-06-21 (00) Adolph and Mrs. Runyon
Arch Oboler's Plays 64-10-03 The Word
Arch Oboler's Plays 64-10-10 The Visitor From Hades
Arch Obolers Plays 39-04-15 (04) The Ways of Men; Past, Present and Future
Arch Obolers Plays 39-04-29 (06) The Cliff
Arch Obolers Plays 39-05-06 (07) Engulfed Cathedral
Arch Obolers Plays 39-05-13 (08) Baby(1)
Arch Obolers Plays 39-05-20 (09) Crazy Town
Arch Obolers Plays 39-06-03 (11) Steelworker(1)
Arch Obolers Plays 39-06-10 (12) Nero's Wife
Arch Obolers Plays 39-07-08 (16) The Ivory Tower
Arch Obolers Plays 39-07-29 (19) Another World
Arch Obolers Plays 39-09-16 (26) Suffer Little Children - Finale(1)
Arch Obolers Plays 39-11-18 (35) Bathysphere
Arch Obolers Plays 39-11-25 (36) Mirage-Miss American
Arch Obolers Plays 39-12-16 (39) Nobody Died
Arch Obolers Plays 39-12-30 (41) This Precious Freedom
Arch Obolers Plays 40-01-13 (43) The Truth(1)
Arch Obolers Plays 40-01-27 (45) Three Stories - With Tongue-In-Cheek
Arch Obolers Plays 40-02-24 (49) The Women Stayed at Home
Arch Obolers Plays 40-03-09 (51) Johnny Got His Gun
Arch Obolers Plays 44-06-17 xx Four For The Fifth Surrender
Arch Obolers Plays 45-04-05 (01) Strange Morning
Arch Obolers Plays 45-04-26 (03) The House I Live In
Arch Obolers Plays 45-05-03 (04) Love, Love, Love
Arch Obolers Plays 45-05-10 (05) Holiday 194X
Arch Obolers Plays 45-05-17 (06) Mr Ten Percent
Arch Obolers Plays 45-05-24 (07) An Exercise in Horror (A Peculiar Comedy)
Arch Obolers Plays 45-05-31 (08) Double Feature
Arch Obolers Plays 45-06-07 (09) Night
Arch Obolers Plays 45-06-14 (10) Mr Pyle
Arch Obolers Plays 45-06-21 (11) The Naked Mountain
Arch Obolers Plays 45-06-28 (12) The Truth
Arch Obolers Plays 45-07-05 (13) Dr Bluff
Arch Obolers Plays 45-07-12 (14) A Gallery of Big Shots - Feminine
Arch Obolers Plays 45-07-19 (15) Special to Hollywood
Arch Obolers Plays 45-07-26 (16) My Chicago
Arch Obolers Plays 45-08-02 (17) Parade
Arch Obolers Plays 45-08-09 (18) History of a Mug
Arch Obolers Plays 45-08-16 (19) Lust for Life
Arch Obolers Plays 45-09-06 (21) Mirage
Arch Obolers Plays 45-09-13 (22) A Gallery of Big Shots - Masculine
Arch Obolers Plays 45-09-20 (23) Rocket from Manhattan
Arch Obolers Plays 45-09-27 (24) The Family Nagachi
Arch Obolers Plays 45-10-04 (25) Mr Miller
Arch Obolers Plays 45-10-11 (26) This Living Book (I Declare War)
Arch Obolers Plays 48-03-09 (51) Johnny Got His Gun
Arch Obolers Plays 64-10-17 (03) Special to Hollywood
Arch Obolers Plays 64-10-24 (04) The Day Sinatra Got Fat
Arch Obolers Plays 64-10-31 (05) Come to the Bank
Arch Obolers Plays 64-11-07 (13) Immortal Gentleman
Arch Obolers Plays 64-11-14 (07) Big Ben
Arch Obolers Plays 64-11-21 (08) Rocket from Manhattan
Arch Obolers Plays 64-11-28 (09) African Story
Arch Obolers Plays 64-12-05 (10) Revolt of the Worms
Arch Obolers Plays 64-12-12 (11) Bathysphere
Arch Obolers Plays 64-12-19 (12) Mirage
Arch Obolers Plays 64-12-26 (13) Him or Me
Arch Obolers Plays xx-xx-xx The Dark Stereo
Arch Obolers Plays xx-xx-xx The Day The Sun Explorer





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  • Model: OTR-1CD-ArchObolerPlays
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This product was added to our catalog on Tuesday 07 June, 2011.

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