The Fog Horn - The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms

Retro Radio Memories: Ray Bradbury’s The Fog Horn

Morning, friends! I have on occasion when writing for the site, mentioned my love of Ray Bradbury. In particular his tales concerning the Autumn People and the spirit of the month of October. However I have always found in many of Bradbury’s works, a sense of melancholy. Now there are times when that is wrapped within something truly horrific, like in The Playground. Other stories though like 1951’s The Fog Horn present that melancholy as doomed and deeply moving. Between a prehistoric creature from the depths of the ocean and… well, the fog horn at a light house.

It was in 1951 that Bradbury’s The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms was first published in the Saturday Evening Post. Yes, the original title for the short story was indeed the basis for the 1953 film. In fact it appears that little bit of trivia depends on who you asked. I have seen some accounts stating that Ray Bradbury was visiting his friend, the legendary stop-motion animator Ray Harryhausen. On the set of a film that was intended to be entitled Monster from the Sea. Harryhausen supposedly asked his friend to look over the script, see if he could punch up the screenplay. Bradbury of course was surprised to find a scene in the screenplay that resembled events in The Fog Horn.
The Fog Horn - Ray Harryhausen

Another story behind how Ray Bradbury’s name became attached to the 1953 film, comes from the Author himself. In the book Ray Harryhausen – Master of the Majicks Vol. 2. Bradbury was quoted as saying about a meeting with Hal Chester, the co-founder of Mutual Films who were bankrolling the movie:
“Hal Chester called me in and asked me to read the preliminary script [at this point only a rough draft treatment]. I pointed out the resemblance between it and my short story The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms, which had appeared in The Saturday Evening Post during 1951. Chester’s face paled and his jaw dropped when I told him his monster was my monster.”

Bradbury states that by the next day he had received a telegram, an offer to purchase the rights to the story. For a rather staggering two thousand dollars. A deal that Bradbury obviously accepted, with the film being able to add the Author’s name to the credits!

[Via] YouTube Movies

Ray Bradbury would alter the title of his popular short story to The Fog Horn in his 1953 short story collection, The Golden Apples of the Sun. I have to admit I certainly like the new title he gave the story even better than the original. Furthermore I can’t help but feel perhaps the name change, was a bit of good-natured nose tweaking.
The Fog Horn - Ray Bradbury

The short story concerns two men, stationed in a remote light house, named Johnny and McDunn. Johnny is a younger man and acts as the narrator for the events of the tale. When one evening as the mournful wailing sound of the fog horn summons something from the depths.
The Fog Horn - The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms - Light House

Are you ready to learn of The Fog Horn and the beast from the depths that answers it’s call?

If you are still in a mood for more Ray Bradbury after that. Might I humbly remind you that we’ve covered the likes of Usher II on the Saturday Frights Podcast?

Black Museum - Radio

Retro Radio: Four Small Bottles (The Black Museum)

Welcome back, friends, to a new offering for Retro Radio Memories. This time we have an episode of the classic old time radio program, The Black Museum. A show entitled Four Small Bottles. Which originally had been aired on May 20th, 1952. As always it features Orson Welles as both host and narrator, I’m sure I do not need to say he does an incredible job?
Black Museum - Orson Welles

Like all of The Black Museum episodes, Four Small Bottles is based on real cases from Scotland Yard’s infamous collection. Also known as The Crime Museum, it is a collection for New Scotland Yard for objects from crime cases. Not open to the public, it does however function as a means to teach the Police in both the study of crime as well as criminals themselves.

It was founded of sorts in 1874 by Inspector Neame and a Constable Randall. Case files and even objects from a myriad of crimes are housed in The Black Museum. Such as the letters that are assumed to have belonged to Jack the Ripper!
Black Museum - Jack the Ripper

In Four Small Bottles , we learn the dark history of said containers. Involving the death of one Oscar Stone. The suspects in this case are Anne Stone, the Widow of Oscar, as well as a Reverend Edgar Sweet. Remember these dramatizations are based on actual cases from Scotland Yard!

Join us, friends. Turn down those lights and lean in closer to the warmth of the computer screen. Let us journey back to 1952 as we pay a visit to The Black Museum and learn the secrets of the Four Small Bottles!

Of course I would be remiss if in addition I didn’t suggest you check out the Retro Radio Memories Podcast. While I certainly do not upload a new episode every week, a brand new episode will pop up from time to time.

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Bertie the Brain - Danny Kaye

First Computer Game Was 1950’s Bertie The Brain?

It of course depends on how you look at it, friends. However in 1950 Bertie the Brain made a splash at the Canadian National Exhibition. It has been said that awestruck visitors were lining up to challenge Bertie the Brain, matching wits with the computer in a simple game of tic-tac-toe. In fact that image you see at the top of the post? That happens to be none other than Danny Kaye (White Christmas) quite pleased he has bested Bertie the Brain!

How did Bertie come to be? That is thanks to an Austrian-Canadian immigrant named Josef Kates. The ‘first’ computer game came about thanks to another invention of Dr. Kates. The Rogers 6047 Additron tube!

Bertie the Brain - Dr. Josef Kates - Spacing Toronto

Image courtesy of Spacing Toronto.

Named so because Dr. Kates was working at Rogers Majestic. While at the same time I should add building one of the first computers in the world for the University of Toronto. The Additron tube was an electron tube that acted as a full binary adder. Which was of course Dr. Kates’ way of minimizing the amount of tubes and equipment needed in a computer. If you want your mind blown, I beg you to watch this video from Uniservo!

Sadly while patented in 1951, the Additron was never put into full production. As an old time radio enthusiast I obviously love the look of Vacuum tubes. Which is probably why I am so enamored by the look of Bertie the Brain. Rogers Majestic wanted Dr. Kates to build something that would show off the Additron tubes power, which is how the world was introduced to the tic-tac-toe playing computer.
Bertie the Brain - Computer

The fact that Bertie the Brain used lights on it’s display instead of graphics. This of course has sparked discussion on if it can be considered a video game. Hence why most folks will admit it was at the very least one of the earliest computer games. Bertie measured a whopping 13 feet or 4 meters tall and possessed a keyboard. As well as allowing Dr. Kates to adjust the difficulty of the game on the fly.
Bertie the Brain - Dr. Josef Kates

What ever became of Bertie the Brain though? After it’s two week presentation at the Canadian National Exhibition it was dismantled and stored away. As a matter of fact there is a wonderful article from back in 2016 on the Popular Mechanics site. It goes into far more detail and is worth your time to read!

Here is a short video from Mitten Squad, in which the early history of electronic gaming is discussed. Including a segment on Bertie the Brain of course!


Retro Radio Memories Ep. 88 (The Saint)

Welcome back, friends. To this special Holiday episode of the Retro Radio Memories podcast. One of course whose subject just so happens to be The Saint. The popular running radio series based on the character created by Leslie Charteris in 1928. The Saint or Simon Templar as his friends and close enemies call him. Is in fact a type of modern day Robin Hood – however he lives off his ‘good deeds’ too. What I am saying of course is that Simon makes sure these actions help to line his own coffers in the process.
The Saint - Leslie Charteris

While it is certainly true that we’ve shared an episode or two of The Saint on the podcast before. With the Holiday upon us, I felt it the perfect time to share a Seasonal offering. While The Saint radio series got it’s start in 1940, most fans feel that it was the NBC version that is best. Naturally it is hard to argue that fact as it feature Vincent Price as Simon Templar!
The Saint - Vincent Price

In our episode today, entitled Santa Claus is No Saint. Templar of course finds himself mixed up in a dangerous situation. Furthermore, one that involves a case of mistaken identity as well as a stolen necklace.

So settle in where it is warm, friends. Let the soothing electronic glow of your monitor or phone ease your worries away. And join us on Retro Radio Memories as we go on another caper with The Saint!

If you have any comments or feedback for the show you can e-mail them to at You can also reach me on Twitter and of course on Facebook.

The music on the podcast was provided by Peachy! You may contact him by e-mail at And be sure to “Like” him on his Facebook Page.

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Now that you have enjoyed the adventures of Vincent Price as The Saint. Why not continue to enjoy the exploits of Simon Templar?

I am referring of course to the late and great Roger Moore’s popular television adaptation of the character, in an episode entitled The Latin Touch!