The Wailing Wall - Inner Sanctum

Retro Radio Memories: The Wailing Wall (1945)

Friends, we are a scant few days away from Halloween itself so I hope you realize I had to pull out the big guns for this Retro Radio Memories offering. For your listening pleasure I have selected an episode of The Inner Sanctum radio show from November 6th, 1945 entitled The Wailing Wall – did I mention it stars none other than Boris Karloff? It concerns an odd little mansion tucked in between the towering buildings of Manhattan, A dilapidated structure that as we are introduced to it…appears to be burning to the ground!

Inner Sanctum first hit the air on January 7, 1941 and lasted until October 5, 1951 – with 526 radio broadcasts in total. In The Wailing Wall, Karloff portrays Gabriel Hornel a man who has for reasons that will be explained to us, has been driven to murder his Wife. Now I will ask you, what actor besides the legendary Boris Karloff could make you smile – as you listen to him discuss his horrific intentions?
The Wailing Wall - Boris Karloff - Inner Sanctum

Now to be honest, we learn of what has caused Gabriel to murder his Wife, Agnes – by way of a suicide letter. The reasons for the murderer to take his own life are less the result of a guilty conscience than what appears to be the hand of something supernatural. Although I should mention there is a witness to the heinous crime – the family cat and throughout the episode it seems intent on revealing his crime. Now the first time I was listening to this episode I immediately thought this was an adaptation of Edgar Allan Poe’s The Black Cat.

The Wailing Wall - Byam Shaw
The Black Cat by Byam Shaw.

And while it might certainly have been inspired by that chilling tale, this isn’t the case with The Wailing Wall. For one thing there is the added element of another Woman – possibly the reason that Gabriel settled on the idea of murdering his Wife in the first place. There is also a great deal of creepiness in the wrap up of the show, the amount of suffering that Gabriel has undergone – for 40 years – even if it was rightfully earned by his terrible deed. The small pangs of sympathy you might feel for the murderer can only be contributed to how masterfully Karloff plays his part.

So turn down the lights around you, if possible, and join use as we learn of the horror of The Wailing Wall!

When you are done listening to Boris Karloff in The Wailing Wall why not take a few minutes and listen to both Sara Karloff as well as Bela Lugosi Jr. talk a bit about the legacy of their fathers?

[Via] Holly Martins


Editor at Retroist
Searching through the alleys for useful knowledge in the city of Nostalgia. Huge cinema fanatic and sometimes carrier of the flame for the weirding ways of 80s gaming, toys, and television. When his wife lets him he is quite happy sitting in the corner eating buckets of beef jerky.

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