Welcome back, friends, to another Retro Radio Memories offering. This week we have an episode from the Dark Fantasy old time radio show – a tale involving murder, and death brought about by the supernatural. Superstition Be Hanged was the 17th episode of Dark Fantasy, the popular radio show broadcast from WKY in Oklahoma City beginning on November 14, 1941 and running for 31 episodes – the last episode being broadcast across the air waves on June 19, 1942. The brainchild of Scott Bishop – the pseudonym for George Marion Hamaker – a writer known best perhaps for writing The Mysterious Traveler and Tales of the Witch Queen. The popularity of Dark Fantasy however didn’t quite reach the heights of The Mysterious Traveler – which received both a magazine featuring the character but a series of Charlton Comics, the latter being illustrated by none other than Steve Ditko!
Superstition Be Hanged is an interesting tale, as the episode has a couple of twists and turns that I certainly wasn’t expecting. At the beginning of the show we are introduced to a trapeze artist known as ‘Flyer’ Sampson as well as his two friends and fellow trapeze performers at the circus, Barker and Ruby. The young Woman is quite worried about Sampson – he is performing a dangerous stunt, one meant to impress the vast audiences which means… he has no safety net. It’s a curious thing though why Ruby and Barker both start to discuss the importance of having a white feather on them and if Sampson does too.
Considering it happens in a matter of minutes at the beginning of Superstition Be Hanged, I don’t feel it’s a spoiler to let you know the performance doesn’t go as planned. Sampson dies in the attempt to amazing his audience, a horrifying accident it would seem…or is it? The fortune teller for the show seems to know something as he too mentions cautioning Barker, Ruby and the late Sampson to carry those feathers. A feather as we later learn that must come from a baby swan – dotted with the blood of a dove. When Police Inspector Gilfoil arrives on the scene – the surviving trapeze artists behave rather differently. Do they have something to hide from the Police – it’s Old Time Radio – of course they do!
Now dim the lights if you are able and join us for Dark Fantasy and Superstition Be Hanged!
In case you were wondering, that title image belongs to 1952’s The Greatest Show on Earth!
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