More Needles in the Camel's Eye

benito-cereno:

"The Thing on the Fourble Board" from Quiet, Please (1948)

A few months ago, following a certain post I made (to say which one would be a bit of a spoiler), someone brought this delightful piece of history to my attention, and I am very excited to share it with you now.

"The Thing on the Fourble Board" is widely considered the best and scariest piece of radio to have come out of radio’s golden age of horror and mystery programming. If you listen, you will learn why.

A fourble board is a horizontal platform on an oil derrick that is as high off the ground as four lengths of pipe are long (“fourble”=”quadruple”). This is the tale of a worker at the oil derrick and the staff geologist, and what they discover about the things their drilling has (literally) unearthed.

I’m trying my best to find the right balance between not over-hyping this and making it clear that this is the coolest fucking thing you will hear this Halloween.

I know asking you to listen to 25 minutes of old timey radio is asking a lot in this crazy iPad world we live in, but this is exactly the length of an episode of Welcome to Night Vale, so I know you can find time for it. Just imagine the narrator is Cecil and the geologist is Carlos. We can do this, together. Don’t worry: the writing is tight and the pace is fairly brisk. You won’t get bored.

You can download an mp3 of the show here if you want it on your listening devices instead of playing it on YouTube. (please let me know if this link doesn’t work)

Just take a few minutes, maybe while you’re cooking dinner or washing dishes or whatever, and give a listen to one of the most revered pieces of horror radio in history, and if you like it, please share it with someone you think would enjoy it.

In the story a donkey, a dog, a cat, and a rooster, all past their prime years in life and usefulness on their respective farms, were soon to be discarded or mistreated by their masters. One by one they leave their homes and set out together. They decide to go to Bremen, known for its freedom, to live without owners and become musicians there.

On the way to Bremen, they see a lighted cottage; they look inside and see four robbers enjoying their ill-gotten gains. Standing on each other’s backs, they decide to perform for the men in hope of gaining food. Their ‘music’ has an unanticipated effect; the men run for their lives, not knowing what the strange sound is. The animals take possession of the house, eat a good meal, and settle in for the evening.

Later that night, the robbers return and send one of their members in to investigate. He sees the Cat’s eyes shining in the darkness and thinks he is seeing the coals of the fire. He reaches over to light his candle. Things happen in quick succession; the Cat scratches his face with her claws, the Dog bites him on the leg, the Donkey kicks him and the Rooster crows and chases him out the door, screaming. He tells his companions that he was beset by a horrible witch who scratched him with her long fingers (the Cat), an ogre with a knife (the Dog), a giant who had hit him with his club (the Donkey), and worst of all, the judge who screamed in his voice from the rooftop (the Rooster). The robbers abandon the cottage to the strange creatures who have taken it, where the animals live happily for the rest of their days.”