Fliers for Marvel Slurpie Cups from 7-11
"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.
18th-century English clergyman Tobias Swinden, who argued in his text An Enquiry Into the Nature and Place of Hell, that “hell couldn’t lie below Earth’s surface: The fires would soon go out, he reasoned, due to lack of air. Not to mention that the Earth’s interior would be too small to accommodate all the damned, especially after making allowances for future generations of the damned-to-be. Instead, wrote Swinden, it’s obvious that hell stares us in the face every day: It’s the sun.” (c/o)
“The writing team of “Saturday Night Live” for the 1985-86 season, when Jack Handey joined the show. Top row: Don Novello, John Swartzwelder, Mark McKinney, Handey, Tom Davis. Middle row: Bruce McCulloch, Robert Smigel, Carol Leifer, George Meyer. Bottom row: A. Whitney Brown, Lanier Laney, Terry Sweeney, Lorne Michaels, Al Franken, James Downey.”
Issac Woodard, Orson Welles, and the Zimmerman trial.
In 1946, a black member of the armed forces who had just been discharged, had, through a series of incidents outlined here, been blinded for life by the beating from a while police officer. Orson Welles found out about this, and took to the air to find the officer. I find his commentary to be kind of inspiring in the face of the Zimmerman decision.
We will not forget Zimmerman and his crime. Orson Welles is more stirring than I am, so I’ll leave the rest to him.
“"Sir John E. Packenham, an officer in the English army, who has been spending the last year in her Majesty’s northern provinces, arrived at Fort Buford [in North Dakota] with an animal of rare beauty, and never before caught on this continent, nor has it been known till late years that the species existed in this country. It is of the same family as the giraffe, or camelopard, of Africa, and is known to naturalists as the tygomelia. They are known to inhabit the high table lands of Cashmere and Hindoo Kush, but are more frequently seen on the high peaks of the Himalaya Mountains. The animal was taken when quite young, and is thoroughly domesticated, and follows its keeper like a dog. It is only four months old, and ordinarily stands about five feet high, but is capable of raising its head two feet, which makes the animal seven feet when standing erect. It is of a dark brown mouse color, large projecting eyes, with slight indications of horns growing out. The wonderful animal was caught north of Lake Athabasca, on the water of the McKenzie’s River. It has a craw similar to the pelican, by which means it can carry subsistence for several days. It was very fleet, being able to outfoot the fastest horse in the country. The black dapper spots on the rich brown color make it one of the most beautiful animals in existence, more beautiful than the leopard of the Chinese jungle."