Unfortunately such is the fragility of OTR many of the the fantastic stories that made up I Love A Mystery are lost forever. In fact, the greatest mystery of all surrounding Carlton E Morse's series, is the mystery of where all the shows went to!
Bud Carey, a West Coast OTR DJ, helped produce (with the aid of Jim Harmon) a recreation of the "lost" interior episodes of the classic story, TEMPLE OF VAMPIRES using the original Carlton E. Morse scripts. They were made for his January 1989 radio program, "Old Time Theatre", and were broadcast over radio station KALW. It is a very credible and surprisingly solid effort. The reproduced episodes are 8,9,10,11,12,13,14,15 &18.
Carlton E. Morse wrote several radio series - the popular One Man's Family, featured the sprawling Barbour family of Sea Cliff, California; Adventures by Morse featuring a San Francisco detective, Captain Bart Friday and his sidekick, who roamed the world together seeking danger and solving mysteries, and I Love Adventure.
But it's I Love A Mystery which is considered by many radio fans and collectors to be the greatest radio adventure serial of all time - newspapers even had adverts running which read:
Do Not Fail to listen to the exciting program
“ I LOVE A MYSTERY”
Carlton E. Morse’s hair-raising, teeth-chattering
thrillers that have all America
on the edge of its chair!!!
I recently came across a web page, written by a Canadian doctor and I Love A Mystery enthusiast, who has collated all of the facts, rumors and speculation about the missing shows, and presented them on a web page, so I emailed and asked him if he would be happy for me to share this information with you.
So where did they all go?
Well Joy and I have looked high and low, searching out further episodes. We have just a few complete stories which are on RUSC already, and one final story, The Hermit of San Felipe Atabapo which I've begun adding to RUSC today. However, the quality of this one isn't great, and there are two parts of the story missing.
According to old time radio collector Don Aston, a private collector called Jerry Stier recorded The Hermit of San Felipe Atabapo off the air, which is why the quality suffered. Collectors have been using every device going to clean up the audio over the years, and the episodes we have are best I have heard so far.
I Love A Mystery has a huge following, and over the years many enthusiasts have filled the gaps in the original lost broadcasts with recreations using the original scripts written by Carlton E. Morse, such as The Fear That Creeps Like A Cat, which is a complete remake of the original lost broadcasts, produced by OTR historian and I Love A Mystery aficionado Jim Harmon, who met and befriended Carlton E. Morse in the 1960’s.
Some of the episodes of the classic story Temple Of Vampires were not the originals either. Bud Carey, a West Coast OTR DJ, helped produce (with the aid of Jim Harmon) these recreations. They were made for his January 1989 radio program, "Old-Time Theatre", and were broadcast over the San Francisco Unified School District's radio station KALW-FM. It is a very credible and surprisingly solid effort.
But the big question still remains. What happened to all of the I Love A Mystery original electrical transcription discs? Even Carlton E Morse had no idea!
There are several rumors in circulation;
- A millionaire is hoarding many of the discs, and plays them over and over for himself and a few select friends.
- A vice president of a US oil corporation has many of the discs in his collection of thousands. This person’s widow is apparently holding out for some big bucks for this rare collection.
- Morse's agent took them and moved them to England when he returned there to retire.
- Some of the "lost" shows may be simply lying around, unrecognized and misattributed. For example, a public radio station had been airing over the Internet radio shows via streaming audio, and one of these shows was a "lost" fragment, so who knows what other treasures public radio stations may have squirreled away in their attics and dusty basements?
Do you believe any of the rumors, or do you know something we don't? I sure hope that the mystery of the lost discs is solved in my lifetime!