Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Young Fears 28: Papa Benjamin

Each October I like to run a series of Halloween-themed posts on this blog. All this month, I'll be telling anecdotes about things which frightened me while growing up.

I've spoken before about the Escape episode entitled "Papa Benjamin." It's from a story by Cornell Woolrich and it's been adapted in a few places, such as in the film Dr. Terror's House of Horrors and an episode of Boris Karloff's Thriller. Still, this is one I keep returning to because my initial encounter was so memorably frightening. Part of my initial fascination with old-time radio shows were the scary programs - Suspense, the Whistler, the Shadow - and then, as now, I would listen to QR77's old-time radio rebroadcasts every night.

One evening I awoke to hear the radio on; I had fallen asleep early into the evening's shows. Half-awake, I heard a drama unfold about policemen venturing into a filthy New Orleans back alley where they found a dead man. Investigating the murder, they learn this is all tied up in voodoo. In my drowsy state the eeriness of the situation seemed all the more intense; I could have easily gone back to sleep but no, I remained awake - I had to know how it all turned out!

Don't take my word for it - listen to "Papa Benjamin" here (archive.org link).

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