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The Zero Hour (aka Hollywood Radio Theater) was a 1973–74 American radio drama anthology series hosted by Rod Serling.[1][2] With tales of mystery, adventure and suspense, the program was broadcast for two seasons. Some of the scripts were written by Serling.[3]

Originally placed into syndication on September 3, 1973, the series was picked up by the Mutual Broadcasting System in December of that year. The original format featured five-part dramas broadcast Monday through Friday with the story coming to a conclusion on Friday. Including commercials, each part was approximately 30 minutes long. Mutual affiliates were free to broadcast the series in any available time slot that they wished.[4]

In 1974, still airing five days a week, the program changed to a full story in a single 30-minute installment with the same actor starring throughout the week in all five programs. That format was employed from late April 1974 to the end of the series on July 26, 1974.

Producer J. M. Kholos was a Los Angeles advertising man who acquired the rights to suspense novels, including Tony Hillerman's The Blessing Way, for radio adaptations. In some cases, the titles were changed. For example, the five-part "Desperate Witness" was an adaptation of The Big Clock by Kenneth Fearing. To create a strong package, Kholos followed through by lining up top actors, including John Astin, Edgar Bergen, Joseph Campanella, Richard Crenna, John Dehner, Howard Duff, Keenan Wynn, Richard Deacon, Patty Duke, Nina Foch, George Maharis, Susan Oliver, Brock Peters and Lurene Tuttle.

The opening theme music was by Ferrante & Teicher. Don Hills produced the series for StudioHouse, which also produced the Salvation Army's Heartbeat Theatre. Counting each five-part show as five episodes, there were a total of 130 episodes. Failing to find a large audience due to the initial weekly serial format and lack of promotion, Mutual canceled the program in July 1974, though many Mutual affiliates continued broadcasting repeats for several months afterward. According to director Elliott Lewis, "They wanted as much name value as possible to help with sales. They forgot they had to sell it. Everybody sat in the office and waited for someone to call them up and buy the show."[5]

Highbridge Audio has released some of the five-part stories on audiocassettes.

Episodes - Series OneEdit

Episode Title Written by / based on novel by Airdate
1–5"Wife of the Red Haired Man (parts 1-5)"Bill S. BallingerSeptember 3, 1973 (1973-09-03) to September 7, 1973 (1973-09-07)
"This week Bill S. Ballinger's best selling novel of the pursuit of a damned couple, starring Patty Duke Astin, John Astin, and Howard Duff."
6–10"Someone's Death (parts 1-5)"Charles LarsonSeptember 10, 1973 (1973-09-10) to September 14, 1973 (1973-09-14)
"This week Charles Larson's inside story of television murder, starring George Kennedy, Joyce Bulifant and Robert Reed."
11–15"Fourth of Forever (parts 1-5)"Bill S. BallingerSeptember 17, 1973 (1973-09-17) to September 21, 1973 (1973-09-21)
"This week Bill S. Ballinger's study of a deadly obsession, starring John Dehner and Susan Oliver."
16–20"Face of the Foe (parts 1-5)"Patricia PowerSeptember 24, 1973 (1973-09-24) to September 28, 1973 (1973-09-28)
"This week Patricia Power's eerie saga of a neighborhood besieged, starring Jessica Walters, Joe Campanella and Judy Carne."
21–25"Blessing Way (parts 1-5)"Tony HillermanOctober 2, 1973 (1973-10-02) to October 6, 1973 (1973-10-06)
"This week Tony Hillerman's haunting tour of terror, starring Ed Nelson, Barbara Anderson, and Tige Andrews."
26–30"Princess Stakes Murder Case (parts 1-5)"Kin PlattOctober 8, 1973 (1973-10-08) to October 12, 1973 (1973-10-12)
"This week Kin Platt's gymkhana of foul play, starring Howard Duff, Julie Adams and Ray Danton."
31–35"Queen in Danger (parts 1-5)"Adam HallOctober 15, 1973 (1973-10-15) to October 19, 1973 (1973-10-19)
"This week Adam Hall's chess match of continental intrigue, starring Juliet Mills, Robert Brown and Murray Matheson."
36–40"Desperate Witness (parts 1-5)"Kenneth FearingOctober 22, 1973 (1973-10-22) to October 26, 1973 (1973-10-26)
"This week Kenneth Fearing's study of a deadly obsession, starring Richard Crenna, Keenan Wynn, and Julie Adams."
41–45"If Two of Them Are Dead (parts 1-5)"Stanton ForbesOctober 29, 1973 (1973-10-29) to November 2, 1973 (1973-11-02)
"This week Stanton Forbes' bizarre retrospective tale of entanglement, starring Earl Holliman, Catherine Burns, and Nina Foch as Sister Love."
46–50"But I Wouldn't Want to Die There (parts 1-5)"Stanton ForbesNovember 5, 1973 (1973-11-05) to November 9, 1973 (1973-11-09)
"This week Stanton Forbes' labyrinth of tropical intrigue, starring Nehemiah Persoff, Brock Peters, and Marge Redmond." Also starring Alan Reed.[6]
51–55"Heir Hunters (parts 1-5)"Bill S. BallingerNovember 12, 1973 (1973-11-12) to November 16, 1973 (1973-11-16)
"This week Bill S. Ballinger's sound portrait of an unlikely hero, starring Ken Berry, Joanne Worley, Edgar Bergen."
56–60"A Die in the Country (parts 1-5)"Tobias WellsNovember 19, 1973 (1973-11-19) to November 23, 1973 (1973-11-23)
"This week Tobias Wells' neogothic tale of small-town terror, starring Peter Marshall, Susan Strasberg, and Andrew Duggan."
61–65"The Dead Man's Tale (parts 1-5)"Merwin GerardNovember 26, 1973 (1973-11-26) to November 30, 1973 (1973-11-30)
"This week Merwin Gerard's study of a man pursued, starring George Maharis, Craig Stevens and Charles McGraw."

Episodes - Series TwoEdit

Starring Episode Title Written by / based on novel by Airdate
Mel Torme
66"Bye-Bye Narco"Keith WalkerApril 29, 1974 (1974-04-29)
"Today Keith Walker's odd tale of violated sanctuary..."
67"Terror in the Night"Glenhall TaylorApril 30, 1974 (1974-04-30)
"Today Glenhall Taylor's frightening suspense thriller..."
68"Scream of the Hawk"Keith WalkerMay 1, 1974 (1974-05-01)
"Today Keith Walker's story of the ultimate revenge..."
69"Extortionist"Glenhall TaylorMay 2, 1974 (1974-05-02)
"Today Glenhall Taylor's tale of a threatened death..."
70"Price of Admission"Kim WeiskopfMay 3, 1974 (1974-05-03)
"Today Kim Weiskopf's audio glimpse of the mayhem on the midway..."
Jackie Cooper
71"Shortage Story"Kim WeiskopfMay 6, 1974 (1974-05-06)
"Today Kim Weiskopf's twisted tale of modern times..."
72"Escape to Nowhere"Glenhall TaylorMay 7, 1974 (1974-05-07)
"Today Glenhall Taylor's tale of murder and futile escape..."
73"Fair's Fair, You Know"Keith WalkerMay 8, 1974 (1974-05-08)
"Today Keith Walker's convoluted tale of now you see it now you don't..."
74"Housecall"Kim WeiskopfMay 9, 1974 (1974-05-09)
"Today Kim Weiskopf's unravelling of a grisly prescription..."
75"Violation"Keith WalkerMay 10, 1974 (1974-05-10)
"Today Keith Walker's frightened story of blinded justice..." Featured in the cast: John Larch
Dick Sargent
76"Arm's Length"Kim WeiskopfMay 13, 1974 (1974-05-13)
"Today Kim Weiskopf's grisly tale of detachment..." Featured in the cast: Ross Martin
77"Some People Die Only Once"Glenhall TaylorMay 14, 1974 (1974-05-14)
"Today Glenhall Taylor's story of a mysterious death..."
78"Reward"Keith WalkerMay 15, 1974 (1974-05-15)
"Today Keith Walker's oblique look into the other side of crime..."
79"Villainous Verdict"Glenhall TaylorMay 16, 1974 (1974-05-16)
"Today Glenhall Taylor's drama of deception and death..."
80"Strange Odyssey of Sandy Mitchell"Keith WalkerMay 17, 1974 (1974-05-17)
"Today Keith Walker's spine-tingling tale of the supernatural..." Featured in the cast: Casey Kasem
Lyle Waggoner
81"White Flame Burning Bright"Glenhall TaylorMay 20, 1974 (1974-05-20)
"Today Glenhall Taylor's macabre adventure in pyromania..."
82"Mind of the Beholder"Kim WeiskopfMay 21, 1974 (1974-05-21)
"Today Kim Weiskopf's sidelong glance at a small town entanglement..."
83"Why Is Ted Marcosi Driving Aunt Sally Insane?"Keith WalkerMay 22, 1974 (1974-05-22)
"Today Keith Walker's romp through the ? of horror..."
84"There is a Man in 211"Kim WeiskopfMay 23, 1974 (1974-05-23)
"Today Kim Weiskopf's strange saga of apartment living..."
85"Death is a Puppeteer"Glenhall TaylorMay 24, 1974 (1974-05-24)
"Today Glenhall Taylor's story of murder in a theater..."
William Shatner
86"Dr. Rivington, Presumably"Kim WeiskopfMay 27, 1974 (1974-05-27)
"Today Kim Weiskopf's health chart of an epidemic family..."
87"Wanted: A Willing Companion"Kim WeiskopfMay 28, 1974 (1974-05-28)
"Today Kim Weiskopf’s overview of an underground newspaper ad..."
88"Pigs Could Put You in the Pen"Glenhall TaylorMay 29, 1974 (1974-05-29)
"Today Glenhall Taylor's drama of a macabre humor..."
89"Sky Lab Are You There?"Keith WalkerMay 30, 1974 (1974-05-30)
"Today Keith Walker's double tale of terror in space..."
90"Favor You Can't Refuse"Keith WalkerMay 31, 1974 (1974-05-31)
"Today Keith Walker's caustic account of disorganized crime..."
Greg Morris
91"Death at Half a Length"Keith WalkerJune 3, 1974 (1974-06-03)
"Today Keith Walker's drama at the races..."
92"Floating Down the River"Glenhall TaylorJune 4, 1974 (1974-06-04)
"Today Glenhall Taylor's tale of a watery grave..."
93"Once a Thief"Kim WeiskopfJune 5, 1974 (1974-06-05)
"Today Kim Weiskopf's thumbnail sketch of a light-fingered filcher..."
94"Other Sins Only Speak, Murder Shrieks Out"Glenhall TaylorJune 6, 1974 (1974-06-06)
"Today Glenhall Taylor's story of a murderous triangle..."
95"Rehabilitation of Citizen Fimple"Keith WalkerJune 7, 1974 (1974-06-07)
"Today Keith Walker's whimsical tale of love and crime..."
Lee Meriwether
96"Bonnie and Clyde are Alive and Living as Mary and Bill"Glenhall TaylorJune 10, 1974 (1974-06-10)
"Today Glenhall Taylor's study in violence..."
97"Sisters of Satan"Glenhall TaylorJune 11, 1974 (1974-06-11)
"Today Glenhall Taylor's suspenseful drama of a peaceful but dangerous mission..."
98"The Mannequin Sham"Kim WeiskopfJune 12, 1974 (1974-06-12)
"Today Kim Weiskopf's unmasking of a consumer fraud..." Featured in the cast: Les Tremayne
99"Double Date to Destiny"Keith WalkerJune 13, 1974 (1974-06-13)
"Today Keith Walker's chilling story of assassination..."
100"Clay Pigeons"Kim WeiskopfJune 14, 1974 (1974-06-14)
"Today Kim Weiskopf's study of cinema murder come to life..."
Peter Lupus
101"Past is Always Present"Glenhall TaylorJune 17, 1974 (1974-06-17)
"Today Glenhall Taylor's suspensful drama of a hidden drama..."
102"Woman in Black"Sue DunhamJune 18, 1974 (1974-06-18)
"Today Sue Dunham's postmortem of a vicious cycle..."
103"Come Light My Fire"Glenhall TaylorJune 19, 1974 (1974-06-19)
"Today Glenhall Taylor's offbeat story of people who play with matches... and death..."
104"Riders Wanted: Share Expenses"Sue DunhamJune 20, 1974 (1974-06-20)
"Today Sue Dunham's trackdown of a curious caravan..." Featured in the cast: Casey Kasem
105"Death on Canvas"Sue DunhamJune 21, 1974 (1974-06-21)
"Today Sue Dunham's portrait of an artist in trouble..." Featured in the cast: Casey Kasem
Shelley Berman
106"House That Clemont Built"Keith WalkerJune 24, 1974 (1974-06-24)
"Today Keith Walker's hilarious tale of death by error..."
107"Joint Account"Kim WeiskopfJune 25, 1974 (1974-06-25)
"Today Kim Weiskopf's bank statement of miscalculations..."
108"Tiger Cages"Keith WalkerJune 26, 1974 (1974-06-26)
"Today Keith Walker's nasty tale of political chicanery..."
109"Violence Takes a Curtain Call"Glenhall TaylorJune 27, 1974 (1974-06-27)
"Today Glenhall Taylor's tragedy of murder in a theater..."
110"Children Are Dying"Keith WalkerJune 28, 1974 (1974-06-28)
"Today Keith Walker's hellish tale of heroin on the streets..."
Bob Crane
111"Bend, Spindle and Mutilate"Sue DunhamJuly 1, 1974 (1974-07-01)
"Today Sue Dunham's computer readout of automated murder..."
112"Murder is a Work of Art"Glenhall TaylorJuly 2, 1974 (1974-07-02)
"Today Glenhall Taylor's eerie drama of mummies and revenge..."
113"Edwards Tug and Salvage"Keith WalkerJuly 3, 1974 (1974-07-03)
"Today Keith Walker's low comedy on the high seas..."
114"Larceny on the Lake"Glenhall TaylorJuly 4, 1974 (1974-07-04)
"Today Glenhall Taylor's story of an FBI agent who almost loses his life in the line of duty..."
115"OLAM aka On the Lam aka The Lamb(s)"Keith WalkerJuly 5, 1974 (1974-07-05)
"Today Keith Walker's outsized story of heroism in Korea..."
Monte Markham
116"Corpse Takes a Sleigh Ride"Glenhall TaylorJuly 8, 1974 (1974-07-08)
"Today Glenhall Taylor's chiller drama of blood in the snow..."
117"Marionettes"Sue DunhamJuly 9, 1974 (1974-07-09)
"Today Sue Dunham's eerie tale of 'no strings attached'..."
118"Ghost of the Black Plague"Keith WalkerJuly 10, 1974 (1974-07-10)
"Today Keith Walker's gothic tale of revenge..." Featured in the cast: Peggy Walton, Ben Wright, Parley Baer, Rhoda Williams, and Daws Butler.
119"Trunkful of Trouble"Glenhall TaylorMarch 1974 (1974-711)
"Today Glenhall Taylor's gruesome account of murders in a ? house..."
120"Grand Prize"Sue DunhamJuly 12, 1974 (1974-07-12)
"Today Sue Dunham's bizarre quiz program aftermath..."
Joe Campanella
121"Welcome Home Denny Shackleford"Sue DunhamJuly 15, 1974 (1974-07-15)
"Today Sue Dunham's front row seat at a family reunion..."
122"Death of a Genius"Glenhall TaylorJuly 16, 1974 (1974-07-16)
"Today Glenhall Taylor's dramatic account of a shocking murder..."
123"Remember Me?"Gus BayesJuly 17, 1974 (1974-07-17)
"Today a story by Gus C. Bayes of love and murder..."
124"Lost in Time"Keith WalkerJuly 18, 1974 (1974-07-18)
"Today Keith Walker's frightening voyage into the past..."
125"Once Upon a Truck"Sue DunhamJuly 19, 1974 (1974-07-19)
"Today Sue Dunham's nursery rhyme of highjacking..."
Ross Martin
126"Corpse Takes a Stand"Glenhall TaylorJuly 22, 1974 (1974-07-22)
"Today Glenhall Taylor's weird tale of a cadaver in a courtroom..."
127"Carnival of Menace"Glenhall TaylorJuly 23, 1974 (1974-07-23)
"Today Glenhall Taylor's black episode of circus life..."
128"Chicago John and The Glitter People"Kim WeiskopfJuly 24, 1974 (1974-07-24)
"Today Kim Weiskopf's oblique excursion down Tin Pan Alley..." Featured in the cast: Daws Butler
129"Smoke Screen"Glenhall TaylorJuly 25, 1974 (1974-07-25)
"Today Glenhall Taylor's story of a small-town lawman with a big-time mind..."
130"The Holdout"Gus BayesJuly 26, 1974 (1974-07-26)
"Today a story by Gus C. Bayes about a jury... and justice..."

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ The Zero Hour Radio Log
  2. ^ "Submitted for Your Perusal The Zero Hour – 1974" (RodSerling.com)
  3. ^ Judge, Dick. Hollywood Radio Theater: Zero Hour
  4. ^ Zero Hour at The Digital Deli Too
  5. ^ Dunning, John. On the Air: The Encyclopedia of Old-Time Radio. New York: Oxford University Press, 1998. ISBN 0-19-507678-8.
  6. ^ Yabba Dabba Doo!: The Alan Reed Story. BearManor Media. p. 199.

External linksEdit