Friday, February 18, 2011

The Weird Circle

Not crop circles, or social circles, or driving in circles but "Weird Circles." Over two seasons it cranked out a total of 78 episodes. It was a program that rehashed classic horror stories into short radio plays. they took the works of Guy de Maupassant, Robert Louis Stevenson, Edgar Allan Poe, Emily Bronte, Charles Dickens, Washington Irving, Honore de Balzac and others... Their reliance on the classics made the program a tad classier than the pulp programs of the day.  It was pure gothic horror, and one of the first. More here.
The program was 30 minutes long and ran Sundays. Accounts differ as to when the program initially ran. Digital Deli dates the series as running from 1943 to 1945. Other sources state it ran from 1946 to 1947. I've tried to find corroborating references. An issue of Billboard puts it on WNEW-AM in 1944, and it lists it in a set of script writing prices in December 1943. Interestingly a 1953 issue of Billboard puts it as running at 8:00 PM on WTOP-AM. This was confusing at first but I found a reference in Monster Wax that confirmed the show was re-run.
"...The Weird Circle was syndicated again decades later to independent stations on reel to reel tape. I know this because I found dozens of boxes of the tapes stored at KZSU Stanford in the early 1990s... They were probably originally sent in the 1970s when there was a resurgence of interest in OTR created by The CBS Radio Mystery Theater and Zero Hour. The actual stories sounded like they were the same 1940s recordings, but the introduction and closing segments had a different voice of an older man, and were probably re-recorded to allow a standardized point for commercials to be inserted..."
For these reasons I agree with the Digital Deli data. More here and here. Radio archives agrees and puts the airing of the first program as Sunday, August 29, 1943, the last on Sunday, February 11, 1945.