Undead Radio: Zombies and the Living Dead on 1930s and 1940s Radio Drama

Richard Hand

in Better Off Dead

Published by Fordham University Press

Published in print September 2011 | ISBN: 9780823234462
Published online January 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780823241255 | DOI:
Undead Radio: Zombies and the Living Dead on 1930s and 1940s Radio Drama

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This chapter looks at a largely overlooked trove of zombie stories, those that were played on the air in the early days of horror radio. The chapter sketches an overview of the history of broadcasting tales of terror on the radio, which provides useful background for those who are unfamiliar with the history of radio more broadly. This chapter highlights several tales of the living dead, among them an offering from the long running radio show, The Shadow. Included in the examples it pulls out of the archives are both revenant-like creatures, come back from the dead to seek revenge on the living, and the more typical Voodoo zombie, as well as zombie-like beings. The chapter's discussion of the offerings of such shows as Inner Sanctum Mysteries and Lights Out reveals much about the formation of conventions of the horror genre in general; and this description of radio zombies gives us a more complete picture of the way the zombie was established in popular culture, as it was anchored in radio as well as fantastic literature and film.

Keywords: radio; horror; zombie; The Shadow; Voodoo; Lights Out; Inner Sanctum Mysteries

Chapter.  4917 words. 

Subjects: Literature

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