I tried to come up with something special for this last post and, whilst rooting through the Internet Archive, I stumbled across the happy finish I know you’re all crying out for. It’s a whole night’s Halloween programming, from WKBW Radio in Buffalo New York. It was broadcast in 1973 and the station brought together a huge collection of material, all handcrafted and performed with relish by the DJ’s themselves. One of them sounds a lot like William Shatner, but that’s a bonus right? The line up includes a version of War of the Worlds, adapted to local locations- actually a repeat, but with added warnings, because when the station’s adaptation had gone out several years earlier, true to form, listeners panicked and phoned their local police departments and the National Guard. There’s an adaptation of a classic Old Time Radio story, The Darkness, a show on Vampires, a ghost story called The Bed, a version of The Monkey’s Paw, and it all ends with a half hour UFO documentary, that includes actual interviews with local residents, called People Places and Things.
The Internet Archive hosts the WKBW Halloween show as separate mp3’s, with even the adverts that break up the shows, posted as single downloads. It’s not possible to post twenty seven mp3’s here, or be so shoddy that our final Halloween post is a link to another page. So, I’ve put the show back together for you, minus many of the adverts that repeat themselves. The three chunks here represent over three and a half hours worth of quality Halloween listening and it’s pretty much as it went out thirty six years ago. There’s groovy DJ’s, cheesy adverts, and the stories are excellent. It’s a spooky step backwards in time. I’d love to think of somebody out there listening to the whole show and recreating that night, but that’s a feat even I’ve not managed yet.
America does Halloween so well and I love being there at this time of the year. A time when empty shops become huge Halloween stores, horror films litter the TV schedules and theme parks are given horror makeovers. Last year’s Universal Studios tram tour drove through the plane crash from Spielberg’s War Of The Worlds, which was dressed as a real disaster, with added zombies. It may seem odd that a country built on such puritanical bedrock should take so much delight in monsters, witches and the devil, but I suspect that is precisely why they love and celebrate it so well. I wish we had half the affection for Halloween that the States does. No matter, we’ve created our own spooky corner of cyberspace right here.
Thanks for listening, watching and hopefully enjoying this Halloween countdown. It’s been fun.