“This is the Mysterious Traveler, inviting you to join me on another journey into the strange and terrifying. I hope you will enjoy the trip … that it will thrill you a little and chill you a little. So settle back, get a good grip on your nerves, and be comfortable … if you can.”
Mutual’s The Mysterious Traveler competed successfully for a decade against its rivals, running neck-and-neck each week with Inner Sanctum and Lights Out!. All three shows celebrated the creepy and macabre, but Maurice Tarplin’s taunting “traveler” guide always gave a wry twist to the night’s proceedings.
Writers Robert Arthur and David Kogan worked on several thrillers through the 40s, including The Strange Dr. Weird (1945), The Sealed Book (1945), and The Teller of Tales (1950). Many of the scripts for those shows had their first—and some would argue best—performance on Mysterious Traveler.
Arthur and Kogan had their own grim tale to tell. As a result of work on behalf of the Radio Writers’ Guild they were attacked as subversives by the House Un-American Activities Committee. The networks didn’t mind HUAC harassing their unions, so The Mysterious Traveler was soon cancelled and its creators were blacklisted. Kogan scraped by with a Mysterious Traveler magazine, while Robert Arthur found jobs by way of friends in television. He contributed to the Alfred Hitchcock Presents suspense series, and was ghostwriter and editor of anthologies published under Hitchcock’s name.
The Devil and the Deep Blue Sea
It was common practice at the time to air episodes more than once. Rather than repeat those shows, this collection provides the recording with the best audio quality.
Three episodes of “The Mysterious Traveler” were produced a second time with different actors and slightly different scripts. These reworked shows are listed with the second title in parenthese, so you can directly compare the two treatments.