The Cabin B-13 Radio Program
||Home >> D D Too Home >> Radio Logs >> Cabin B-13
Cabin B-13 mp3 Cover Art
A rather harsh view of Our Miss
Brooks, but a glowing review
of Cabin B-13 from the Oakland
Tribune, July 23, 1948
Cabin B-13 was something of an experiment by CBS--a sustained, prime-time mystery feature penned by one great mystery fiction writer for the entire run. And no ordinary mystery fiction writer, either. John Dickson Carr had already written twenty-three Suspense scripts for CBS' long running mystery thriller production by the time they sought him for Cabin B-13. Indeed, it was Carr's Suspense script from the March 16, 1943 broadcast, Cabin B-13, that persuaded CBS to pursue a possible spin-off from Suspense. It was a brilliant concept, brilliantly executed. NBC had attempted a limited run of Raymond Chandler's Adventures of Philip Marlowe starring MGM's Van Heflin and CBS picked it up a year later. Raymond Chandler again consulted on the scripts for CBS' rendition fo Philip Marlowe. Perhaps CBS was simply hedging its bets. But the hedge worked. CBS' The Adventures of Philip Marlowe ran for two more years, won Gerald Mohr Best Actor of the Year for 1949, and produced competitive Hooper ratings in the bargain.
Cabin B-13 introduces America to John Dickson Carr
Cabin B-13 received great critical reviews while it ran, but it's prime-time placement was more a disadvantage to it than an advantage. It ran head to head with some of 1948's most highly rated competition. The radio noir detective drama had gained a foothold in Radio well before Cabin B-13 began airing. Radio had already heard from Dashiell Hammett and his Thin Man, Sam Spade and The Fat Man by then. Brett Halliday had entertained radio noir fans with his Michael Shayne character, and Jack Webb had been plowing through an array of radio noir characters of his own. Mystery competition abounded throughout the late 1940s and early 1950s. Adding to all of that, the Mutual Broadcasting System was already in negotiations with Carr for their Murder By Experts (1949) which would cast Carr, Brett Halliday, and Alfred Hitchcock as alternating hosts for the proposed project.
So it was that the combination of stiff competition and an audience very loyal to that competition made Cabin B-13's chances of running past one season quite daunting. But to both CBS and Carr's credit, the quality of the scripts never suffered. They were superb from start to finish. The background support was also top notch, with John Dietz directing, both Merle Kendrick and Alfredo Antonini alternating the music and atmosphere compositions and gifted Radio, Stage and Film actor Arnold Moss providing exposition for each script.
Arnold Moss was Carr's 'voice' for twenty-one of the scripts and Alan Hewitt voiced Dr. Fabian for three scripts while Moss was filming 1948's The Loves of Carmen. The Dr. Fabian character, ship's physician for the luxury liner, Maurevania, introduced and framed each mystery and provided all of the necessary exposition for each story. Dr. Fabian was the resident of Cabin B-13 aboard the Maurevania. Thankfully Dr. Fabian didn't suffer from triskadecaphobia--the abnormal fear of the number 13--since he seemed quite content with his accomodations aboard the Maurevania for his entire 24-week tour. All the better to comfortably chronicle the often gruesome undertakings of each program.
The plots were brilliant, as one might expect of any J.D. Carr story. Opening with the bellow of the great steamship's foghorns, Arnold Moss' plot teasers were dramatically introduced and the underlying theme music set the perfect tone for a captivating half hour. The Maurevania's role in each script varied from integral to sublime, but its role in transporting the audience all over the world for its characters made for an excellent variety of storylines.
The Radio program Cabin B-13 wasn't quite the end of the line for the franchise. A Suspense episode Cabin B-13 aired on March 29, 1949 for the Television series and Cabin B-13 reappeared several years later in Television's Climax! series, as the episode that aired on June 26, 1958. As of late October 1949, CBS was actively considering Cabin B-13 as a potential candidate for a regular Television series. Just as they'd trotted out Cabin B-13 first over Radio's Suspense, then aired it as a sustaining, 26-week production, so it was that Suspense over Television brought a TV episode of Cabin B-13 to air, followed by CBS considering a Television series for Cabin B-13. In the end, CBS didn't follow through with the Television series, Cabin B-13.
There's no question that Cabin B-13 was a success. Indeed judging by the relatively few programs currently in circulation, it's clear that the remaining programs are very jealously held by their fortunate owners. There's every expectation that a few more programs will trickle out in time. For now the three circulating episodes are wonderfully enjoyable and bode well for any future releasess from this fine production.
|Suspense; The BBC's Appointment with Fear and Dr. Gideon Fell
||Anthology of Golden Age Radio Mystery Dramas
||Audition Date(s) and Title(s):
||Premiere Date(s) and Title(s):
||48-07-05 01 A Razor in Fleet Street
||Run Dates(s)/ Time(s):
||48-07-05 to 48-01-02; CBS; Twenty-seven [25 scripts], 30-minute programs; Mondays, 8:00 p.m., then brief schedule changes as noted below
||Joseph Curtin, Naomi Campbell, William Podmore, Mary Patton, Rod Hendrickson, Cliff Carpenter, Janice Gilbert, Peter Capell
||Dr. Fabian [Arnold Moss and Alan Hewitt], ship's physician of the cruising luxury liner, the Maurevania, who is permanently assigned Cabin B-13.
||Varied from script to script
||John Dickson Carr
||John Dickson Carr [Creator/writer], Charles S. Monroe [Editor]
||Merle Kendrick [Composer, conductor]; Alfredo Antonini [Composer, conductor]; Sound engineering and shaping by Jerry McCarty
||Original compositions by Merle Kendrick
||Lee Vines, Arnold Moss [Host] and Alan Hewitt [Host for Program #'s 9, 10 and 11.]
||Estimated Scripts or
||Episodes in Circulation:
||Total Episodes in Collection:
||The Uniontown, PA Morning Herald.
Notes on Provenances
The most helpful provenances were newspaper listings.
With the exception of the Morning Herald, all of the above provenances err to a significant degree on both the number of original scripts for the production and the titles of the scripts. There were never scripts titled The Danger from Stamboul, nor The Dancer from Istanbul. Those are simply more 'OTR' mythology. With the exception of The Morning Herald and The Salt Lake Tribune, none of the above account for Carr's script titled, The Devil Saint.
Each circulating program announced the following script title. Program #26, Sleep of Death announces The Dancer from Stamboul as the following episode, placing Sleep of Death and The Dancer from Stamboul one after the other in the production sequence. The rebroadcast of The Sleep of Death, adds Lee Vines' announcement that it's still 1948, while he also announces that next year "marks the date that Bob Hope moves here" [CBS] on January 2, 1949, 7:00 p.m. EST "with all his crew". Ergo, the Sleep of Death rebroadcast airs the last week of December 1948 with The Dancer from Stamboul as the last program (also a rebroadcast) of the run, Q.E.D.
Program #1, dated 48-07-05 should be titled A Razor in Fleet Street not Bill and Brenda Leslie.
Program #13, dated 48-10-10, is The Dancer from Stamboul, not The Danger from Stamboul or The Dancer from Istanbul.
What you see here, is what you get. Complete transparency. We have no 'credentials' whatsoever--in any way, shape, or form--in the 'otr community'--none. But here's how we did it--for better or worse. Here's how you can build on it yourselves--hopefully for the better. Here are the breadcrumbs--just follow the trail a bit further if you wish. No hobbled downloads. No misdirection. No posturing about our 'credentials.' No misrepresentations. No strings attached. We point you in the right direction and you're free to expand on it, extend it, use it however it best advances your efforts.
We ask one thing and one thing only--if you employ what we publish, attribute it, before we cite you on it.
We continue to provide honest research into these wonderful Golden Age Radio programs simply because we love to do it. If you feel that we've provided you with useful information or saved you some valuable time regarding this log--and you'd like to help us even further--you can help us keep going. Please consider a small donation here:
We don't pronounce our Golden Age Radio research as 'certified' anything. By the very definition, research is imperfect. We simply tell the truth. As is our continuing practice, we provide our fully provenanced research results--to the extent possible--right here on the page, for any of our peers to review--or refute--as the case may be. If you take issue with any of our findings, you're welcome to cite any better verifiable source(s) and we'll immediately review them and update our findings accordingly. As more verifiable provenances surface, we'll continue to update the following series log, as appropriate.
All rights reserved by their respective sources. Article and log copyright 2010 The Digital Deli Online--all rights reserved. Any failure to attribute the results of this copywritten work will be rigorously pursued.
[Date, title, and episode column annotations in red refer to either details we have yet to fully provenance or other unverifiable information as of this writing. Red highlights in the text of the 'Notes' columns refer to information upon which we relied in citing dates, date or time changes, or titles.]
Cabin B-13 Biographies
|John Dickson Carr
[also Carter Dickson, Carr Dickson and Roger Fairbairn]
Birthplace: Uniontown, Pennsylvania
(As John Dickson Carr)
1930 It Walks By Night
1931 Castle Skull
1931 The Lost Gallows
1932 Poison In Jest
1932 The Waxworks Murder
1933 Hag's Nook
1933 The Mad Hatter
1934 The Blind Barber
1934 The Eight of Swords
1935 The Hollow Man
1936 The Arabian Nights Murder
1937 The Burning Court
1938 The Four False Weapons, Being the Return of Bencolin
1938 To Wake the Dead
1938 The Crooked Hinge
1939 The Black Spectacles
1939 The Problem of the Wire Cage
1940 The Man Who Could Not Shudder
1941 The Case of the Constant Suicides
1941 Death Turns the Tables
1942 The Emperor's Snuff-Box
1944 Till Death Do Us Part
1946 He Who Whispers
1947 The Sleeping Sphinx
1949 Below Suspicion
1950 The Bride of Newgate
1951 The Devil in Velvet
1952 The Nine Wrong Answers
1955 Captain Cut-Throat
1956 Patrick Butler for the Defense
1957 Fire, Burn!
1958 The Dead Man's Knock
1959 Scandal at High Chimneys: A Victorian Melodrama
1960 In Spite of Thunder
1961 The Witch of the Low Tide: An Edwardian Melodrama
1962 The Demoniacs
1964 Most Secret
1965 The House at Satan's Elbow
1966 Panic in Box C
1968 Dark of the Moon
1968 Papa La-Bas
1970 The Ghosts' High Noon
1971 Deadly Hall
1972 The Hungry Goblin: A Victorian Detective Novel
1948 Cabin B-13
1949 Murder By Experts
(BBC Radio - abridged)
BBC Light Programme
1939-1940 Who Killed Matthew Corbin? [3-part Gideon Fell Mystery]
1940 The Devil in the Summer-House
1941 The Black Minute
1943 The Dead Sleep Lightly
BBC Radio 4
1974 Appointment with Fear
1974 The Silent Battle
The Mad Hatter Mystery
To Wake The Dead
2000 The Radio Detectives
2001 Dr. Gideon Fell
John Dickson Carr, ca. 1948
Carr seated, pondering the tools
of his craft, a sharp rapier readily at hand, ca. 1954
J.D. Carr and Adrian Conan Doyle collaborate over one of Adrian Doyle's Carr-assisted Sherlock Holmes exploits, ca. 1952
Carr posing for mystery fans, ca. 1958
J.D. Carr participates in a Mystery Writers of America award ceremony, ca. 1959
|John Dickson Carr was born in Uniontown, Pennsylvania, to Julia M. Kisinger and Wooda Nicholas Carr. Carr's father was a Pennsylvania lawyer who served one term in Congress as a Democrat. J.D. Carr attended The Hill School, as an average student with aspirations of writing mystery stories.
While attending Haverford College, Carr edited their literary magazine. Given an opportunity to study abroad, Carr married an Englishwoman, Clarice Cleaves, in 1931, settling in England. The Carrs raised three children in England before returning to the United States in 1948.
J.D. Carr was a master of the locked room scenario, wherein a detective solves ostensibly impossible crimes. Another such proponent of his time was S.S. Van Dine and his Philo Vance novels. Such crimes as murder inside a locked and sealed room or the discovery of a violently murdered body surrounded by snow or wet sand with no footprints but the victim's. Carr's Dr. Gideon Fell mystery, The Three Coffins--more widely known as The Hollow Man--(1935), illustrates the nature of impossible crimes. The Hollow Man was selected as the best locked-room mystery of all time by a panel of mystery writers.
Indeed, several of Carr's Gideon Fell novels feature impossible crimes, among them, He Who Whispers (1946) and The Case of the Constant Suicides (1941). Unfortunately even Carr's biographer, Douglas G. Greene notes Carrs' characters' explanation of the solutions to these impossible crimes often stretched plausibility--and his readers' credulity.
Besides Dr. Gideon Fell, J.D. Carr's mysteries featured three other series detectives over the years: Sir Henry Merrivale (H.M.), Henri Bencolin, and Colonel March (who most middle-aged fans still associate with Boris Karloff).
John Dickson Carr is generally regarded as one of the greatest writers of so-called Golden Age Mysteries, or as the Wikipedia community likes to call them, 'OTM' or Old Time Mysteries. They are generally characterized as complex, plot-driven stories within which the puzzle is the raison d'etre. Indeed, most of Carr's novels and short stories feature the extensive exposition by an eccentric detective, of apparently impossible, almost supernatural, crimes. It's believed that Carr was heavily influenced by the Father Brown stories of G. K. Chesterton in this respect. Carr unabashedly modeled his fat and genial lexicographer Dr. Gideon Fell, on Chesterton. And it's the Dr. Gideon Fell novels that are most associated with Carr's supernatural crime puzzles.
J.D. Carr was also a prolific radioplay writer for both The BBC and American Radio. Carr also wrote several screenplays for Television. CBS persuaded Carr to expand his March 16, 1943 Suspense radioplay Cabin B-13 into a 1948 Radio series, for which Carr wrote all 24 scripts. Carr based many of the radioplays on some of his earlier short stories, often employing plot devices used by G.K. Chesterton. The 1943 play Cabin B-13 was also expanded into the script for the film Dangerous Crossing (1953), starring Michael Rennie and Jeanne Crain.
During World War II, Carr worked primarily for BBC Radio, penning both mysteries and propaganda scripts. Carr's The Emperor's Snuff-Box (1942) was adapted for the 1957 British film production That Woman Opposite.
Adrian Conan Doyle--the youngest son of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle--and J.D. Carr collaborated to write a series of Sherlock Holmes tales, published in the 1954 collection, The Exploits of Sherlock Holmes. Carr was also appointed by the estate of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle to write the biography for the legendary author. The resulting, The Life of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (1949) met with mixed reviews reviews. While entertaining, critics noted the marked absence of any treatment of Conan Doyle's controversial advocacy of Spiritualism. In any case, the book gained Carr the first of his two Special Edgar Awards from the Mystery Writers of America. Carr's second Edgar came in 1970, in special recognition of his 40-year career as a mystery writer. J.D. Carr had also been presented the Mystery Writers of America's Grand Master Award in 1963.
During the Spring of 1963, at Mamaroneck, New York, Carr suffered a stroke which paralyzed his left side. Despite the handicap, Carr continued to write using one hand, for several years penning a regular mystery column and detective fiction reviews. John Dickson Carr eventually died of lung cancer in Greenville, South Carolina.
Stage, Radio, Television and Film Actor
Birthplace: Brooklyn, New York, U.S.A.
B.A., New York City College
M.A., Columbia University
Ph.D., New York University
1938 Columbia Workshop
1939 Radio Guild
1939 Arch Oboler's Plays
1942 Great Plays
1942 This Is Our Enemy
1943 The Cresta Blanca Carnival
1943 Inner Sanctum
1943 Words At War
1944 The New York Philharmonic Symphony Orchestra
1944 Columbia Presents Corwin
1944 The Open Door
1944 Theatre Of Romance
1945 Molle Mystery Theatre
1945 Matinee Theatre
1945 This Is Your FBI
1945 Treasury Salute
1946 Adventures Of the Red Feather Man
1946 Radio Reader's Digest
1947 Then Are the Children Free
1947 The Shadow
1947 Casey, Crime Photographer
1947 The Spoken Word
1947 The Whistler
1947 The Journey Of the Magi
1948 Your Playhouse Of Favorites
1948 CBS Is There
1948 The Eternal Light
1948 The Big Story
1948 Gang Busters
1948 Ford Theatre
1948 Cabin B-13
1948 Hallmark Playhouse
1948 Cavalcade Of America
1949 And Not Yet Free
1949 The Adventures Of Frank Merriwell
1949 You Are There
1949 Radio City Playhouse
1949 MGM Theatre Of the Air
1950 The New Frontier
1950 Dimension X
1950 Lights Out
1950 Cloak and Dagger
1951 Guest Star
1952 Barrie Craig, Confidential Investigator
1953 The Chase
1953 Rocky Fortune
1956 This Is My Story
1957 X Minus One
1974 CBS Radio Mystery Theatre
1985 Americans All
The Cisco Kid
Treasury Star Parade
The Guiding Light
The Man On the Line
Arnold Moss as Dr. Bannister in Big Sister circa 1942
Arnond Moss studied at Eva LeGalliene's Civic Repertory Theatre
Arnold Moss in dressing room before play, Back to Methusaleh, ca.1958
Arnold Moss in charaacter for play, Back to Methusaleh, ca.1958
Arnold Moss as Anton Karidian in Star Trek, ca. 1966
Arnold Moss as Vidaru in The Monkees, ca 1967
|Arnold Moss was born on January 28, 1910 in Brooklyn, New York. A Phi Beta Kappa graduate of New York City College, Moss earned his Master's Degree in Old French at Columbia with hopes of teaching. Moss soon settled upon Acting as a career and trained with Eva LaGallienne at her Civic Repertory Theatre. He returned to NYU in the 1960s and earned his Ph. D. in Theatre--at the age of 63.
A gifted, classically trained Stage actor, Arnold Moss formed his own company, The Shakespeare Festival Players. Moss also enjoyed an active career in Radio and also wrote for Inner Sanctum, Dick Tracy, Suspense and at least nine scripts for Himan Brown's CBS Radio Mystery Theatre (1974). But it's his over 500 acting appearances in Radio for which we honor him here. Arnold Moss' deep, resonant voice was perfect for a broad range of Radio genres. Moss was heard in adventures, mysteries, detective and crime dramas, melodramas, classical dramas and even comedies. Often cast as a forboding villain, Moss was as often heard in a broad range of ethnic roles, such as India Rajahs or Turkish or Arabian princes.
Moss is also fondly remembered for his recurring Dr. Fabian role in 1948's Cabin B-13. Arnold Moss had married Stella Reynolds, then a writer, in 1933. The couple had a daughter and a son, Jeff Moss, who eventually became a founding writer of the long-running Sesame Street PBS Television program. Arnold Moss would later work with his wife on the CBS Radio Mystery Theatre. Stella Moss wrote at least ten of the scripts for the great Golden Age Radio revival mystery series. Arnold and Stella adapted three of the CBS Radio Mystery Theatre scripts jointly.
Arnold Moss made his film debut in Temptation (1946) as Ahmed Effendi. His film credits later included: The Loves of Carmen (1948), Reign of Terror (1949), the film noir classic, Border Incident (1949), Kim (1950) with Errol Flynn, Quebec (1951), My Favorite Spy (1951), Viva Zapata! (1952), Salome (1953) in a return engagement with with Rita Hayworth, Bengal Brigade (1954), the classic comedy Casanova's Big Night (1954) with Bob Hope, Hell's Island (1955), the sci-fi thriller The 27th Day (1957), Caper of the Golden Bulls (1966) and Gambit (1966) with Michael Caine and Shirley MacLaine, his last film.
As if Moss needed any more accolades for his amazing career, for almost forty years from the 1940s through the 1980s, Arnold Moss was a major crossword puzzle constructor--or cruciverbalist--in the U.S.. Moss constructed a great number of vaunted New York Times Sunday crossword puzzles--the really hard ones. Moss also narrated and soloed for several symphony orchestras and was heard as The Voice of God for the Chicago Lyric Opera's production of Paradise Lost. Moss worked regularly as one of the great staff announcers for CBS radio, along with the likes of Dan Seymour and Dan O'Herlihy. The U.S. State Department sent him on a world tour as an Ambassador of Theatre. Moss also taught Theatre at several universities and taught Drama at Brooklyn College for ten years.
Adding Television to his extensive, multi-faceted c.v., Arnold Moss regularly guest-starred on Suspense, Lights Out, Tales of Tomorrow, Studio One, Alfred Hitchcock Presents, Laredo, The Man from U.N.C.L.E., The Time Tunnel, Star Trek, The Monkees, Bonanza, Fantasy Island, and The Edge of Night. In all, Moss appeared in over twenty movies and over 100 Television appearances.
Arnold Moss succumbed to lung cancer on December 15, 1989, at age 79. For both his tens of thousands of current Radio fans and the tens of thousands to come, Arnold Moss' wonderfully distinctive voice and acting talent continue to be presrved in the hundreds of Golden Age Radio recordings preserved from the era.