Click to go to Digital Deli Too Home Page blank head
Preserving the Golden Age of Radio for A Digital Age
Explore Our Golden Age Radio Research Pages Click here to learn about our approach to Golden Age Radio Preservation [Under Development] Click to go to Our Radio Articles Page This Feature Is Currently Not Available
This will take you to our Numeric Radio logs
This will take you to our A Series Radio logs This will take you to our B Series Radio logs This will take you to our C Series Radio logs This will take you to our D Series Radio logs This will take you to our E Series Radio logs This will take you to our F Series Radio logs This will take you to our G Series Radio logs This will take you to our H Series Radio logs This will take you to our I Series Radio logs This will take you to our J Series Radio logs This will take you to our K Series Radio logs This will take you to our L Series Radio logs This will take you to our M Series Radio logs
This will take you to our N Series Radio logs This will take you to our O Series Radio logs This will take you to our P Series Radio logs This will take you to our Q Series Radio logs This will take you to our R Series Radio logs This will take you to our S Series Radio logs This will take you to our T Series Radio logs This will take you to our U Series Radio logs This will take you to our V Series Radio logs This will take you to our W Series Radio logs This will take you to our X Series Radio logs This will take you to our Y Series Radio logs This will take you to our Z Series Radio logs This will take you back to our Text List of Radio logs

Original Nightmare header art

The Nightmare Radio Program

Dee-Scription: Home >> D D Too Home >> Radio Logs >> Nightmare

Original Nightmare mp3 Cover Art

July 15 1953 article proposing Nightmare for the MBS Fall 1953 Season
July 15 1953 article proposing Nightmare for the MBS Fall 1953 Season

WOR logo circa 1945

Sponsor ad for Nightmare from October 1953
Sponsor ad for Nightmare from October 1953

Janesville, WI was one of Nightmare's most loyal and avid audiences. It was heard over WCLO
Janesville, WI was one of Nightmare's most loyal and avid audiences. It was heard over WCLO.


Even during the waning years of The Golden Age of Radio, supernatural thrillers, as a dramatic genre, were a popular staple over Radio--indeed, over early Television as well. While some were originated and produced by independent programming syndicators, the majority of the more enduring supernatural thrillers originated out of key stations of one of the larger networks--occasionally larger affiliate stations within a network's chain. Some of the more popular of the genre were as follows:

Though not all-inclusive, the list reflects a representative mix of affiliate origination, key station origination and independent syndicator programming. Mutual (MBS), in particular, had a long history of promoting the thriller genre. As the Golden Age of Television began to overtake the Golden Age of Radio, Mutual proved to be one of the more agile and creative networks in juggling the lineup to offer more options to their downline affiliates.

As noted in the sidebar article at left, MBS was proposing, as early as the Summer of 1953, an attractive lineup of week-long, 'name' talent programming for the Fall 1953 season. Inducements such as 'free' programming for downline affiliates enabled those stations to enlist their own sponsors and advertisers without being burdened by MBS-wide sponsors occupying those advertising slots. NBC was also experimenting with such a scheme while performing the same high-wire act between NBC Radio and NBC Television.

As it turned out, Basil Rathbone didn't appear in the Fall 1953 season of Bulldog Drummond--Sir Cedric Hardwicke took the role. Madeline Carroll never appeared in MBS' proposed Four-Star Theater. She did, however, appear as the host and star of Starlight Theater in the Fall 1953 lineup. George Sanders did ultimately host the Fall 1953 debut of High Adventure. And Peter Lorre did indeed host the Fall 1953 debut of Nightmare. A 75% survival rate from concept to production was a pretty good average in the waning days of the Golden Age of Radio. The advertisers and sponsors were agile, the affiliate stations were agile, and the network programming managers had to be agile or lose even more of the percentage of scarce 1950s advertising dollars over Radio.

Mutual debuts Nightmare, hosted by Peter Lorre

Out of the Dark of Night, from the shadows of the senses comes this, the Fantasy of Fear--'Nightmare' . . . starring your exciting guide to terror, Peter Lorre.

One of Radio's 'Masters of the Macabre,' Peter Lorre, was a plum acquisition by MBS. He'd already appeared in hundreds of individual roles in the thriller genre. He'd even hosted at least three popular thriller Radio programs of his own prior to 1953. One can only assume that MBS made a very generous offer to Lorre for his services--even as late as 1953--and they got their money's worth.

A brilliant and versatile Stage, Film and Radio actor in his own right, Peter Lorre had, by the 1950s, become typecast in all manner of foreboding characterizations of the thriller genre. And indeed, among Boris Karloff, Bela Lugosi, Laird Cregar, John Carradine, Raymond Massey, and Basil Rathbone, only Massey and Karloff managed to eventually shed their horror genre typecasting during the waning years of their careers. For Lorre's part, he's reported to have ultimately resigned himself to the typecasting, though admittedly alternating between periods of depression and disappointment with his lot.

To Lorre's credit, whatever disappointment he felt regarding his typecasting, it never appeared to affect any of his performances. He was reportedly unfailingly gracious to his fans, even mugging spontaneously for journalists of the era and fans alike.

Ostensibly a 30-minute program, it's clear from circulating exemplars that the series was formatted to allow a large number of either commercial, public service, news, or affiliate message spots. The playing time for most of the scripts ran from 20.5 minutes to 23 minutes, providing seven to nine minutes of informational spots during each episode.

Peter Lorre's introductions and expositions during each episode were classic 'Lorre'--and precisely what the series' listeners tuned in to hear. Both stateside and G.I. audiences of the AFRS series, Mystery Playhouse, would have found Nightmare very reminiscent of the Mystery Playhouse episodes generously hosted by Peter Lorre for the AFRS. One can't help but wonder how much Peter Lorre was involved in scripting his intros and exposition for most of the Radio series' he hosted. Whether he did contribute to those scripts, or the writers of those series' understood the Peter Lorre 'character' so fully as to be able to write them as if Lorre'd 'dictated' them himself, it's a tribute to Lorre's fully formed 'thriller persona' that they all sounded as if he'd written them himself. As reportedly likeable as Peter Lorre was, it's easy to imagine any of his various Radio writers over the years writing for Lorre, as opposed to simply writing what they wanted to hear come out of Lorre's mouth. Wherever the truth lies, it worked--over and over again.

There's no question that Peter Lorre enjoyed thrilling the bejeebers out of his audiences. Though only an aural medium, one can actually 'see and feel' Lorre mugging his introductory, expositional and closing lines for effect. He clearly enjoyed the format--over Radio, especially.

Neither is there any question that this was an 'affiliate plum' for Mutual's downline stations. They got a major Film actor, performing a characterization that only Peter Lorre could perform, while at the same time opening up as many as seven to nine minutes of prime-time, weeknight advertising to their local sponsors.

The 'nightmare' theme of all six of the circulating exemplars certainly supports the series' title. As an example, in High Wire Lady, Judy Brandt, a successful executive secretary, unaccountably acquires such a fear of heights that she can't even reach down to pick up a dropped pencil from the floor. How she ends up as a high-wire act in a Circus you'll have to hear for yourself. But also typical of Lorre's mugging, he can't resist chiding the protagonist about her newly-found fear of heights by saying, "Judy, Judy, Judy. . . ," in a manner nakedly reminiscent of Cary Grant's oft-misquoted lines from Only Angels Have Wings.

Of the six circulating exemplars, Peter Lorre's various introductory, expositional, and closing lines occupy as much as five minutes of each 21-minute script--an obvious treat for any Peter Lorre fan. We'd have to say that we count ourselves among them--aren't you one?

Series Derivatives:

Genre: Anthology of Golden Age Radio Mystery Thriller Dramas
Network(s): Mutual Broadcasting System
Audition Date(s) and Title(s): Unknown
Premiere Date(s) and Title(s): 53-10-01 01 Title Unknown
Run Dates(s)/ Time(s): 53-10-01 to 54-09-29; MBS; Fifty-Three, 30-minute programs; Thursday nights, then Wednesday nights [as of Dec. 30, 1953]
Syndication: MBS
Sponsors: Hester's Supply Company of Big Spring [Texas]
Principal Actors: Peter Lorre
Recurring Character(s):
Protagonist(s): None
Author(s): None
Writer(s) William K. Wells, Jr.
Music Direction:
Musical Theme(s): Unknown
Announcer(s): Peter Lorre [Host]
Estimated Scripts or
52 scripts [53 broadcasts]
Episodes in Circulation: 6
Total Episodes in Collection: 6

Hickerson Guide, newspaper listings.

Notes on Provenances:

The most helpful provenances were newspaper listings.

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 2009 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.]

The Nightmare Program Log

Date Episode Title Avail. Notes
Title Unknown

53-10-01 Cedar Rapids Gazette
The most imitated eerie voice in the land joins the Thursday schedule on KCRG-KRK tonight...7:30. It belongs to Peter Lorre. He'll be heard in a series of weird, unusual and hair-raising dramatizations titled Nightmare.

53-10-01 Wisconsin State Journal
9 p.m.--Nightmare (WISC): new series of thrillers, starring Peter Lorre.

53-10-01 Long Beach Press-Telegram
Peter Lorre, movie star, is heard in a new series called "Nightmare" on KHJ at 8 p.m. and he should be able to produce one.

53-10-01 Janesville Gazette


A new show debuts at 7:30 tonight over WCLO when Nightmare is presented for the first time on the air. The most eerie voice in the land stars in the leading role. The voice belongs to none other than Peter Lorre. Nightmare brings WCLO listeners spine tingling stories that will create a whole new flock of Peter Lorre fans.

The Swamp
53-10-08 San Antonio Express
Nightmare--7:30 p.m., KMAC--Peter Lorre airs a story about "
The Swamp," in Georgia's Okefenokee territory.

53-10-08 Janesville Gazette

Quiet Mayhem Featured
by Lorre in "Nightmare"

Topnotch entertainment is available at the 1230 spot on your dial tonight. WCLO-Mutual, of course. Peter Lorre. long a favorite of mystery-movie fans, demonstrates the reason for his radio popularity With his new "Nightmare" program at 7:30.
Lorre, incidentally, is an important part of the new Mutual Network lineup of stars who are making such big news on the radio rows of the nation's metropolitan centers. Be sure to listen to Lorre's quiet brand of mayhem in tonight's episode of "Nightmare".

The Case Of Adam Greene
53-10-15 Wisconsin State Journal
9 p.m.--Nightmare (WISC): Communist eludes senate investigators.

53-10-15 San Antonio Express
Nightmare--7:30 p.m., KMAC--Peter Lorre is starred as the program presents "
The Case of Adam Greene."

53-10-15 Janesville Gazette


The chilling voice of Peter Lorre spins another yarn in WCLO • Mutual's "Nightmare" adventure tonight at 7:30. Lorre will be starred in "The Case of Adam Greene." This story involves a Communist who is tracked down by a senate investigating
committee. The man tries to escape by disappearing from the face of the earth.

The Secret Corner
53-10-22 Wisconsin State Journal
9 p.m.--Nightmare (WISC):
crazed artist plots murder.

53-10-22 Brainerd Daily Dispatch - MBS--7:30 Peter Lorre in "
Secret Corner."

53-10-22 Janesville Gazette


The voice of Peter Lorre chills the airways as he weaves another tale of horrer for Mutual's Nightmare program to be broadcast tonight over WCLO at 7:30. The title of the story is "The Secret Corner." It is about the "Secret Corner" of a crazed artist's mind which is revealed as he plots the murder of a supposed offender.

The Last Word
53-10-26 Wisconsin State Journal
9 p.m.--Nightmare (WISC): Peter Lorre in "
The Last Word."
53-11-05 New York Times
8:30-9--Nightmare: With Peter Lorre and Others--WOR.

53-11-05 Clearfield Progress
MBS--8:30, Nightmare, "

53-10-22 Janesville Gazette

Peter Lorre Will Relate
Another Fantasy of Fear


Monday through Thursday at 7:30 p.m. marks the time for thrills and adventure over WCLO. Tonight is no exception for Peter Lorre, the man of chills, will narrate another spine-tingling tale on Nightmare. Everything goes wrong in an airlines pilot's cabin one foggy night and traps him in a living nightmare. The title of the story for tonight is "Letdown."

The Secret Corner
[Repeat Broadcast(?)]

53-11-12 Wisconsin State Journal
9 p.m.--Nightmare (WISC): "
The Secret Corner" reveals how a twisted mind plots a murder, starring Peter Lorre.

53-11-12 Janesville Gazette


If you are tai the market for thrills, mystery and plenty of excitement, you will want to hear the broadcast tonight of the Nightmare over WCLO at 7:30. Nightmare features Peter Lorre in the starring role. Tonight's story concerns a crazed artist who provides the horror on the "Secret Corner." It shows how a twisted mind plots a murder.

Purple Cloud
53-11-19 Long Beach Press-Telegram
Peter Lorre spins the yarn of a purple cloud that has elements of radio activity, a shopping tour and a parade on his "Nightmare" over KHJ at 8 p.m.

53-11-19 Janesville Gazette
Peter Lorre, long known for his chilling portrayals of suspense and mystery, is the star of the Nightmare program series broadcast over WCLO every Thursday evening at 7:30. An odd series of circumstances leads to confusion and Nightmare as Peter Lorre weaves a tale on a "
Purple Cloud." Radio-activity, a parade and a wife on a shopping tour provide the strange formula for Lorre's adventure tonight.

53-11-26 Cedar Rapids Gazette
COINCIDENCE" is the title of tonight's NIGHTMARE broadcast 7:30 on KCRI. A father forbids courtship for his daughter. Then, he becomes a corpse. Peter Lorre will relate this strange story, then let you--the audience--figure out the crime angles.

53-11-25 Janesville Gazette


As there is no issue of the Janesville Daily Gazette on Thursday, we are writing up some notes on the programs to he heard over WCLO on Thanksgiving Day. Nightmare, one of those highlights on the schedule, is heard, at 7:30 p.m. A father forbids courtship for his daughter. Then he becomes a corpse. The Nightmare adventure relates this strange "Coincidence," then lets its audience figure out the crime angles. Peter Lorre is the star for this broadcast.

How To Lose Friends
53-12-03 Oakland Tribune
8 p.m. KFNC--NIGHTMARE Peter Lorre provides the thrills in "
How to Lose Friends."

53-12-03 Janesville Gazette


Mystery on tonight's WCLO
schedule is supplied by the Nightmare
program. William K. Wells Jr., may have had Dale Carnegie's books in mind when he wrote the suspense adventure for Mutual's Nightmare broadcast tonight over WCLO at 7:30.
He calls it "
How to Lose Friends." And aiding that cause most dramatically will be the show's featured star, Peter Lorre.

Food For Thought
53-12-10 Oakland Tribune
8 p.m. KFRC--NIGHTMARE Peter Lorre spins a psyshological thriller about a man whose hunger is insatiable, in "
Food for thought."

53-12-10 Janesville Gazette


Spine-tingling tales of Peter Lorre on Nightmare are favorites with mystery fans. Peter blends a dash of suspense and a dash of mystery, sprinkled generously with fear and chilled to make Nightmare a must for mystery fans. Tonight's story at 7:30 over WGLO has a man with an insatiable hunger which turns his life into a
Nightmare. It' s a tale of psychological horror. The drama' s title, "
Food for Thought".

The Angry Man
53-12-17 Cedar Rapids Gazette
AN "
Angry Man" faces a choice--kill his brother or turn against his country. What he does becomes KCRI's NIGHTMARE adventure, 7:30 tonight. Peter Lorre will be on hand, heightening the suspense of the story.

53-12-17 Janesville Gazette


For thrills, excitement and suspense, WCLO presents Nightmare tonight. The star of these haunting stories is Peter Lorre, well known for his chilling portrayals on the screen. Tonight, "The Angry Man" faces a choice — kill his brother or turn against his country. What he does becomes the Nightmare adventure at 7:30 over WCLO.

High Wire Lady
53-12-24 New York Times
8:30-WOR--Nightmare, With Peter Lorre.

53-12-24 Evening Tribune
MBS--7:30 Nightmare, "
High Wire Lady."
Title Unknown
[Moves to Wednesdays]

53-12-24 Idaho Falls Post Register
KIFI--7:30 Nightmare
No Broadcast
[Crime Fighters replaces Nightmare in the Thursday lineup]

53-12-31 Wisconsin State Journal
9:00 WISC John Daly.

53-12-31 New York Times
8:30-WOR--Crime Fighters.

53-12-31 Clearfield Progress
MBS--8:30, Nightmare with Peter Lorre.

53-12-31 Brainerd Daily Dispatch
MBS--7:30 Nightmare with Peter Lorre.

53-12-31 Hutchinson News-Herald - 7:30 P.M. KSAL Nightmare.

53-12-31 The Daily Mail
MBS—8:30 Nightmare with Peter Lorre.

53-12-31 Janesville Gazette
7:30-WCLO--Crime Fighters.

53-12-31 San Antonio Express
7:30-KMAC (MBS)--Crime Fighters.

Traffic Jam
54-01-06 Long Beach Press-Telegram
Peter Lorre (shifted from Thursday) moves "Deadline" to 8 p.m., and "Bulldog Drummond goes to Sunday on KHJ. Lorre is heard in "
Traffic Jam," the "Nightmare" story at 7 p.m. Lorre is recording his series in advance before leaving for Nassau later this month.

54-01-06 Brownwood Bulletin
The most imitated eerie voice in the land is now heard every ! Wednesday night on KBWD-Mutual. It belongs to Peter Lorre, whose "Nightmare" dramas tingle spines each week from 9-9:30 p.m.
While the villainous roles have established him as one of America's leading actors, his earlier parts were of a much different nature. A native of Rosenberg, Hungary, Lorre ran away from home at the age of 17 and improvised his own theater—acting, writing and designing sets. He took a position as a bank clerk to support his stage activities, in addition to bit parts in Breslau. Then came a role in Galswprth's "Society" and merited attention from the public. A lead in a Berlin production. "Pioniere In Inoplastadt," resulted. As a murderer of children in the film "M," Lorre received international acclaim. Appearances in Hitchcock thrillers preceded his coming to Hollywood in 1935, by which time his "type" was
In the intervening years, Lorre has been pursued in scores of pictures. His films include "Rope Of Sand." "Arsenic And Old Lace" and "Beast With Five Fingers."
Invisible Invaders
54-01-13 Wisconsin State Journal
10:45 p.m.--Nightmare (WISC): Peter Lorre in tale of
Invisible Invaders.
Not My Day
54-01-20 Wisconsin State Journal
10:45 p.m.--Nightmare (WISC): "
Not My Day."
A Novel Idea
54-01-27 Wisconsin State Journal
7:30 p.m.--Nightmare (WGN): novelist writes abook about his perfect crime.

54-01-27 Cedar Rapids Gazette
AN author with a "
Novel Idea" commits the "perfect crime." Then, he decides to write a book about it. From then on his life becomes a NIGHTMARE. Peter Lorre will relate this tale on KCRI tonight at 7:30.
The Hollow Footsteps
54-02-03 Wisconsin State Journal
7:30 p.m.--Nightmare (WGN): ghost hoax uncovered.

54-02-03 Daily Messenger
MBS--8:30 Nightmare, "
Hollow Footsteps.
It Runs Down Hill
54-02-10 Wisconsin State Journal
7:30 p.m.--Nightmare (WGN): dream of hideaway brings a mystery.

54-02-10 Janesville Gazette
At 7:30 p.m. Peter Lorre reveals the mystery of how "
It Runs Down Hill" when the Nightmare program is presented. The story concerns a man and what he wanted. All he wanted was a little country place, a little hideaway. How was he to know this dream would turn his life into a living nightmare?
Triple Trouble
54-02-17 Wisconsin State Journal
7:30 p.m.--Nightmare (WGN):
man's three wives meet.
Apartment For Rent
54-02-28 Wisconsin State Journal
2:30 p.m.--Nightmare (WISC): "
Apartment for Rent."
The Pyramid
54-03-03 Wisconsin State Journal
7:30 p.m.--Nightmare (WGN):
accusing eyes hunt a man.
All That Glitters
54-03-10 New York Times
8:30-WOR--Nightmare: Peter Lorre
The Strange Voyage Of Captain Mundsen
54-03-17 Wisconsin State Journal
7:30 p.m.--Nightmare (WGN): "
The Strange Voyage of Capt. Mundsen," story of sea-going ghost.
The Caves Of Fear
54-03-24 Janesville Daily Gazette
Into the realms of insanity goes Peter Lorre on the Nightmare program to be broadcast tonight over WCLO at 7:30. There he tells of a woman "Her eyesight was all right. I suppose you might say it was her insight that was impaired." His sinister humor will deal effectively with these mystics of the mind when he relates the story of "
The Caves of Fear."
The Chance Of A Ghost
54-03-31 Janesville Daily Gazette
Along the same mystery and adventure lines as Squad Room is the presentation of the Nightmare program which has as its star Peter Lorre. The story for tonight over WCLO at 7:30 concerns Sonja, who knew all the tricks of her fake business. But she couldn't decipher them when she had the "
Chance of a Ghost." Peter Lorre explains why, when he weaves a suspense tale of life onthe seance circuit.
The Leech
54-04-07 Janesville Daily Gazette
Very little remains to be presented on the WCLO schedule except the mystery thriller program. This category is filled neatly by the Nightmare program starring Peter Lorre. A man who objects to being dead and puts up a fight gives his killers more than a scare. His hold is like "
The Leech" which is the title of the Nightmare story tonight at 7:30.
The Hybrid
54-04-14 Wisconsin State Journal
7:30 p.m.--Nightmare (WGN): experimenter develops man-killing plant.

54-04-14 Janesville Daily Gazette
Also in the spotlight for thrills and mystery is the presentation of Nightmare on WCLO at 7:30 p.m. with Peter Lorre narrating a tale of suspense. A man who tries to grow new and unusual plants finds that one of his creations develops killing powers. Eventually his own life is at stake when "
The Hybrid" exceeds expectations.
The Sky Hook
54-04-21 Wisconsin State Journal
7:30 p.m.--Nightmare (WGN): "
The Sky Hook."
The Softer Voice
54-04-28 Wisconsin State Journal
6:30 p.m.--Nightmare (WGN): "
The Softer Voice."
Quorum For Death
54-05-05 Long Beach Press-Telegram
Peter Lorre has another "Nightmare" drama for you on KHJ at 8 p.m
The Lucky Stretch
54-05-12 Daily Messenger
MBS--8:30 Nightmare "
Lucky Stretch."
His Worst Enemy
54-05-19 Long Beach Press-Telegram
A man's best friend, a dog also can be
his worst enemy, as bear witness to "Nightmare" starring Peter Lorre on KHJ at 8 p.m.
False Faces
54-05-26 Daily Messenger
MBS--8:30 Nightmare, "
False Faces."

54-05-26 The Bee
MBS--8:30 Nightmare, "False Faces."
The Hungry Thing
54-06-02 Oakland Tribune
8 p.m. KFRC--NIGHTMARE: Peter Lorre spins a weird story of a strange invisible creature in "
The Hungry Thing."
One For the Road
54-06-09 New York Times
8:30-9--Nightmare: Peter Lorre narrates a story of a man who fought alcoholism and won--WOR.

54-06-09 Oakland Tribune
8 p.m., KFRC--NIGHTMARE: Peter Lorre tells of a man who fought alcoholism, and won, in "
One For the Road."
The Brain Wash
54-06-16 New York Times
8:30-9--Nightmare: Peter Lorre narrates the story of an American business man taken prisoner behind the Iron Curtain, in "
The Brain Wash"--WOR.
Dig the Grave Deep
54-06-23 New York Times
8:30-9--Nightmare: "
Dig the Grave Deep," the eerie adventures of a uranium prospector in Northern Canada; Peter Lorre, narrator.
The Last Laugh
54-06-30 New York Times
8:30-9--Nightmare: "The Last Laugh," a tale of frustration, with Peter Lorre, narrating--WOR.
Till the End Of Time
54-07-07 Long Beach Independent
8:00 P.M. KHJ--Nightmare. Peter Lorre; "
Till the End of Time."
Desert In the Sky
54-07-14 New York Times
8:30-9--Nightmare: "
Desert In the Sky," with Peter Lorre--WOR.
The Face
54-07-21 New York Times
8:30-9--Nightmare: "
The Face," mystery drama, with Peter Lorre--WOR.
The Hammer Killer
54-07-28 New York Times
8:30-9--Nightmare: "
The Hammer Killer," mystery drama, with Peter Lorre--WOR.
Forget Me Not
54-08-04 New York Times
8:30-9--Nightmare: "
Forget Me Not," a tale of a troubled conscience; Peter Lorre, narrator--WOR.

54-08-04 Long Beach Independent
Peter Lorre has another "Nightmare" on KHJ at 8 p.m. It is titled
"Forget Me Not" and who could.
The Abyss
54-08-11 New York Times
8:30-9--Nightmare: "
The Abyss," a romantic triangle comes to a head two iles beneath the ocean's surface; Peter Lorre, narrator--WOR.
The Alien
54-08-18 New York Times
8:30-9--Nightmare: Peter Lorre narrates the tale of "
The Alien," a man from another world who complicates the life of a young doctor--WOR.
If I Should Die Before I Wake
54-08-25 New York Times
8:30-9--Nightmare: "
If I should Die Before I Wake," story of a promising sleuth who falls asleep whenever he nears his quarry; Peter Lorre, host--WOR.
The Coils Of Fear
54-09-01 New York Times
8:30-9--Nightmare: Peter Lorre tells of an escaped killer who hides out on an island inhabited by pythons, in "
The Coils of Fear"--WOR.
Bread and Butter
54-09-08 New York Times
8:30-9--Nightmare: "
Bread and Butter," superstition is the solder that binds a failing business partnership; Peter Lorre, narrator--WOR.
The Rose Has Thorns
54-09-15 New York Times
8:30-9--Nightmare: "
The Rose Has Thorns"--A psychopathic liar nearly ruins a career; Peter Lorre, narrator--WOR.
Grave For Rent
54-09-22 New York Times
8:30-9--Nightmare: "
Grave For Rent," story of a man who joked about death until he was in an auto accident, with Peter Lorre--WOR.
[ Last Episode of series]

54-09-29 New York Times
8:30-9--Nightmare: "
H Hour"--What would it be like if an H-bomb fell?; Peter Lorre, narrator--WOR.
54-10-06 New York Times
8:30-9--WOR Sentenced: Adventures in crime detection with an "electric brain," with Martin Kingsley and others (Premiere).

The Nightmare Radio Program Biographies

Peter Lorre [László 'Lazzy' Löwenstein]
Stage, Radio, Television and Film Actor

Birthplace: Rózsahegy, Austria-Hungary [now annexed to Ruzomberok, Slovakia]


1938 The Lifebuoy Show
1939 Texaco Star Theatre
1941 The Jello Program
1942 Towards the Century Of the Common Man
1942 Suspense
1943 Inner Sanctum
1943 Lady Esther Screen Guild Theatre
1943 Duffy's Tavern
1943 The Amos 'n Andy Show
1944 Nero Wolf
1944 The Abbott and Costello Show
1944 Molle Mystery Theatre
1944 The Adventures Of Sherlock Holmes
1944 The Whistler
1944 G. I. Journal
1944 Mr District Attorney
1945 Mr and Mrs North
1945 The Andrews Sisters Show
1945 Radio Hall Of Fame
1945 Command Performance
1945 Mystery Theatre
1946 The Lucky Strike Program
1946 Birds Eye Open House
1947 The Pepsodent Show
1947 The Victor Borge Show
1947 Mystery In the Air
1947 Hollywood Fights Back
1947 Philco Radio Time
1949 Big Town
1949 The Martin and Lewis Show
1952 The Big Show
1954 Stagestruck
1963 The Hy Gardner Show
Hollywood's Open House
The Adventures Of the Thin Man
Mr and Mrs North
Mr District Attorney
Skippy Hollywood Theatre
Peter Lorre fan photo ca. 1939
Peter Lorre fan photo ca. 1939

Lorre in German Stage production, ca. 1931
Lorre in German Stage production, ca. 1931

Peter Lorre in Fritz Lang's classic psychological thriller, M (1931)
Peter Lorre in Fritz Lang's classic psychological thriller, M (1931)

M title screen
M title screen

Lorre discusses a scene between takes with Alfred Hitchcock, ca. 1934
Lorre discusses a scene between takes with Alfred Hitchcock, ca. 1934

Peter Lorre stars as Mr. Moto in one of eight Mr. Moto features between 1937 and 1939
Peter Lorre stars as Mr. Moto in one of eight Mr. Moto features between 1937 and 1939

Lorre in a pensive mood circa 1938
Lorre in a pensive mood circa 1938

Lorre in costume for Radio's Hollywood Hotel program, Nancy Steele is Missing, Friday, March 5, 1937
Lorre in costume for Radio's Hollywood Hotel program, Nancy Steele is Missing, Friday, March 5, 1937

Peter Lorre performs over NBC, ca. 1945
Peter Lorre performs over NBC, ca. 1945

Peter Lorre records Mystery In The Air, with Harry Morgan, Hans Conreid and Ben Wright, ca. 1947
Peter Lorre records Mystery In The Air, with Harry Morgan, Hans Conreid and Ben Wright, ca. 1947

Lorre kids around with tennis partner, the legendary Don Budge, ca. 1939
Lorre kids around with tennis partner, the legendary Don Budge, ca. 1939

Humphrey Bogart and Peter Lorre enjoy a spritz together in Beverly Hills, ca. 1940
Humphrey Bogart and Peter Lorre enjoy a 'spritz' together in Beverly Hills, ca. 1940

Lorre chats with Katharine Hepburn, ca. 1938
Lorre chats with Katharine Hepburn, ca. 1938

Peter Lorre life mask, ca. 1959
Peter Lorre life mask, ca. 1959

Four Horror greats, Basil Rathbone, Boris Karloff, Peter Lorre, and John Carradine, ca. 1959
Four Horror greats, Basil Rathbone, Boris Karloff, Peter Lorre, and John Carradine, ca. 1959
Peter Lorre was born in 1904 in Rózsahegy, Hungary, to Alois and Elvira Löwenstein, who moved the family to Moedling, Austria, in 1912, where young László debuted in a primary school production of Snow White. He was educated in both elementary and secondary schools in Vienna, Austria. Often erroneously reported as having run away from home to become an actor, in reality after high school graduation he attended business school and eventually obtained a position as a bank teller in Vienna. A Bohemian at heart, he was quite comfortable balancing an archetypal conventional vocation by day with a very active social and night life, often performing improvisational bits at the local night clubs.

From Vienna, he moved on to the Lobe and Thalia Theaters in Breslau, Germany, in 1924. He then secured a part in John Galsworthy's Society in Zurich. While studying at Jakob Moreno's Theater of Spontaneity, László trained to emote "the lived out and unlived out dimensions of his private world." It was reputedly his mentor Jakob Moreno that in 1925 dubbed László 'Peter Lorre,' reportedly in reference to the unkempt Struwwelpeter, character from German children's literature. Further Stage experience at Zurich's Schauspielhaus and Vienna's Kammerspiele, eventually brought him to Berlin--and to the attention of legendary poet-dramatist Bertolt Brecht.

Lorre's unconventional appearance certainly fit the bill in Brecht's continuing quest for distinctive types. In 1928 Brecht cast young Lorre as the cretinous high school student in Marieluise Fleischer's lustspiel Pioniere in Ingolstadt (Engineers in Ingolstadt.) After that appearance, Lorre became, in his own words, "the hottest thing on the Berlin stage." Then in 1931 Fritz Lang cast him as the chillingly psychopathic child killer in M.

Lorre's performance had attracted the attention of German director Fritz Lang, who had cast his negative superman (e.g., an anti-superman) as a psychopathic murderer. M catapulted Peter Lorre to international infamy as much as fame, but the notoriety from that one role pretty much typecast him--in the public eye, at any rate--as a psychotic character type from that point forward in his acting career.

Fleeing Nazi Germany just two days before the Reichstag Fire of February 1933, the Jewish actor joined fellow émigrés in a Jewish conclave in Paris. M was still playing there and people recognized him as Le Maudit--The Damned One. By the end of 1933 he'd accepted Alfred Hitchcock's invitation to come to the U.K. to appear as Hitchcock's fiendish terrorist in The Man Who Knew Too Much (1934). After The Man Who Knew Too Much, a contract with Columbia Pictures followed, bringing both Lorre and his first wife, actress Celia Lovksy, to the United States for the first time in July of 1934.

America, he hoped, would afford Lorre the opportunity to finally shed his screen image as a psychotic villain. Lorre reportedly later observed, "Ever since I came to this country I've been trying to live down my past. That picture M has haunted me everywhere I've gone." Yet despite a concerted effort to both shed his accent and reinvent himself in American eyes, Hollywood continued to cast him as a fascinating--yet deeply troubled--psycho to varying degrees. Indeed, he was first cast as a demented doctor in Mad Love (1935), his first American film. Lorre preferred to characterize the film as "psychological terror" in lieu of a "horror" film--a genre he disliked.

Still hoping to become a more mainstream character actor, Lorre accepted Twentieth Century-Fox's invitation to play a variety of roles for their studio. Their first long-term project for Lorre cast him as the remarkably agile--both physically and mentally--Japanese detective Mr. Moto, based on J .P. Marquand's legendary secret service detective. Ironically, the eight Mr. Moto features virtually ensured an even narrower range of roles for Lorre had he stayed on at Twentieth Century-Fox.

Moving to Warner Bros., Lorre finally began hitting his stride, appearing in vehicles that popularized both his quixotic and sinister images--such as The Maltese Falcon (1941) and Casablanca (1943)--and introducing a more introspective, philosophic side--such as in Three Strangers (1946). And perhaps even more importantly shedding both the ethnic and pychotic characters that had more narrowly typecast him up to that point.

His acting style then reflected a major change of attitude, consciously distancing himself from the psychological probing in favor of a more natural, conventional, yet slightly off-center or ironic demeanor. He confided with friends that he was prepared to play any role--"a Martian, a cannibal, even Bugs Bunny"--to avoid a suspension in work. Warner Bros. called his bluff in 1946, casting him in The Beast with Five Fingers, ironically signalling the end of the major studio horror genre.

In an effort to secure his own fate, Lorre left the studios to form his own management company so as to produce, direct or act in his own projects. What followed were three years of relative inactivity, graylisting by the House Un-American Activities Committee--over Lorre's early relationship with Bertolt Brecht--and ultimately, bankruptcy in 1949.

Returning to Germany to direct, Lorre wrote, directed and starred in Der Verlorene (1951). Following mixed reviews, Lorre returned from Germany in 1952--somewhat more stout and disheartened in the process. After appearing in a summer stock production of A Night at Madame Tussaud's, Lorre found himself cast against type as a deliciously droll rogue in Humphrey Bogart's Beat the Devil (1954). According to a biographer, "The reunion of the 'unholy three' – Huston, Bogart, and Lorre – turned the clock back to happier days, when a sense of camaraderie fed the spirit of fun."

An enjoyable break, Beat The Devil was a moderate success, but such glimmers of success failed to arrest Lorre's downward spiral. Hollywood ultimately refused to capitulate to Lorre's demands to be used in more mainstream ways, continuing to cast Peter Lorre in roles that simply parodied Lorre's typecasting of the past. Lorre embarked on a string of mediocre--almost exploitative--efforts, with one possible exception: his role as a clown in The Big Circus (1959). His last feature film was Jerry Lewis' The Patsy (1964).

In a more bitter irony, as Lorre neared the end of his Acting years, his appearances in exploitative horror-comedies--teamed with Vincent Price, Boris Karloff, Lon Chaney, Jr., and John Carradine--seemed to outnumber his actual Filmography of 'psychological terror' films. By age 59, now far overweight and out of shape, Peter Lorre suffered a fatal cerebral hemorrhage on March 23, 1964.

A highly contemplative, cerebral and intellectual artist and thinker his entire life, Lorre both attracted, and was attracted to, the more analytical, independent thinking, and intellectual fellow artists and celebrities of his era. When one compares Lorre's long friendship with the likes of Bertolt Brecht and Humphrey Bogart--both acutely intellectual, opinionated, independent thinkers--one is tempted to feel Lorre was at odds with himself in the company he sought. But in fact, Brecht and Bogart were more alike than different. The photos of the era continually show Lorre holding his own with intellectuals such as Ernst Lubitsch, Alfred Hitchcock, Katharine Hepburn, Fritz Lang, John Garfield, The Bogarts, Bernard Herrmann, and John Gielgud. This was not simply publicity staging.

Lorre's contemporaries found him an engaging, brilliant, widely read, intellectually challenging, and often bitingly humorous companion. Certainly all well-deserved--and hard-earned--attributes. Going further, by the time his stardom had already passed its zenith, though not particularly enthused about the direction the last ten years of his professional life had taken him, he never appeared embittered about the outcome.

He took himself seriously only when he was pushing himself and his own considerable talents. From all accounts, in his personal life he tended to minimize his celebrity in favor of privately savoring the companionship of his family and friends

From his earliest campy German Stage characterizations, through his brief but influential psychopath typecasting, the lighter Mr. Moto features, and on through portraying conniving fashion victim Joel Cairo in The Maltese Falcon, Lorre's performances were consistent only in their unpredictability.

Just when you thought you knew every Lorre move, every signature gesture or inflection, he'd throw you another curveball and leave you in awe--yet again. That's not serendipity. That's genius. With the exception of the last 5-8 years of his exploitation films, Lorre's absolute integrity on the screen was fascinating to watch. From features as relatively trivial as the Mr. Moto's to Lorre's most angst-ridden, tortured, on-screen characterizations, he was an inveterate scene-stealer. You simply couldn't take your eyes off the man, no matter how weaselly, evil, amoral or devious his characters were.

His Radio performances were the same. When his voice aired, everyone else' just seemed to recede into the background. Was it intentional? We doubt it. We tend to feel it was simply a natural--and mutual--attraction between the audience and the performer. A very ostensibly odd performer at times, to be sure, but a mutual attraction, nonetheless.

Indeed about the only medium he seemed utterly at ease with--and even casual about--was Radio. And yet his Radio performances were as spellbinding as his Films. In fact, going even further, the vast majority of Lorre's Radio appearances were parodies of his own archetypal Film roles. He clearly delighted in camping it up over Radio--and his radio hosts and audiences loved it equally well.

Peter Lorre has become an Entertainment icon of the twentieth century, and deservedly so. No medium escaped his influence, be it Animation, Film, the Stage, Radio, Television, or Print. Whether in caricature or viewed as the gifted professional actor he truly was, Peter Lorre remains one of the last century's most easily identifiable personalities.

Nor will we easily escape his influence for decades to come--and thankfully so.

Home >> D D Too Home >> Radio Logs >> Nightmare