Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) logo of 1974 to 1986
Throughout The Golden Age of Radio era, supernatural suspense thrillers were a popular staple over Radio--indeed, over early Television as well. While several were originated and produced by independent programming syndicators, the majority of the more enduring supernatural thrillers and suspense dramas originated from 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 incomplete, this list reflects a representative mix of some of the more popular and enduring supernatural dramas from the Golden Age. Supernatural dramas were also a recurring favorite among the various Radio dramas that postdated Radio's Golden Age. The BBC and the CBC in particular aired several popular supernatural thrillers right on through the 20th Century.
The Second Revival of Golden Age Radio Drama
With the passing of the Golden Age of Radio and its rich legacy of fine drama, comedy and variety, the 1980s saw a resurgence in Golden Age Radio Revival dramas, both in the U.S. and internationally. The BBC had continued to produce all manner of fine Radio drama continuously throughout the second half of the 20th Century, as did Canada's CBC, South Africa, and Australia.
But in the U.S. it was Television that dominated the second half of the 20th Century. However, on the heels of the growing commercialization of American Television and persistent criticisms of Television's vast wasteland, several National Public Radio stations, independent stations, and FM-only stations began finding and airing Radio Revival dramas and comedies to a new-found audience. CBS took a chance on Himan Brown's CBS Radio Mystery Theater and found a late night audience that persisted for eight years between 1974 and 1982. During the same period, CBS aired the General Mills Radio Adventure Theater targeted to weekend juvenile audiences. That series proved so popular that CBS aired the entire series in rebroadcasts--minus sponsor--for another full run. As late as 1986, independent drama groups were still mounting highly enjoyable supernatural and psychological fare such as Cape Cod Mystery Theatre (1984-1986).
The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) began airing a fascinating range of classic, mystery, comedy, documentary, and supernatural drama throughout the 1970s to 1990s to a steadily expanding audience--both in Canada and throughout the northern portions of the U.S.
The CBC's extensive Radio offerings were a fairly even mix of organic dramas and comedies showcasing Canada's own great actors, writers and production talent, as well as several popular transcribed, syndicated features from throughout the British Empire and the United States. Indeed many of America's most beloved, popular, versatile and award-winning character actors, musicians, and comedians were Canadian citizens who'd honed their craft in all manner of original Canadian Radio drama productions:
1954 The Queen's Men
1960s The Song History of Canada
1960s Theatre 10:30
1962 Democracy in America
1963 Canadian Short Stories
1963 Sunshine Sketches of Little Town
1963 The Radio-Canada Playhouse
1964 Famous Canadian Trials
1964 Foothill Fables
1964 Tales of the Red Men
1964 The Ordeal of New France
1965 As Time Goes By
1965 The Kraken Wakes
1969 Studio Sixty-Nine
1970 The Rum Runners
1971 In the Mood
1971 The Whiteoaks of Jalna
1972 Inside From the Outside
1974 Travels with Aunt Jane
1975 Royal Canadian Air Farce
1980 60 Minutes with A Bullet
1980-1989 The Weird World of Jeff Green
1981 Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back
1982 Johnny Chase, Secret Agent of Space
1982 Scales of Justice
1982 Rex Stout's Nero Wolfe
1983 The Canadians
1983 The Second Holmes
1984-1990 Vanishing Point
1986 Thrice-Told Tales
1987 Escape Routes
1987 The Dispossessed
1988 Stories of J.G.Ballard
1992 Midnight Cab
1993 The Unopened Casebook of Sherlock Holmes
1995 Mystery Classics
1996 The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes
1997 Clean Sweep
1998 Bailey's Way
1998 Peggy Delaney
1998 Dirk Galaxy, Space Detective
While the above list represents only a fraction of Canada's Radio Drama legacy of the second half of the 20th Century, it contains many CBC programs that remain highly prized by American vintage Radio collectors--if not internationally as well.
The CBC experienced an epiphany of sorts when CBC-Toronto Producer/Director Bill Howell and CBC Head of Radio Drama Susan Rubes breathed new life into the CBC's Drama production schedule with Nightall (1980-1983), an ambitious, all hands on deck supernatural and psychological thriller series. Drawing from the CBC's entire coast to coast network, Nightfall gathered together the CBC's finest production talent, engineering talent, writing talent, and acting talent to mount one of the better thrillers in CBC History--or in North American history for that matter.
The CBC doubles down on Thrillers with Vanishing Point
Nightfall having instilled new life--and direction--into it's several regional Drama centers, Vanishing Point appeared to be a logical transition for the CBC.
|RadioGOLDINdex, Hickerson Guide.
Notes on Provenances:
The most helpful provenances were the log of the RadioGOLDINdex and newspaper listings.
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