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The Black Museum
(From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)

The Black Museum was a 1951 radio crime drama program produced by Harry Alan Towers for the BBC and based on real-life cases from the files of Scotland Yard's Black Museum. Ira Marion was the scriptwriter, and music for the series was composed and conducted by Sidney Torch.

Orson Welles was both host and narrator for stories of horror and mystery based on Scotland Yard's collection of murder weapons and various ordinary objects once associated with historical true crime cases. The show's opening began:

This is Orson Welles, speaking from London.
Sound of Big Ben chimes
The Black Museum... a repository of death. Here in the grim stone structure on the Thames which houses Scotland Yard is a warehouse of homicide, where everyday objects... a woman’s shoe, a tiny white box, a quilted robe... all are touched by murder.

Program format and themes

Walking through the museum, Welles would pause at one of the exhibits, and his description of an artifact served as a device to lead into a wryly-narrated dramatised tale of a brutal murder or a vicious crime. In the closing: "Now until we meet again in the same place and I tell you another tale of the Black Museum", Welles would conclude with his signature radio phrase, "I remain, as always, obediently yours".

With the story themes deriving from objects in the collection (usually with the names of the people involved changed but the facts remaining true to history), the 52 episodes had such titles as "The Tartan Scarf," "A Piece of Iron Chain," "Frosted Glass Shards" and "A Khaki Handkerchief.". An anomaly to the series was an episode called "The Letter"; this was the only story not about murder but about forgery.

American version

In the United States, the series aired on the Mutual Network between (January 1 and December 30, 1952). Beginning May 7, 1953, it was also broadcast over Radio Luxembourg sponsored by the cleaning products Dreft and Mirro. Since the BBC carried no commercials, Radio Luxembourg aired sponsored programs at night to England.

In America, a program of similar scope, using many of the same picked cases as The Black Museum, and nearly mirroring its broadcast run was broadcast by NBC called Whitehall 1212. The two shows were different in the respect that while Whitehall told the story of a case entirely from the point of view of the police starting from the crime scene, The Black Museum was more heavily dramatized and played out scenes of the actual murders and included scenes from the criminal's point of view.

 

 
 

     

             
                       

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