Friday, June 11, 2010

Himan Brown -- master of the Inner Sanctum dies at 99

As mentioned before, Brown's radio show, Inner Sanctum was one of the main inspirations for EC's horror line, which is more than enough to put the man in the comics hall of fame.

From the LA Times:

Himan Brown, the pioneer radio producer and director of "Grand Central Station," "Inner Sanctum Mysteries" and other popular shows of the 1930s and '40s who returned to the airwaves three decades later with " CBS Radio Mystery Theater," has died. He was 99.

Brown died Friday of age-related causes at his longtime apartment on Central Park West in Manhattan, said his granddaughter Melina Brown.

In a career in radio that began in the medium's infancy in the late 1920s, the prolific Brown's credits include "The Adventures of the Thin Man," "Bulldog Drummond," "Dick Tracy," "Flash Gordon," "The Adventures of Nero Wolfe," "Terry and the Pirates" and many others.

Along the way, he directed stars such as Orson Welles, Helen Hayes, Edward G. Robinson, Mary Astor, Boris Karloff and Peter Lorre.

"He was one of the great storytellers of the heyday of the golden age of radio," said Ron Simon, curator of television and radio at the Paley Center for Media in New York City. "He symbolized an entire era of dramatic radio entertainment."

Brown may be best remembered for creating "Inner Sanctum Mysteries," which debuted in 1941 and ran until 1952. The show's opening featured one of the most famous sound effects in radio history: an eerie creaking door.

"That great sound effect just gave you a sense of mystery and suspense, symbolizing Hi Brown's flair for the dramatic," Simon said.

Long after the rise of television, Brown returned to radio to produce and direct the Peabody Award-winning "CBS Radio Mystery Theater," which ran from 1974 to 1982.

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