In memory today for Hiram Brown, a virtuoso of radio who created some of the most memorable and enduring radio dramas, including the incredibly creepy “Inner Sanctum” and, later, “CBS Radio Mystery Theater” (which served to haunt and inspire a new generation of listeners, such as the creators of The Grist Mill)
While radio dramas are now celebrated as wistful nostalgia by people in their 70s and 80s, Mr. Brown never stopped believing in the form. In 1974, when radio drama was all but extinct, he began a nightly series called CBS Radio Mystery Theater that ran until 1982 and even revived the creaking door. He continued to produce radio dramas about influential Americans into his 90s for Brooklyn College’s station.
“I am firmly convinced that nothing visual can touch audio,” Mr. Brown said in a 2003 interview, his eyes sparkling. “I don’t need 200 orchestra players doing the ‘Ride of the Valkyries.’ I don’t need car chases. I don’t need mayhem. All I need to do is creak the door open, and visually your head begins to go. The magic word is imagination.”
While some of the greats from the Old Time era are no longer with us, we’re here to report that imagination is working better than ever! Rest in peace, Mr. Brown.