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An on-line guide to Radio's Horror Hosts from OTR to 1999.

Also, pod-casts and modern horror hosts (2000 to present)

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Radio Horror Hosts were rarely seen but often heard. Their voices inspired many different images in the minds of listeners. The above artwork (by Chris Terri) was just one of several unsolicitited pieces drawn by listeners imagining what their favorite horror host looked like. The actual host looked quite different.

There are three ways to locate the host you seek. Click the method your prefer.

1. By the name of the series they hosted.

2. By the name of the host's radio persona.

3. By the narrator's real (legal) name.

Horror Hosts! The words usually conjure up images of ghoulish TV personalities like Elvira and Zacherley. They often wear monster make-up and appear on make-shift castle sets, interrupting older monster movies and telling us a few jokes or dark puns. But those guys are not the ones who really made horror hosts popular or famous. They were building on a grand tradition that preceded televsion completely. The original horror hosts were top-of-the-shelf talents who not only introduced, but often narrated and acted in some the most terrifying shows mass-media ever produced. They were radio dramas with horror, science fiction, or murder themes. The hosts were sometimes famous, but more often mysterious, and they always caught our attention. There was something hypnotic about them. We never actually saw them, yet we visualized them in our mind, along with the many terrors they unleashed there. They established a dark mood and eerie ambiance. They carefully set the scene for the murder, dangerous experiment, or shocking adventure. And they were usually first on the scene after the blood was spilled to chuckle and provide us with a few more gory details. Anyone who heard The Mysterious Traveler, The Whistler, or Inner Sanctum's Raymond will testify to the fact that the host was one of the main attractions of the show. It just wouldn't be the same without them.

The cackling witch from The Witch's Tale provided the inspiration that created EC horror comics like Tales of the Crypt and Vault of Fear. Other comics quickly imitated their formula, and soon, the paper stands were overflowing with equally graphic tales. Congress reacted and a new comic code toned everything way down, but the "damage" was already done. Radio had not only influenced comics, but the future direction of many of the readers. Some would become horror and science fiction writers and directors (including George Romero and John Carpenter), creating bolder movies and TV series in the 1960s and 70s and 80s. They were in effect, third generation radio horror fans and didn't even know it!

Like the blues singers who originated Rock & Roll, only to see others like Elvis and The Rolling Stones get most the credit, history needs to correct its popular misconceptions. Now is the time for the Old Radio Horror Hosts to receive their rightful legacy. Here then is our humble effort to give these "audio devils" their due. I've also included post 1960s radio horror hosts and even a special section for the more recent podcast horror shows. If you know more radio horror hosts or series narrators, please forward the information. Some of the great legend's real names, recordings, and histories have already been lost to time. But their voices will never be forgotten...

What's here, what's not, and why.

Our Old Time Radio Observations & Essays:

Recorded Radio Interview with site Webmaster

Radio Horror's influence on E.C. comics

OTR's influence on Orson Welles and eventually, film

OTR's influence on TV

Who listens to OTR now-a-days?

OTR's violence and gore (how it skirted censorship)

OTR trading cards (for sale)

Our New OTR book (for sale)

Your "Favorite 5" radio horror hosts

Your Top 10 radio horror shows

Site Updates (What's new here)

Research Credit

Visitor comments


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