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Lights Out

Entry updated 10 November 2023. Tagged: TV.

US tv series (1946-1952). Sponsored by the Admiral Corporation, others, for NBC-TV. Produced by Arch Oboler, Herbert B Swope Jr and Ernest Walling. Directors included William Corrigan, Kingman T Moore, Grey Lockwood and Delbert Mann. Writers included Fred Coe, George Leffert, Ernst Kinroy and A J Russell. Narrators: Jack La Rue, Frank Gallop. 160 30-minute episodes. Black and white.

This anthology series was among the first regular Television series to air after World War Two, and was also among the first to make the transition from Radio (where it ran 1934-1947) to the new medium of television. The radio version (1934-1935 WENR Chicago; 1935-1939 NBC; 1942-1943 CBS; 1945-1946 NBC; on NBC; 1947 ABC) was written by Wyllis Cooper (1899-1955) until 1936, then by Arch Oboler.

Like the radio programme, the small-screen series primarily featured Horror stories or crime-suspense dramas, but included some sf. Among the sf stories adapted were "Zero Hour" (Fall 1947 Planet Stories) by Ray Bradbury; "The Strange Case of John Kingman" (May 1948 Astounding) by Murray Leinster, adapted twice for this series – and "Don't Look Now" (March 1948 Startling) by Henry Kuttner, televised as "The Martian Eyes". Other sf authors whose stories were adapted include Nelson S Bond, Raymond Z Gallun and Sam Merwin Jr. Like most early television programmes, Lights Out was filmed live on kinescope films, often then wiped for re-use or simply lost. Various episodes have survived; it is unclear whether these include any sf segments. [GSt/DRL]


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