With those iconic words, the weeknight adventure into the macabre began. In Jan 1974, CBS Radio took a chance with nostalgia on the insistence of radio veteran Himan (Hi) Brown to produce a radio program styled on yesteryear with the theater of the mind. For one hour each night, the listener was treated to the shows opening of a creaking door followed by Himan Brown and later narration by stentorian voiced actor, E.G Marshall saying "Come in... Welcome."
"I'm E.G. Marshall." all the while an eerie bass clarinet played in the background as Marshall introduced the evening program.
In all, 1399 shows were produced between 1974 and 1982 when Mystery Theater actress Tammy Grimes held down the last year as hostess when Marshall took ill.
KIRO in Seattle and other CBS affiliate's carried the show through most of it's 9 season run. The program was under the direction of Himan Brown whose background included radio's Inner Sanctum. Actors appearing on the show featured a who's who of the past and future including Agnes Moorehead, Fred Gwynne, Mercedes McCambridge, Jerry Stiller and an unknown John Lithgow and many others.
From Wikipedia: Actors were paid union scale at around $73.92 per show. Writers earned a flat rate of $350 per show. Production took place with assembly-line precision. Brown met with actors at 9am for the first script reading. After he assigned roles, recording began. By noon, the recording of the actors was complete, and Brown handed everyone checks. Post-production was done in the afternoon.
Brown expanded his repertoire in later shows beyond mysteries to include science fiction, westerns and comedy. The program won the show a Peabody award and was inducted in 1990 to the Radio Hall of Fame. During the summer and fall of 1998, CBS affiliate's began airing re-runs of the show.
Himan Brown passed away in 2010 at the age of 99. Nothing short of remarkable can be said to have a radio drama hour on the air as late as 1982.
We go back to one show in particular, from 1977, a 12 year old Sarah Jessica Parker, known simply as Sarah Parker in The Child's Cat's Paw:
The entire run can be downloaded here