Radio / Quiet, Please

"Quiet, Please... Quiet, Please."

Not many people today remember the golden age of radio horror. But those that do will never forget Quiet, Please.

Running from 1947 to 1949, Quiet, Please was written and directed by Wyllis Cooper (who had previously worked on another horror program, Lights Out — best known today from a Bill Cosby routine where he reminisces about the infamous "Chicken Heart" episode — in the 1930s), and starred Ernest Chappell. Nearly every episode took the form of Chappell's character narrating in the first person, recounting a story of something strange and horrifying that had happened to him (sometimes leading up to his demise). These tales would range from ghost stories to things that were... weirder.

Though it ran for barely over 100 episodes, the show left a lasting impact. Rod Serling himself credited it as an influence on The Twilight Zone, both series sharing a mix of science fiction and horror episodes and often containing relevant social messages. The 60th episode of the show, "The Thing on the Fourble Board", is often credited (and rightly so) as the scariest radio program ever broadcast.

The series is available for free here. Not to be confused with the Tom and Jerry cartoon short "Quiet, Please!".

The series provides examples of:

  • The All-Concealing "I": In a few stories, including "We Were Here First", "Quiet, Please" and "Portrait of a Character", Chappell portrays a character who isn't human.
  • Bizarrchitecture: The very first episode, "Nothing Behind the Door", is Exactly What It Says on the Tin. No, it's not an empty room. It's Nothing.
  • Christmas Episode: "Berlin, 1945"
  • Cute Monster Girl: "Mike", in "The Thing on the Fourble Board".
  • Did You Just Romance Cthulhu?: "The Thing on the Fourble Board" ends with this.
  • Dug Too Deep: A Fourble board, for those who don't know, is part of an oil-drilling rig. How do you think the Thing of the title got up there?
  • Eldritch Abomination: The title character of "The Thing on the Fourble Board".
  • Halloween Episode: "Don't Tell Me About Halloween"
  • Invisible Monsters: "The Thing on the Fourble Board"
  • New Year Has Come: "Rain on New Year's Eve"
  • No Fourth Wall: Some of the less serious episodes played merry hell with the fourth wall, sometimes implying that the characters knew they were fictional or could see the radio audience, or having Chappell's character speak directly to a specific person who his character knew would be listening to Quiet, Please.
    • In at least two episodes, the characters can hear the music score and wind up asking the performer (addressing him by name, in fact) to play louder or quieter.
  • Non-Actor Vehicle: Until Quiet, Please went on the air, Ernest Chappell was better known as an announcer and newsreader. Most episodes of the series have him carrying most of the running time as a narrator or raconteur.
  • Nothing Is Scarier: In some cases, quite literally.
  • Shout-Out: The title of Episode 59, "It's Later Than You Think", about a magic time-travelling watch, is a reference to the Tag Line of Lights Out.
  • Shown Their Work: Most episodes revolved around Chappell's character doing a job of some kind, many of which had lots of interesting information about it.
  • Signing Off Catch Phrase:
    "And so, until next week at this same time, I am quietly yours, Ernest Chappell."
  • Spooky Photographs: Inverted in "Thirteen and Eight", where the photographer keeps seeing a man who never shows up in the pictures.
  • Theme Tune Cameo: "Come In, Eddie", "12 to 5", "The Evening and the Morning", and "Symphony in D Minor" feature the show's theme tune (Cesar Franck's Symphony in D Minor) in the story.