Maurice Tarplin played the 'mysterious traveler,'
that we would meet each week on the train, and soon we would
be aboard, listening to our mysterious host spinning his yarn.
Written and directed by Robert A Arthur and David Kogan,
the radio series began on the Mutual Broadcasting System on December 5th 1943, continuing in many different timeslots until 1952. Unlike many other shows of the era, The
Mysterious Traveler was without a sponsor for its entire run. The lonely
sound of a distant locomotive heralded the arrival of the malevolent narrator
who introduced himself each week in the following manner:
- This is the Mysterious Traveler, inviting you to join me on another journey
into the strange and terrifying. I hope you will enjoy the trip, that it will
thrill you a little and chill you a little. So settle back, get a good grip on
your nerves and be comfortable -- if you can!
Cast members included Jackson Beck, Lon Clark, Roger DeKoven, Elspeth
Eric, Wendell Holmes, Bill Johnstone, Joseph Julian, Jan Miner, Santos Ortega,
Bryna Raeburn, Frank Readick, Ann Shepherd, Lawson Zerbe and Bill Zuckert. Sound
effects were by Jack Amrhein, Jim Goode, Ron Harper, Walt McDonough and Al
"Behind the Locked Door," a popular, much-requested episode which took place
in total darkness, was repeated several times during the years. Two
archaeologists discover an century-old wagon train that had been sealed in a cave
following a landslide. When their Native American guide is
mysteriously and brutally attacked, the two, now lost in the darkness, conclude
that the descendants of the wagon train are still living in the cave.
Only 75 of the original 370 Mysterious Traveler episodes still exist.
The popularity of the series spawned other supernatural shows, such as The
Sealed Book and The Strange Dr Weird.