The Zero Hour (Rod Serling series)

The Zero Hour (Rod Serling series)

"The Zero Hour" (aka "Hollywood Radio Theater") was a 1973-74 radio drama anthology series hosted by Rod Serling. [ The Zero Hour Radio Log] ] With tales of mystery, adventure and suspense, the program aired in stereo for two seasons. Some of the scripts were written by Serling. [ History of Mutual Radio's Zero Hour] ]

Syndicated by the Mutual Broadcasting System, the series debuted September 3, 1973. The original format featured five-part dramas broadcast Monday through Friday with the story coming to a conclusion on Friday. Including commercials, each part was approximately 30 minutes long. Since Mutual affiliates could broadcast the programs at convenient timeslots on any suitable dates, the series did not begin in certain areas until late fall or early winter of 1973.

In 1974, still airing five days a week, the program changed to a full story in a single 30-minute installment with the same actor starring throughout the week in all five programs. That format was employed from late April 1974 to the end of the series on July 26, 1974.

Producer J.M. Kholos was a Los Angeles advertising man who acquired the rights to suspense novels, including Tony Hillerman's "The Blessing Way", for radio adaptations. In some cases, the titles were changed. For example, the five-part "Desperate Witness" was an adaptation of "The Big Clock" by Kenneth Fearing. To create a strong package, Kholos followed through by lining up top actors, including John Astin, Edgar Bergen, Joseph Campanella, Richard Crenna, John Dehner, Howard Duff, Patty Duke, Nina Foch, George Maharis, Susan Oliver, Brock Peters and Lurene Tuttle.

The opening theme music was by Ferrante & Teicher. Don Hill produced the series for StudioHouse, which also produced the Salvation Army's "Heartbeat Theatre". Counting each five-part show as five episodes, there were a total of 130 episodes. It failed to find a large audience due to the initial weekly serial format and the lack of promotion. According to director Elliott Lewis, "They wanted as much name value as possible to help with sales. They forgot they had to sell it. Everybody sat in the office and waited for someone to call them up and buy the show." [Dunning, John. "On the Air: The Encyclopedia of Old-Time Radio". New York: Oxford University Press, 1998. ISBN 0-19-507678-8.]

Highbridge Audio released some of the five-part stories on audiocassettes.


*1973 Nov 15 Promo Show
*1973 Dec 17,18,19,20,21 Wife of the Red Haired Man
*1973 Dec 24,25,26,27,28 Desperate Witness
*1973 Dec 31, *1974 Jan 01,02,03,04 If Two of Them Are Dead
*1974 Jan 07,08,09,10,11 Fourth of Forever
*1974 Jan 14,15,16,17,18 But I Wouldn't Want to Die There
*1974 Jan 28,29,30,31, Feb 01 Heir Hunters
*1974 Feb 04,05,06,07,08 A Die in the Country
*1974 Feb 11,12,13,14,15 Someone's Death
*1974 Feb 18,19,20,21,22 Face of the Foe
*1974 Feb 25,26,27,28, Mar 01 Blessing Way
*1974 Mar 04,05,06,07,08 Princess Stakes Murder Case
*1974 Mar 11,12,13,14,15 Queen in Danger
*1974 Apr 29 Bye-Bye Narco
*1974 Apr 30 Terror in the Night
*1974 May 01 Scream of the Hawk
*1974 May 02 The Extortionist
*1974 May 03 Price of Admission
*1974 May 06 A Shortage of Story
*1974 May 07 Escape to Nowhere
*1974 May 08 Fair's Fair, You Know
*1974 May 09 The Housecall
*1974 May 13 An Arm's Length
*1974 May 15 The Reward
*1974 May 16 Villainous Verdict
*1974 May 17 The Stranger
*1974 May 20 White Flame Burning Bright
*1974 May 21 Mind of the Beholder
*1974 May 22 Driving Aunt Sally Insane
*1974 May 23 There is a Man in 211
*1974 May 24 Death is a Perfect Cure
*1974 May 27 Dr. Rivington Presumably
*1974 May 28 Wanted: A Willing Companion
*1974 May 29 Pigs Could Put You in the Pen
*1974 May 30 Sky Lab Are You There?
*1974 May 31 A Favor You Can't Refuse
*1974 Jun 03 Death at Half a Length
*1974 Jun 04 Floating Down the River
*1974 Jun 05 Once a Thief
*1974 Jun 06 Murder Shrieks Out
*1974 Jun 07 Rehabilitation of Citizen Fimple
*1974 Jun 10 Bonnie and Clyde are Alive and Well
*1974 Jun 11 Sisters of Satan
*1974 Jun 12 Mannequin
*1974 Jun 13 Double Date to Destiny
*1974 Jun 14 Clay Pigeons
*1974 Jun 17 ast is Always Present
*1974 Jun 18 Woman in Black
*1974 Jun 19 Come Light My Fire
*1974 Jun 20 Riders Wanted: Share Expenses
*1974 Jun 21 Death on Canvas
*1974 Jun 24 House That Clement Built
*1974 Jun 25 Joint Account
*1974 Jun 26 Tiger Cages
*1974 Jun 27 Violence Takes a Curtain Call
*1974 Jun 28 Children Are Dying
*1974 Jul 01 Bend Spindle and Mutilate
*1974 Jul 02 Murder is a Work of Art
*1974 Jul 03 Edwards Tug and Salvage
*1974 Jul 04 Larceny on the Lake
*1974 Jul 05 On the Lam
*1974 Jul 08 Corpse Takes a Sleigh Ride
*1974 Jul 09 Marionettes
*1974 Jul 10 Ghost of Black Plague
*1974 Jul 11 Trunkful of Trouble
*1974 Jul 12 The Grand Prize
*1974 Jul 15 Welcome Home Denny Shackleford
*1974 Jul 16 Death of a Genius
*1974 Jul 17 Remember Me
*1974 Jul 18 Lost in Time
*1974 Jul 19 Once Upon a Truck
*1974 Jul 22 Corpse Takes a Stand
*1974 Jul 23 Carnival of Menace
*1974 Jul 24 Chicago John & The Glitter People
*1974 Jul 25 Smoke Screen
*1974 Jul 26 The Holdout


Listen to

* [ Internet Archive: "The Zero Hour"]

External links

* [ Jerry Haendiges Vintage Radio Logs: "The Zero Hour"]

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