I spent my work day today listening to one of filmdom’s most memorable voices, that of Peter Lorre of famed horror lore. Lorre’s voice is instantly recognizable and at least as enjoyable as was his acting prowess. So I had to ask myself, “what sort of a person would I be if I didn’t share some of my favorite Peter Lorre radio appearances with you today, the anniversary of his birth?” And the answer is as clear as my conscience. Enjoy the following programs in tribute to the ever entertaining Mr. Lorre.
Let’s start with my four favorite episodes of Mystery Playhouse, a radio drama hosted by Lorre from mid-1944 through mid-1946. Mystery Playhouse aired on an armed forces network with entertaining the troops during WWII as its primary goal. The best parts of this series are Lorre’s introductions, which are always delivered with full-blown mystery flare the likes of which only he could deliver. With that talent Lorre is guaranteed to give you the creeps and get you in the mood for mysterious tales.
“Lady in the Morgue”
“Death is a Joker”
From the Molle Mystery Theater series, later known as just Mystery Theater here’s an episode titled, “The Man in the Velvet Hat.” Peter Lorre hosts this episode and some others in the series, which aired from 1943 to 1954.
I conclude with the most entertaining episodes from a series titled Mystery in the Air, a 30-minute anthology summer replacement series that ran from July through September 1947 on NBC radio. Peter Lorre starred in Mystery in the Air, which was hosted by Harry Morgan, the great character actor and future staple of Dragnet and M*A*S*H the TV series. It’s Lorre’s all-out, over-the-top performances, however, that make each entry of Mystery in the Air such a treat.
“The Lodger” – this episode is a special treat as Lorre co-stars with the first lady of radio drama, Agnes Moorehead.
“Beyond Good and Evil”
“The Mask of Medusa”
“The Black Cat”
“Crime and Punishment”
In memory of one of the all-time greats.