The now famous sound of the creaking door was first heard January 7, 1941 on the Blue network. Creepy sound effects combined with humor set the show apart from contemporary mystery-thriller programs. Inner Sanctum was the creation of Himan Brown. Using creepy, yet comical sound effects and banter, Inner Sanctum took its listeners to the other side. The other side included going into the minds of lunatic killers, entering into the realm of the supernatural and encounters with ghostly apparitions.
In early broadcasts, host Raymond Johnson accompanied by ghastly organ music, opened each episode with a cheesy joke. Johnson’s sarcastic wit and chilling melodramatic voice kept listeners on the edge of their seat in anticipation of the story that was about to be told. Creator Himan Brown was no stranger to radio and he knew exactly how to enthrall an audience. In 1935, he produced the first radio soap opera, Marie, Little French Princess. The same year, he also produced Flash Gordon.
Inner Sanctum idea after an executive at Carter’s Little Liver Pills approached him. Still a work in progress, Brown pitched the idea of a mystery series entitled, The Creaking Door. The executive was not entirely sold on the project and objected to the series title. Not willing to lose a client, Brown purchased the rights to the Inner Sanctum novel series. Although the radio show was not based upon the stories of the Inner Sanctum novels, the purchase allowed Brown to use the title as his own. Pleased with the title, Carter’s Little Liver Pills became the initial sponsor for the series.
Brown contributed the success of the show to its simulated audio experiences. Brown always believed that audio was far superior to the visual medium of television, in that noise and sound stimulated the imagination in a way not possible with television.
Enjoy this Inner Sanctum episode of the Judas Clock: