raymond mcgrath


thrilling days of yesteryear (a moodboard for every radio show i love)


The early 1940s programs opened with Raymond Edward Johnson introducing himself as “Your host, Raymond” in a mockingly sardonic voice. A spooky melodramatic organ score punctuated Raymond’s many morbid jokes and playful puns. Raymond’s closing was an elongated “Pleasant dreeeeaams, hmmmmm?” His tongue-in-cheek style and ghoulish relish of his own tales became the standard for many such horror narrators to follow. Beginning in 1945, Lipton Tea sponsored the series, pairing first Raymond and then McGrath with cheery commercial spokeswoman Mary Bennett, whose blithesome pitches for Lipton Tea contrasted sharply with the macabre themes of the stories. She primly chided the host for his trademark dark humor and creepy manner. The program’s familiar and famed audio trademark was the eerie creaking door which opened and closed the broadcasts. Its campy comedy notwithstanding, the stories were usually effective little chillers, mixing horror and humor in equal doses. Memorable episodes included “Terror by Night” and an adaptation of “The Tell-Tale Heart”.