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UCLA Film & Television Archive and the Hugh M. Hefner Classic American Film Program present

Out of the Ether: Radio Mysteries and Thrillers on Screen

The Power of the Whistler
January 22, 2016 -
March 21, 2016

Read about this film series in the Los Angeles Times.

As the popularity of radio grew in the 1920s, the domestic mass medium proved a fertile ground for promoting Hollywood productions.  Lesser known is the movement of radio programs to film.  With the advent of talking pictures, studios experimented with the cross-promotional possibilities of radio and film, fulfilling the desire of radio fans to see what they had heretofore only heard; later, as wartime demand for entertainment surged, Hollywood looked to radio for content.  Operating in a purely auditory medium, radio mysteries and thrillers were rife with fantastic plots, mysterious intonations and uncanny occurrences—outlandish narratives that could be realized using only suggestive sound effects and an active imagination.  Death rays, nerve gas and decapitations populate spine-tingling tales of demented heirs, split personalities and supernatural villains.  Mostly produced as B-pictures, radio adaptations accomplished their effects with economy and enthusiasm; their themes of mysticism, corruption and psychoanalysis present a keen reading of contemporary fears and preoccupations.  UCLA Film & Television Archive is pleased to present this selection of mysteries and thrillers from a lesser-known but uniquely entertaining corner of classic Hollywood cinema.

Note:  For select screenings, recordings of related original radio broadcasts will play in the theater after doors open.  Come early and enjoy the thrills and chills of old time radio before the films begin!

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