UNICEF Halloween broadcasts
On Halloween night in 1981, a group of actors got together at the Magic Castle in Hollywood to perform an original radio thriller that was broadcast live to NBC affiliates throughout the country. Proceeds went to the United Nations International Children's Fund (UNICEF) and it was such a success that it became a Halloween tradition for at least the next four years. I've only managed to track down recordings of the 1981 and 1984 performances. Here are the details:
A Halloween Story: October 31st, 1981
Broadcast live from The Magic Castle, this hour-long show was said to be the first live commercial radio network drama to be broadcast in 25 years. It includes adaptations of Edgar Allan Poe's "The Black Cat" and George Toudouze's "Three Skeleton Key," originally made famous on the Suspense and Escape old time radio programs.
Directed by Dick Orkin (Chickenman) and written by Richard Proctor, it has an impressive cast, including John Carradine, John Clark, John Houseman, June Lockhart, Lynn Redgrave, Casey Kasem, Jean Kasem and Gary Owens. Hosted by Yaphat Koto, with Marvin Miller serving as announcer, it was heard over the NBC Network and sponsored by Jensen Sound Systems.
The October Country: October 30th, 1984
Broadcast live from The Directors Guild of America in Hollywood, this is a Ray Bradbury anthology, featuring dramatic adaptations of three of his stories: "The Emissary" "There Was an Old Woman" and "The Wonderful Death of Dudley Stone." It also features a brief appearance by Bradbury himself at the top of the show.
Directed by John Clark, based on Ray Bradbury's book The October Country, adapted for radio by Rick Libert, Deborah Hansen, Jack Nierob, Sharon Benoit, and John Clark. It stars Robert Brown, Barrie Ingham, June Lockhart, Lynn Redgrave, Casey Kasem, Jean Kasem, Gary Owens (Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In), Danny Cooksey (Salute Your Shorts), Frank Welker (Scooby-Doo) and announcer Marvin Miller. Produced by Jeff Sudikoff, Johnny Biggs and Matt Tombers in coordination with the United States Committee for UNICEF.
I'd love to get my hands on the productions from 1982, '83, '85 or any other year this was performed. Hunting through old newspapers, these were all the details I was able to find on other performances --
1985 Halloween Broadcast
Broadcast from the Sheraton Premiere Hotel in Universal City, it featured dramatizations of stories by Stephen King, Richard Matheson and William F. Nolan. Actors contributing their time and talents for the dramatizations included June Lockhart, Lynn Redgrave, Gary Owens, Casey Kasem and Tom Wopat. It was carried live on 222 stations throughout the US.
- 81-10-31 Live from The Magic Castle (Yaphat Koto, John Carradine, Casey Kasem, Lynn Redgrave) (98.3Mb)
- 84-10-30 Ray Bradbury's The October Country (Casey Kasem, Lynn Redgrave, June Lockhart) (77.6Mb)
MP3 files hosted by archive.org.