Friends, it has been a little while since we’ve had a new Retro Radio Memories offering. This time we are going to be enjoying an episode from the Dark Fantasy series entitled “Pennsylvania Turnpike”, which was originally broadcast on March 20th of 1942. For what it might be worth, we have actually shined the spotlight on Dark Fantasy in the past, with “W is for Werewolf“, but that story focused on a couple visiting a private island and getting involved with lycanthropy. “Pennsylvania Turnpike” would have made a nice episode to adapt for The Twilight Zone television series!
I was a latecomer to the Dark Fantasy series, in fact I found out about it thanks to my time writing at the Retroist. Debuting on station WKY in Oklahoma City on November 14th of 1941, it would be carried on NBC affiliate radio stations for a total of 31 episodes until June 19th of 1942. Although two of those episodes include a lost show entitled “Curare” and the final broadcast was a second reading of “The Devil Tree”, which was originally broadcast on December 5th of ’41.
In “Pennsylvania Turnpike” we are introduced to a most curious stranger. At the beginning of the radio show, we find out that this ‘old’ man has all sorts of bizarre mannerisms. From the way he is dressed to the coins he carries on him, in addition to the the fact he has never heard of a sandwich. It would certainly seem like this man is from a different period of time, which is of course exactly the case – no spoilers there, you will hear for yourself he is quite up front about the whole situation. Of course the question is why this man would appear in modern times? The desire for justice can be a powerful force, friends… perhaps strong enough even to sustain a person until they can right a past wrong? Although having said that, like with The Twilight Zone on a rare occasion, an innocent person might be targeted.
So turn down the lights if you are able and find out what is going down on the “Pennsylvania Turnpike”, courtesy of Dark Fantasy as well as the Old Time Radio Researchers Group.
While I have said it before in regards to Old Time Radio programming, it does bear repeating that it still is a valid form of entertainment. It’s ability, at least in the case of shows like Dark Fantasy to give us the creeps 80 years later – that is something pretty incredible, right?