December 8, 2011

"Voice of Mystery" Stilled

The film, radio, television, and stage actor Harry Morgan passed away on Wednesday, Dec. 7, 2011. He was 96.

As “The Voice of Mystery”, Morgan acted as narrator on Peter Lorre’s radio series Mystery in the Air, a replacement series for The Bud Abbott and Lou Costello Show in the summer of 1947.

Mystery in the Air presented tales of suspense “culled from the four corners of world literature”, adapted from such famous tales as Alexander Pushkin’s “The Queen of Spades” and Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Black Cat”, as well as original radio dramas.

The final eight episodes are widely available through many dealers in old-time radio programs, as well as audio download on

Morgan hosted all 13 episodes, beginning with “The Tell-Tale Heart” on July 3 and continuing to the final program, “Crime and Punishment”, adapted from Peter’s 1935 Columbia Studios film, on Sept. 25.

In the image above, Morgan (in black suit) stands, looking over Hans Conried’s shoulder at his script, with Peter Lorre at the microphone.

On March 14, 1979, author Stephen Youngkin took an interview with Harry Morgan for his Lorre biography, The Lost One: A Life of Peter Lorre, published in Sept. 2005 through University Press of Kentucky. Morgan recalled working with Lorre on Mystery in the Air, describing the intensity of Peter’s performances as he played to the microphone, not the studio audience.

Rest in peace, Mr. Morgan. Like Peter Lorre, you live on through the recordings of your many radio, movie and television roles.

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