Tag Archives: Ernest Chappell

24 November: Not so quietly hers . . .

Wyllis Cooper---characters before plot?

Wyllis Cooper—characters before plot?

Tonight’s Quiet, Please offering will receive more listener requests for copies of its scripts than any program in Mutual’s lineup. It’s a phenomenon that will continue when the show moves to ABC. It will also inspire a book of the show’s scripts to be published despite the early misgivings of their author.

“My scripts are not intended to be read,” Wyllis Cooper protests. “They’re intended to be listened to.”

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24 November: Deadpan, dead on

Nancy Sheridan plays Bernadine tonight. (Unknown publicity photo.)

Nancy Sheridan plays Bernadine tonight. (Unknown publicity photo.)

Wyllis Cooper has had two only annoyances since launching Quiet, Please earlier in 1947, according to John Dunning in due course: He isn’t fond of people comparing this show to his earlier radio creation, Lights Out, by those who remember only that Arch Oboler took it over and built a career upon that beginning. And, he can’t stand “acting.” “The (Quiet, Please) cast was told to play it straight . . . he wanted it related with a deadpan sense of ‘here’s how it happened’.”

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Eternal love lost: Old-time radio listening, 24 November

Quiet, Please: In Memory of Bernadine (Mutual, 1947)

Wyllis Cooper, Quiet, Please‘s mastermind . . . (Photo: Mutual)

Few of the haunters who populate this singular radio classic of psychological fantasy prove as unforgettable as tonight’s, and the writing and acting are both so skilled that what could devolve to soapish, bathetic melodrama remains charming and, in its way, touching.

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A ghostly princess: Old-time radio listening, 20 October

Quiet, Please: Pavane, the Girl with the Flaxen Hair (Mutual, 1947)

The Princess de Polignac, patron and muse of Ravel, inadvertent inspiration for a classic Quiet, Please . . . and an heiress to the Singer sewing machine fortune. (Photo: Possibly public domain.)

Ravel composed Pavane pour une infante défunte (Pavane for a Dead Princess) in 1899, while studying at the Conservatoire de Paris, and dedicated it to the Princess de Polignac—known otherwise as Winnaretta Singer, a lesbian in a chaste but (in the context of her time) peculiarly loving marriage to the homosexual Prince Edmond de Polignac, who shared her passion for music . . . and an heiress to the Singer sewing machine fortune, who used her portion of it to sponsor serious music, other arts, and sciences for the rest of her life, following her husband’s death in 1901.

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A movement for murder: Old-time radio listening, 13 September

Quiet, Please: Symphony in D Minor (Mutual, 1948)

Cesar Franck, as depicted in Jeanne Rongier’s 1885 painting, “César Franck at the console of the organ at St. Clotilde Basilica, Paris.”

In its final episode on Mutual, Quiet, Please‘s creative supermen elect to pay tribute to the symphony whose second movement has yielded the show’s arresting musical theme . . . by deploying it as a murder tool. Which may or may not be more benign, in its macabre manner, than the backstory animating the symphony itself.

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