Quiet Please....

Table of Contents:
The Show
The People
The Music
The Log

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The Show:

A lone voice telling a story in first person narrative over a haunting signature melody using minimal sound effects and a sparse support cast . However, in the spinning of these tales lay alien worlds, unspeakable terror, love (unrequited and otherwise) and even an Angel of Death who weeps for the life of a small child. Spun out of the substance of human consciousness came amazing examples of the Theatre of the Mind.

Quiet Please was unique in the world of radio drama. Was it a horror show? Was it a suspense show? Was it maybe even a comedy? The answer was....yep, sure was!!!! It was, and still is, all of those things, and maybe even more. It could be extremely scary (The Thing on the Fourable Board is often voted by OTR hobbyists as the scariest Radio show of all time), it often offered nail biting suspense, occasionally delivered with a cock-eyed sense of absurdness. Quite often the episodes were rife with tear-jerking pathos. Sometimes the shows bordered on the profound, but always the man who spoke to you created a complex world that drew you into it.

This is not to say that each of 106 broadcasts was a gem. Some weren't. However, taken as a body of work the series was a landmark. The depth of the factual information dispensed to build the antagonist's character was amazing in detail and scope. The talent and knowledge it took to create each of these little universes week after week is mind boggling to contemplate.

The tenor of the series was generally fantasy (or maybe even a genre that might be called "horror"). It's closest modern comparison would probably be Rod Sterling's Twilight Zone. However, to dismiss the series as a simple thrill show is to grossly underrate the series. The goal of the series was, of course, to tell a tale that surprised or even shocked you. However, the objective was accomplished with such a skill of writing and acting and with such a complexity of detail that some of the episodes are classics of radio drama. Among the collectors of OTR, individual shows of Quiet Please are generally considered as treasured acquisitions.

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The People:

The man who wrote and directed all the Quiet Please episodes was Wyllis Cooper who was born January 26, 1899 and died June 22, 1955. Mr. Cooper also was the creator of the long running and very popular radio series Lights Out. Wyllis Cooper turned out each week half hour servings of tour de force writing. The structure of Quiet Please, all first person narrative, demanded that the writing be first class - it all depended on your acceptance and immediate involvement within that stream of consciousness dialogue and Wyllis Cooper delivered week after week. One can only echo the catch-line of "where did he get his ideas"? Each week Mr. Cooper created worlds that were clearly defined with fully developed characters and complex situations with only a few words and a very short time to do it. Although Mr. Cooper worked in radio, movies and television, Quiet Please will probably be his best remembered, or crowning, project with his name immediately associated with the show by the public.

The man who spoke to you each week was Ernest Chappell, born in 1903 and died June 4, 1983. Mr. Chappell was a successful East Coast announcer and program host, however, Quiet Please appears to be his only major acting credit...and what an acting job it was too!!!! Each week Ernest Chappell put on the skin of another denizen of Wyllis Cooper's fertile imagination, and wore it flawlessly. The same professional voice took us into the character's head while he described, or experienced, his encounters with space aliens in out-of-the-way bars, while he asked us in for a meal with his unconventional wife or dealt with a singing caterpillar. Hero, madman, time-traveler or common working class stiff - it may have taken a few moments for you to catch up to whom you were listening to this time, but once you knew, you knew he was truly that person. Support actors were there for not much more than to provide a different voice inside his head. Each week's story was that single character who related the events to you first hand.....in first person as "The man who spoke to you".

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The Music:

Part of the effectiveness of Quiet Please was Wyllis Cooper's choice and use of it's theme music. It set the eerie tone and underscored the reflective, if not startling, finale for each of the episodes. This strange and haunting music was as much a factor in the overall performance as any of the actors. In fact, unlike another much recognized theme from the popular radio show The Shadow (Omphale's Spinning Wheel), the Quiet Please theme itself was played within several of the stories as a plot device and so actually moved beyond it's operative realm to became one of the "personalities" who created the weekly illusion of Quiet Please. The actual melody was an excerpt from the 2nd Movement of Cesar Franck's Symphony In D Minor, composed in 1888

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The Log:

All shows, except as noted, are available for collecting



Nothing Behind The Door 06/08/47
I Have Been Looking For You06/15/47
We Were Here First06/22/47
The Ticket Taker06/29/47
I Remember Tomorrow07/27/47
Bring Me to Life08/10/47
A Mile High and a Mile Deep (Missing)08/17/47
Mirror, Mirror On the Wall (Missing)08/24/47
A Ribbon of Lincoln Green (Missing)08/31/47
Retreat at Dunkerque (Missing)09/03/47
Three Sides to a Story (Missing)09/08/47
How Are You, Pal09/10/47
The Big Box (Missing)09/15/47
Be a Good Dog, Darling (2nd Half Missing)09/22/47
The Low Road (Missing)10/06/47
Not Enough Time10/06/47
Camera Obscura10/13/47
The Girl With the Flaxen Hair (Missing)10/20/47
Don't Tell Me About Halloween10/27/47
Take Me Out To The Graveyard11/03/47
Kill Me Again11/17/47
In Memory of Bernadine11/24/47
Come In Eddie12/01/47
Some People Don't Die12/08/47
Little Fellow12/15/47
Berlin: 1945 (Missing)12/22/47
Rain On New Year's Eve12/31/47
Little Visitor01/05/48
The Room Where Ghosts Live01/12/48
Baker's Dozen01/19/48
Green Light01/26/48
Pathetic Fallacy02/02/48
A Red and White Guidon02/09/48
Whence Came You02/16/48
Wear The Dead Man's Coat02/23/48
Sketch for a Screenplay03/01/48
Never Send To Know03/08/48
The Meeting at Ticonderoga (Missing)03/15/48
A Night To Forget03/22/48
Quiet Please (Missing)03/29/48
I Always Marry Juliet04/05/48
Twelve To Five04/12/48
Thirteen and Eight04/26/48
How Beautiful Upon the Mountain05/03/48
There Are Shadows Here05/10/48
Gem of Purest Ray05/17/48
In the House Where I Was Born05/24/48
Below Fifth Avenue (Missing)05/31/48
100,000 Diameters (Missing)06/07/48
Not Responsible After 30 Years06/14/48
Let The Lilies Consider06/28/48
Wahine Tahiti07/05/48
As Long As I Live07/19/48
The Man Who Stole a Planet07/26/48
It's Later Than You Think08/02/48
The Thing On The Fourable Board08/09/48
Presto, Change-o, I'm Sure08/16/48
3,000 Words08/23/48
Motive (Missing)08/30/48
The Third Man's Story09/06/48
Symphony in D Minor09/13/48
Light the Lamp for Me09/26/48
Meet John Smith, John10/03/48
Beazer's Cellar10/10/48
And Jeannie Dreams Of Me10/17/48
Good Ghost10/24/48
Calling All Souls10/31/48
Adam And The Darkest Day11/07/48
Evening And The Morning11/14/48
One For The Book11/21/48
My Son John11/28/48
Very Unimportant Person12/05/48
Rede Me This Riddle (Missing)12/12/48
The Gothic Tale (Missing)12/19/48
Berlin, 194512/22/48
The Time Of The Big Snow01/02/49
Portrait of a Character01/09/49
Is This Murder? (2nd Half Missing)01/16/49
Summer, Goodbye01/23/49
Northern Lights01/30/49
Tap the Heat, Bogdan02/06/49
Where Do You Get Your Ideas02/20/49
If I Should Wake Before I Die02/27/49
The Man Who Knew Everything03/06/49
Dark Rosaleen/3/13/49
The Smell of High Wines03/20/49
A Time To Be Born, And A Time To Die03/27/49
The Venetian Blind Man (Missing)04/03/49
Dialogue for a Tragedy 04/10/49
Shadow Of The Wings04/17/49
The Veil Of Glencoe04/24/49
Dark Grey Magic05/01/49
The Other Side Of The Stars05/08/49
The Little Morning05/15/49
Oldest Man In The World05/21/49
In the House Where I was Born05/28/49
The Hat, The Bed and John J. Catherine06/11/49
Pavane (The Girl With The Flaxen Hair)06/18/49
Quiet Please06/25/49

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