HOLLYWOOD RADIO THEATRE
("The Zero Hour") compiled by Dick Judge First show: Sep 3 1973
Number of shows: 130
Last show: Jul 26 1974 Host: Rod Serling This ambitious series of shows,
said to be a year in the making, premiered on Sep 3, 1973. The Mutual
Broadcasting System offered the shows to their member stations on a syndicated
basis, allowing the programs to be aired during a time period that was
convenient, and at a date that was suitable.
For this reason in some areas the series did not begin until late Fall
or early Winter of 1973. However, this was not true for the second 13
week of programs. All stations began airing the show on Apr 29, 1974
with the final
program broadcasted on Jul 26, 1974. At the beginning the shows ran
for 30 minutes but on the 14th week they ran 25 minutes a day until the
end. Zero Hour was hosted by the famed Rod Serling who offered comments
and after each show. He wrote some of the scripts but for the most part
they were done by a group of young Hollywood writers. Since the CBS Radio
Mystery Theater began its run on Jan 6, 1974, some comparison should
made between the two offerings. Zero Hour used Hollywood film stars
who appeared for a week at a time; the stories were exciting and action-packed.
The prime mover behind the Zero Hour was Mutual. The CBS Radio Mystery
Theater, on the hand, had the capable E. G. Marshall, as host. The casts
consisted of experienced old-time radio actors and actresses, with an
occasional TV or film star. The writing of the Mystery Theater more
closely resembled the Suspense and Inner Sanctum plots of old; the script
writers being people who wrote in the style of old-time radio. In both
most of the stories were original in nature but the Mystery Theater
did adapt suspense and mystery tales from Edgar Allen Poe, Mark Twain,
Sir Conan Doyle and other well known authors.
There were two distinct 13 week series. During the first of these there
was one story line that was broadcast in 5 daily episodes featuring the
same cast of characters. The second 13 week series featured one star
in five different stories and a different supporting cast each night.