One of the true pioneers of old-time radio has closed the creaking door of the Inner Sanctum for the final time—Himan Brown, the creator-director-producer of that legendary radio horror series passed away Friday at the age of 99, just a little more than a month shy of his centennial birthday. Born in 1910 and spending his childhood in the Brownsville section of Brooklyn, the acting bug took hold of him while attending Brooklyn College and Brooklyn Law School (author Irwin Shaw was one of his classmates)—and by the time he graduated in 1931 he was already producing live theater, Catskills revues and radio—at that time still in its “infancy.”
Radio would bring him his greatest prominence, however. His first radio program appeared in 1927, a series entitled Hi Brow
Brown’s most famous radio creation premiered over the Blue Network on
In 1974, Brown attempted to reintroduce radio drama to a wistfully nostalgic audience with The CBS Radio Mystery Theater—an ambitious program (hosted by E.G. Marshall) that, sadly, didn’t bring back radio but did manage to win a Peabody Award the following year and stay on the Columbia Broadcasting System until 1982. (A second attempt, The General Mills Radio Adventure Theater, went on the air in 1977 but lasted only a season.) For his tireless efforts in promoting and shaping both old- and new-time-radio, he was inducted into the Museum of Broadcast Communications’ Radio Hall of Fame in 1995 (his signature shows, Sanctum and Mystery Theater were also inducted) and made an American Broadcast Pioneer in 1997.
R.I.P, Himan. Good niiii-iiight…pleasant…dreeeeeaaaaammmmmssssss…