Archive for the ‘Episodes’ Category

Nightfall #8: “How Did You Get My Name?”

John Stocker

This is the second outing by the writing team of Don Dickinson and Allan Guttman ("Welcome to Homerville"). It's also the first episode in which John Stocker (photo left) plays a lead role, of which there will be several more. Stocker appeared in more episodes of NIGHTFALL (22) than any other actor and was a favorite of producer Bill Howell throughout several different series.

This episode is one of several without a supernatural or horror element. Instead, it's a tale of psychological suspense. A few decades earlier, and this could easily have been a film by Alfred Hitchcock.


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How Did You Get My Name?

Air Date: 8/22/1980
Writer(s): Don Dickinson & Allan Guttman
Production Location: CBC Toronto
Producer: Bill Howell
Featuring: Gordon Thomson, John Stocker, August Schellenberg, David Hughes, Sandy Webster, Robin McCulloch, Don Mason
Commercial Synopsis: Jim Brent is whiling away his time in a mental hospital in Europe until his old chum, Larry, tracks him down and brings him home to Canada. But when Jim finds out just what Larry has been up to in his absence, he may wish he was back in a straight-jacket.  (TNP)


If you like what you hear, please contact the CBC Shop and encourage them to release the series!

Nightfall #7: “Future Fear”

"Future Fear" cassette design from Durkin-Hayes Paperback Audio

This third outing by John Graham is the first of a couple NIGHTFALL episodes with a theme of devices that seem to receive signals from the future and the consequences experienced by those who decide to misuse them.

This is also the earliest episode in the series, chronologically, to be featured as a cover title in the Durkin-Hayes Paperback Audio release of NIGHTFALL in the 1990s (image left). These tapes are no longer made, but you can often find them for sale cheaply on eBay.

The episode was also one of four featured on the only CD set to be officially released by the CBC, Nightfall, Volume 1. CBC no longer sells this set, but it can be found occasionally for sale on-line.

"Future Fear" is an episodes you see on a lot of people's list of favorites because it's one of those tales that defines NIGHTFALL's style.


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Future Fear

Air Date: 8/15/1980
Writer(s): John Graham
Production Location: CBC Toronto
Producer: Bill Howell
Featuring: Frank Perry, Aileen Seaton, Neil Munro, Jeannie Elias, John Stocker, Elva Mai Hoover
Commercial Synopsis: A couple sees limitless opportunities for wealth and happiness when their television begins to show them the future. Their anticipation shortly turns to sickening horror and a terrible resolve when the visions of the future turn hideous and bloody.  (DHPA)


If you like what you hear, please contact the CBC Shop and encourage them to release the series!

Nightfall #6: “Late Special”

Chris Wiggins

The only NIGHTFALL script by Clint Bomphray, this is the second episode to feature Chris Wiggins (photo left), prominent voice and TV actor. It's an odd role for him, really. It's not often he was cast as a dark character. Certainly not one as devious and cruel as in this play.

"Late Special" is the first of several episodes involving a car crash as a plot device. It's also the first of a number to take place in the midst of a blizzard. Canada being where it is, this shouldn't be much of a surprise. :-)

It's been awhile since I've listened to this episode, so I don't have a whole lot to say about it just yet, aside from it being as creepy as hell with a pretty terrifying ending. I also have an e-mail interview I did with Mr. Bomphray a while back that I need to dig up and transcribe.


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Late Special

Air Date: 8/8/1980
Writer(s): Clint Bomphray
Production Location: CBC Toronto
Producer: Bill Howell
Featuring: Terry Tweed, Chris Wiggins, David Hughes, Trisha Allen, Judy Sinclair, Richard Donat, Frank Perry
Commercial Synopsis: A car crash during a late season blizzard strands a young woman in an abandoned train station, where she meets a mysterious stranger who obliges her to make a singularly existential choice.  (NPR)


If you like what you hear, please contact the CBC Shop and encourage them to release the series!

Nightfall #5: “The Telltale Heart”

Richard MonetteThe second adaptation of the series, this one also by Len Peterson (from his 1965 script for CBC Mystery Theatre), is one of the all-time classic horror stories: Poe's Telltale Heart, featuring actor Richard Monette (photo left).

The original story is quite short and gives no real details. No names. No locations. Just the thoughts of the killer as he is driven to his crime by the Old Man's blue eye, and his attempt to cover it up.

Peterson takes those few details and weaves an expanded story that Poe himself might have written. Set circa the 1840s (in the last years of Poe's lifetime), we are told the story of how Old Man Weatherby, a widowed New England farmer, hires the wandering Alfred Bane to help him around the stead. Bane and the Old Man get along well and Bane certainly comes to love him, though Weatherby's social beliefs prevent him from doing more that treating him as a greatly-appreciated hired hand. But this isn't what comes to bother Bane. No, what comes between them is the Old Man's eye. A wandering orb with a blue film over it. Bane becomes obsessed with this eye and, believing that it it a sign of evil that has possessed his employer, decides to kill him in order to save him from it's evil influence.

From there, the we follow Poe's original story of murdering the Old Man by suffocating him with his mattress, then dismembering the body and placing the pieces between the slats under the floorboards. Only when confronted by two local police officers who inform Bane that Weatherby's eye was like it was because he had lost sight in it several years earlier, does the guilt of his crime come to haunt him in the form of hearing the Old Man's beating heart coming from under the floor, driving him so mad that he freely confesses his crime to the lawmen.

I had never read the original story and this was my first exposure to it in any form other than the very basic premise. So when I actually read the story after hearing this episode, I was surprised at how little detail there was. Because of that, Peterson's adaptation feels more like the definitive story because its setting and characters just seem to me like elements Poe would have used.

(This was the third Len Peterson NIGHTFALL script my radio drama troupe, The Post-Meridian Radio Players, performed live.)


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The Telltale Heart

Air Date: 8/01/1980
Writer(s): Len Peterson (based on the short story by Edgar Allen Poe)
Production Location: CBC Toronto
Producer: Bill Howell
Featuring: Richard Monette, Frank Perry, Sean Mulcahy, Sandy Webster
Commercial Synopsis: There's more than poetic justice when a New England farmer mistakenly hires a psychotic killer out of the goodness of his heart.  (NPR)


If you like what you hear, please contact the CBC Shop and encourage them to release the series!

Nightfall #4: “Hands Off”

Colin FoxThe second script by John Graham, "Hands Off" is an episode of many firsts when it comes to establishing some of NIGHTFALL's trademarks. It's the first episode to include a dismemberment sequence. It's the first episode to feature a murder. It's the first appearance of actor Colin Fox (photo left). And it's the first episode about the risks of science.

This is also an episode with a lot of violence in it. More than the first three episodes combined. There is one off-screen murder, one on-screen murder, an attack by a pack of dogs, and the dismemberment. But it's all relevant to the story, believe it or not. It's very rare for NIGHTFALL to be gruesome just for the sake of being gruesome, though I know some radio fans who would disagree with that.


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Hands Off

Air Date: 7/25/1980
Writer(s): John Graham
Production Location: CBC Toronto
Producer: Bill Howell
Featuring: Colin Fox, Jennifer Browne, Marian Waldman, Murray Westgate, Ruth Springford, Ken James
Commercial Synopsis: A scientist experimenting with hostility in animals accidentally spills some of the chemical he's using on his hand. Immediately, his wife flies into a rage and try as he might, he cannot wash the chemical off. After a series of hostile reactions, he's forced to take desperate measures.  (NPR)


If you like what you hear, please contact the CBC Shop and encourage them to release the series!

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