The Sonic Society

Showcasing the very best in new Audio Drama

Sonic Echo- 0200- Danger!

Jeff Billard, Lothar Tuppan, and Jack Ward look at more old time radio shows beginning season 2 with “Danger” or “A Comedy of Danger” from the Columbia Radio Workshop.


About The Author

Born to Teachers and Amateur Audio Enthusiasts in the small rural community of Belwood, Jack's first love was stories- writing, reading, telling, and singing. He developed his acting skills through High School, University, and through film and community theatre. Jack writes the lion's share of Electric Vicuna's Audio Drama scripts and has his own writing site at He's thrilled to co-host the Sonic Society with his wonderful, talented, friend David Ault!


3 Responses to “Sonic Echo- 0200- Danger!”

  1. Bob says:

    The play was entitled “Danger” when it first aired on the BBC, but when Hughes published it in a book of his plays, he retitled it “A Comedy of Danger” to match the titles of the other plays in the collection (one of them was called “A Comedy of Good and Evil”).

    It wasn’t really the first play commissioned specifically for broadcast on radio. You mentioned “A Rural Line on Education,” but there were others. For example, in 1923, Philadelphia ‘s WDAR aired a play by Clyde A. Criswell, which he copyrighted in May as “Secret Waves.” That’s the earliest copyrighted radio play I know of. American stations were doing “continuity programs”: scripted variety shows with original dramatic content (i.e., simple characters and a thin plot were used to introduce singers, musicians, comedians, et cetera). WLW in Cincinnati was airing original plays by 1923 and held a script writing contest, broadcasting the prize winners by the end of the year. One winner, “The Drum” by Frances D. Singler and later published as a stage play, was scheduled to air on Christmas Eve, a few weeks before “Danger.”

    The real importance of “Danger” was not that it was the first radio play, but that it was viewed as the best of the early radio plays and pointed a way to the future of the art form. European and American stations broadcast it throughout the 1920s. It aired on New York’s WGBS in December 1924, for example. Here’s an excerpt from a November 1924 Theatre Magazine article:

    Paul F. Stacy, who has made a thorough study of radio plays in the interests of Station WEAF, with which he is associated, is certain this new art form will have a phenomenal development in the next ten years, but he considers that as yet it is merely on an interesting experimental basis. In Mr. Stacy’s opinion the best example of a radio drama thus far produced is one called Danger, written by a young English playwright, Richard Hughes, and presented at an English broadcasting station. This “thriller” is concerned with the experiences of several men and a woman trapped in a mine cave-in. Listeners were requested (in an introductory speech) to turn out all lights and sit in darkness. Heard in this way, Danger was a hair-raiser.

  2. Jack says:

    WOW! Thanks so much Bob. I hope you continue to help fill in all our wide gaps in the future. We’re going to look at “Finger of God” this Thursday!

  3. Lothar Tuppan says:

    Indeed! Thanks for the additional info Bob!

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