The Black Museum 1952 detective radio show

The Black Museum 1952 detective story

The Black Museum (1952, United Kingdom)

The Black Museum radio show had unusual history - originally produced in London, broadcasted by Radio Luxembourg, but it gained most fame in United States, perhaps due to "exotic" nature of the cases, different from you could hear in the American shows of the genre. The show was concentrating on interesting cases from famous Scotland Yard’s Black Museum, which is a collection of criminal memorabilia gathered by British Police throughout the years. The idea itself wasn’t that original, there already was a radio show based on cases from Black Museum in 1952, called Whitehall 1212 and produces in United States.

There were significant differences though - while The Black Museum had Orson Welles as host, Whitehall 1212 had British policeman, Chief Superintendent John Davidson, who actually was curator of the Black Museum. Another big difference was the storytelling - Whitehall 1212 was portraying all events from police perspective, while The Black Museum was offering more narrative approach. In The Black Museum not only the crime itself was depicted, but some of the stories also gave look into mind of the killer and starting point of each story was an item from museum, gaslighting what is coming.

Overall 51 episodes of The Black Museum were produced, most of which audience was later able to link to true crimes from files of the Metropolitan Police, although origins of some of them are still unknown. The atmosphere, good performances and well written scripts were strong points of the show.

Do you have what it takes to solve a case like this?

Cast of The Black Museum

Orson Welles films

as host / narrator

Trivia about The Black Museum

BBC broadcast

Since The Black Museum was produced by commercial Radio Luxembourg, which was considered to be blatant workaround to break BBC monopoly for broadcasting in United Kingdom (given them by government), shows like from Radio Luxembourg were not broadcasted by the BBC during their original run. The Black Museum was first broadcasted by BBC in 1991, which 40 years from the premiere.

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