After three years in the comic books, The Black Hood debuted on network radio on July 7, 1943, on the Mutual Broadcasting System (MBS.) It was a sustaining (non-sponsored) series and aired its 15-minute episodes five times weekly until it went off the air in January 1944, having failed to pick up an advertiser. Two then unknown, but competent, radio performers played the leads: Scott Douglas portrayed The Black Hood and Kip Burland, while Marjorie Cramer was the voice of his girlfriend, Barbara Sutton, usually called “Babs.” Radio standards of content were more stringent than the pulps and the comic books, so radio’s Black Hood had less violence in his stories, and bondage and torture were eliminated. A supporting character in this radio series, Sergeant McGinty of the local police, was the third wheel to the crime-solving accomplishments of Kip and Babs. The theme music for this radio program was a curious choice: the “water bucket” segment from “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice” composed by Paul Dukas in 1897, but certainly recognizable to juvenile listeners as Mickey Mouse’s scene in Disney’s 1940 film “Fantasia.” While approximately 120 episodes of The Black Hood were aired on Mutual, only one audio copy has survived, the initial episode which was recorded as the audition disk.
[ Source: Jack French, author of “PRIVATE EYELASHES: Radio’s Lady Detectives”, published by Bear Manor Media, which contains more information on this radio series (and 43 others.) For information, go to publisher’s website at www.bearmanormedia.com]
A transcript of “Black Hood: Emerald Voodoo Ring” is listed below
Both Audio and Transcript provided by Bradley Cobb
The 15-minute Black Hood radio program aired weekdays from July 5th, 1943 through January 14th, 1944 on the Mutual Network. Scott Douglas starred as the Black Hood, and Marjorie Cramer played Barbara Sutton, a reporter, and confidant of Kip Burland.
Scott Douglas, coincidentally, also played the part of the comic book character Batman in an audition show, The Case of the Talkative Seal, which was recorded in 1943. The show presented a somewhat different version of the Batman character and did not make it to the airwaves.
From the internal evidence The Black Hood was on from 5:15 p.m. to 5:30 five days a week — Monday through Friday, and most likely a sustainer, as there are no breaks for commercials. I’ve been able to find out very little else about this rare series.
The theme music is Paul Dukas’ ‘The Sorcerer’s Apprentice’ by the way if you haven’t heard the episode…
The Black Hood
1943 15 minute Mutual Network Radio Program. Author Unknown.
Based on the MLJ Comic and Magazine Character.
Kip Burland/The Black Hood
SFX: GONG Hit
ANNCR: The Black Hood!
SFX: GONG Hit.
ANNCR: Criminals beware… The Black Hood is everywhere!
SFX: Weird TONE UP and UNDER
HOOD: (filter) I, the Black Hood do solemnly swear that neither threat, nor bribe, nor bullet, nor death itself — will keep me from fulfilling my vow: To erase crime from the face of the earth!
SFX: Tone UP AND OUT
SFX: GONG HIT
MUSIC: The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, by Paul Dukas. UP AND FADE OUT UNDER ANNCR.
ANNCR: The Black Hood, who is really patrolman Kip Burland, a fact known only to newspaperwoman Barbara Sutton, has just been talking to Barbara on the phone. They were discussing the old Miracle Man and his strange housekeeper Womba. Sergeant McGinty, Patrolman Burland’s superior had thought their visit to the Voodoo doctor merely routine. But Kip Burland and Barbara Sutton were fascinated by the black magic of the Old Miracle Man. In fact, the old man had given Barbara an odd emerald ring in a twined serpent setting. Womba, the old housekeeper had objected to the gift. We find the telephone conversation between Burland and Barbara Sutton has been interrupted by a stranger at Barbara’s door — Burland is holding the line.
BARBARA: (Screams) What are you doing here with a gun? You can’t come in!
GUNMAN: Oh, I can’t –eh? Well, I’m coming in, and no one’s going to stop me, either! Not till I get what I came for.
KIP: (filter) Barbara, are you alright?
GUNMAN: There’s no one around. I checked and made sure the doorman was out…
KIP: (filter) Barbara!
GUNMAN: I came in and walked up the stairs…
KIP: Well, I’ve heard enough of that! I’d better get over to Barbara’s right away… (deeper) It’s time for THE BLACK HOOD to go to work!
SFX: GONG Wait until the last reverberation has faded out, then:
BARBARA: I’ve told you time and time again — that’s all the money I have in the apartment. You’ve got all the silver and linen — what more do you want?
GUNMAN: Now I’ll have that emerald ring on your finger.
BARBARA: This ring? Well… it’s not worth very much…
GUNMAN: That’s all right, I’ll take it anyhow.
BARBARA: (determined) It’s on my finger, and that’s where it’s going to stay!
GUNMAN: I wouldn’t want to have to shoot it off.
BARBARA: Aren’t you satisfied? You’ve got everything of value in the place. I’m going to keep this ring!
GUNMAN: Now look here — I’ve tried to be nice with ya! It looks like I’m going to have to take it by force!
BARBARA: Why you…Oh — Stop!
SFX: Sound of a scuffle, with sudden pounding on the door.
HOOD: That’ll be enough in there –open this door!
GUNMAN: Somebody to help ya, eh? Well, I’ll get that ring if I have to kill the both of ya!
SFX: DOOR KICKED OPEN, followed by SHOT. Hard FOOTSTEPS, GLASS BREAKS, followed by another SHOT and METAL FOOTSTEPS on the fire escape.
BARBARA: There he goes Kip, out the window, and down the fire escape!
HOOD: He didn’t hit you with one of those stray shots, Babs — did he?
BARBARA: No, I’m all alright… well, except for my finger. He almost twisted it off trying to get this ring!
HOOD: You poor kid! Well, he certainly made a fast exit.
BARBARA: I’ll say he did!
HOOD: Look, he left his loot behind. Did you get a good look at him?
BARBARA: Yes, and I’m glad I asked you to hold the line. I’d better hang up the phone now.
SFX: PHONE REPLACED.
BARBARA: He had a mask over his face, and he wore a dark blue suit. And he had a cap on, too.
HOOD: Had is right. Here’s his hat.
BARBARA: What an experience. I’m glad he left behind all my money, silver and linen, anyway.
HOOD: Babs, I have a hunch that he never really wanted all that stuff to begin with.
BARBARA: What makes you say that?
HOOD: Because here’s the roll of film, too. It’s all money, isn’t it? Now any good, self-respecting robber puts money in his pocket, no matter how quick a getaway he has to make. He’d certainly take something with him. This visitor of yours was after something else, then. (pause) Here, let me take a look at that ring.
BARBARA: Here it is. That’s what I get for accepting presents from strangers. If the old Miracle Man hadn’t given me this it all might not have happened.
HOOD: Yes. You’ve got something there, Barbara. This man was after the ring. Mind if I take it with me? I’ll return it later.
BARBARA: You’re certainly welcome to it. If it means I’m going to have prowlers breaking into the apartment, I’d just as well return it to the Miracle Man.
HOOD: Oh, no — that’s one thing we’re not going to do!
BARBARA: Well, why not?
HOOD: Someone seems to be too anxious to get it back!
MCGINTY: Well, you asked for it, Miss Sutton. There’s no one dragged you into the newspaper business, did they?
BARBARA: (laughs) You sound just like my father! I’m not complaining, Sergeant — but it is disconcerting to have someone break into your apartment and practically scare the wits out of you.
MCGINTY: Oh, yeah? You don’t scare too easy. So he didn’t take anything, did he?
BARBARA: Oh, luckily the… I mean, luckily Kip came just in time — you see I was talking to him on the phone when the door buzzer rang.
MCGINTY: Ah, Kip’s a good boy. I guess you know that.
SFX: DOOR SHUT
KIP: I hope she knows I’m a good boy! Good afternoon, Sergeant.
MCGINTY: Hello, Kip!
BARBARA: Hello, Kip!
KIP: Hi, Babs!
MCGINTY: Say, it’s too bad you didn’t get that sneak thief this afternoon.
KIP: Oh, I wouldn’t call him that, Sergeant.
MCGINTY: Why not? Now listen, I’ve had twenty-five years of dealing with men just like that. What I’d have done is to let him get away with something — then the rest is easy. You just check up on all the fences in town, trail your man that way, and before you know it, your crook is in jail.
KIP: Well Sergeant, I have an idea that this man was after something else when he broke into Barbara’s apartment, and I’ll tell you why. Now listen…
WOMBA: Tonight then, we make magic again?
OLD MAN: Yes! Tonight at midnight, we have a voodoo to perform! This time it is to be a young man.
WOMBA: Last night, old man die from voodoo. Will be buried tomorrow.
OLD MAN: He deserved to die. He was cruel — he beat his wife and children! She came to me in tears and begged for help.
WOMBA: (sing-song) Womba knows… Womba see.
OLD MAN: Tonight we work our black magic on a younger man, he is a thief, the greatest of thieves! He has stolen from his father.
WOMBA: Voodoo will be hard. Young man heretic — and Womba’s magic ring gone.
OLD MAN: Womba, the voodoo will work, it always does. And forget about the old emerald ring!
MCGINTY: Dagnabit, Kip — maybe there is something to what you say. I’ll tell you what: tonight at midnight I’ll go down there meself to this “Miracle Man’s” place.
KIP: You want me to go with you?
MCGINTY: No, not tonight. They know you, but they’ve never met me. You know the old saying; a new broom sweeps clean!
BARBARA: Well, what are you going to do, Sergeant — arrest them?
MCGINTY: No! I haven’t got any evidence to arrest them on. For that matter, what charge do we have against them? But if as Kip here says, that old ring came from the Miracle Man’s shop, and this gunman seems to be especially interested in it — then maybe — maybe…
BARBARA: You mean… maybe the old woman Womba knows something about it?
MCGINTY: Now that could be, Miss Sutton! All right, I’m going down there tonight at about eleven-thirty. And in plain clothes, too…
SFX: CAR MOTOR UP AND FADE UNDER
BARBARA: I feel important to be taken to my office in a police car.
KIP: Quite a thrill, huh?
BARBARA: If you want to pick me up later Kip, I have only about an hour’s work to do. A little story about the triplets born on their mother’s birthday up at the Northville Hospital this morning.
KIP: Oh, so they’ve got you on that vital statistics stuff now.
BARBARA: Well if you remember yesterday at the police station, you were asking about the list of people born, married, dead. Well, that gave me the idea. I suggested it to Mr. Worthington, and there you are — another by-line feature!
KIP: Babs, you may have a really startling story to write soon — on almost the same subject.
BARBARA: I don’t follow you.
KIP: It all depends on tomorrow morning’s vital statistics list.
BARBARA: I wish you’d stop talking in riddles. Let me in on it — I’m dying of curiosity.
KIP: So am I. Here, let’s pull in here for a minute, under these trees. I’ve got something to tell you.
SFX: CAR BRAKES, SLOWS DOWN, STOPS.
KIP: Right about here should be all right, I think. Nice and romantic, huh?
BARBARA: Oh, don’t tell me that the great Burland is suddenly going romantic!
KIP: (laughs) No Babs, it’s strictly business. Now last night, at a little past midnight. The Miracle Man and Womba claimed that their magic or voodoo killed a man.
BARBARA: Oh, Kip are we going to go through all that again?
KIP: Well, it’s been bothering me. And now that this ring has popped up, and this little souvenir around…
BARBARA: Why that’s the cap the gunman left in my apartment this afternoon, isn’t it? I’d forgotten all about it.
KIP: I didn’t. McGinty and I checked it over and there’s no way of finding out who it belongs to. Well, get to the cap in just a minute. Now last night, they claimed they bumped off a man…
BARBARA: Mm-hmm — we’ve been all through that.
KIP: Yet there’s been no report of a violent death. And according to the vital statistics list the only death that occurred around midnight was marked acute indigestion.
BARBARA: Well, so what?
KIP: Well, I’ve got the name of the man who died. He’s due to be buried tomorrow afternoon. Right after dinner this evening, I’m going around to see his widow. Hey young lady, maybe you’d like to join me.
BARBARA: No thanks Kip, I’ve got a story to write — be glad to meet you after you go.
BARBARA: Hey, just what are you sniffing at that cap for?
KIP: Just wondering about something. Here, take a sniff of this, Barbara.
BARBARA: This all seems rather silly, going around sniffing at old hats.
KIP: Go ahead, Babs — go ahead –sniff it! Do you smell something familiar?
BARBARA: (SNIFFS) Yes… It isn’t exactly perfume… but I know I’ve smelt that scent before.
KIP: Think hard, Barbara! Could it be an incense of some kind?
BARBARA: Kip! You don’t mean that you…
KIP: Yes, I do! That’s the very same heavy incense we noticed at the Miracle Man’s.
BARBARA: I don’t get — oh, no — that’s impossible! Why the Miracle Man has a beard down to here, and he’s old — he must be at least ninety! That thug that broke into my apartment and wore that cap was young — why he couldn’t have been more than thirty-five.
KIP: Yes, you’re right. But there is such a thing as a disguise, you know.
BARBARA: Well then, if it was the old man in disguise, then why would he want to get back a ring that he just willingly presented to me as a gift?
KIP: I’ve thought of that. But there is something else in that place — and someone else, who might want this ring.
BARBARA: You mean Womba?
KIP: She might want it for some reason or other.
BARBARA: You’ve been twisting that ring around in your hand as if you wanted to make a wish or something.
KIP: (laughs) That’s an idea! Hey — suppose you put it on, rub it, and make a wish.
BARBARA: All right, but it doesn’t make sense.
KIP: Go on, put it on.
BARBARA: (laughingly) What’ll I say?
KIP: Just put it on, rub it, and say … Abracadabra!
KIP: You rubbing it?
KIP: Now, Alakazam!
BARBARA: (laughs) Alakazam!
KIP: Make your wish, now. Goop-dip-rap-rap!
BARBARA: I’m wishing. Goop-dip-rap-rap.
KIP: Ha-zam! (laughs)
BARBARA: (laughs, then cuts off) Kip, look! The ring’s opened!
KIP: It what?
BARBARA: Rubbing it somehow caused it to open –look!
KIP: Be careful, Babs! Don’t touch it — just hold your hand steady. There might be a poison spring in that thing!
BARBARA: The stone just swung to the side on a sort of hinge–look!
KIP: Can you beat that? There’s some kind of powder in there! Here let me take that ring — wait, close it first.
BARBARA: Oh, right.
KIP: That’s it. Careful, don’t want to lose that powder.
BARBARA: What are you going to do with it?
KIP: First, I’m going to have that powder analyzed. Next, I’m on my way to visit a recent widow — and last…
KIP: (as the Hood) Tonight, a certain Miss Barbara Sutton will accompany the Black Hood on a secret mission at midnight!
MUSIC: TOM-TOMS UP AND UNDER
MCGINTY: Come on now, woman. I didn’t come down here to play ping-pong. What’s going on downstairs?
WOMBA: Private place of Miracle Man. No one go in!
MCGINTY: Sez you! I get in everywhere — without showing a ticket, too.
WOMBA: Miracle Man no like people no have no appointment.
MCGINTY: Is that so? Well get out of the way, old woman — I’m going down there right now!
WOMBA: Oh? You like the African pottery?
MCGINTY: No, I ain’t interested in no old pots and pans, neither. Put it away. (impatient) Out of my way, you old mummy!
WOMBA: Oh, too bad you no like pottery!
SFX: POTTERY SMASH
SFX: GONG –TOM-TOMS OUT
MUSIC: The Sorcerer’s Apprentice UP AND UNDER
ANNCR: And so Womba insisted that Sergeant McGinty pay some attention to her African pottery — crashing the heavy vase on his head. Down goes the good Sergeant! Womba has made good her claim that no one goes into the private chamber of the Miracle Man without an appointment. Now, what will she do with the unconscious McGinty? And what about the Black Hood? Has he been able to discover anything more about the emerald ring and its strange powder? If Womba intends to harm McGinty, can the Black Hood and Barbara arrive in time to save him? Be sure to listen tomorrow for more thrilling adventures of THE BLACK HOOD! (pause) The Black Hood is a copyright feature of the MLJ Magazine Group and is broadcast over most of these stations Monday through Friday at 5:15 p.m.
MUSIC: UP AND OUT
ANNCR: This is MUTAL.