The Black Museum radio show (1952, United Kingdom)

Episode time

30 minutes



The Black Museum 1952 reviewThe Black Museum radio show

The Black Museum was unusual radio show - originally produced in London, broadcasted by Radio Luxembourg, but gained most fame in United States. The idea behind it was rather simple - they took most interesting cases from famous Scotland Yard’s Black Museum, which is a collection of criminal memorabilia gathered by British Police throughout the years. In fact the idea wasn’t even that original, and I don’t mean for true crime radio show, but actually there already was show based on cases from Black Museum 1952. It was US produced Whitehall 1212 program, which sort-of shared the same cases with The Black Museum.

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 showing all events from police perspective, while The Black Museum was offering more narrative approach. Not only the crime itself was depicted, but some of the stories also gave look into mind of the killer. Also there was one difference - in The Black Museum each story began with one of the exhibits in museum, like a glove, a scarf or a piece of paper, and that item narrator was using as a starting point.

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.

The Black Museum episodes

The 22 Caliber Pistol
A .32 Caliber Bullet
The Bath Tub
The Gladstone Bag
The Bloodstained Brick Bat
The Brass Button
A Can Of Weedkiller
The Canvas Bag
The Car Tire
The Champagne Glass

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Cast of The Black Museum

Orson Welles radio shows

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.

classic radio shows

old time radio shows