Sometime in the mid-fifties, Richard Sheffield received a radio station-style transcription disc from Bela Lugosi. It was a 1940s recording of Lugosi reciting Poe's short story "The Tell-Tale Heart." Perhaps it was recorded during the 1946-47 period when one of Lugosi's agents was desperately trying to get him radio work, or perhaps it was recorded in conjunction with a roadshow tour of Lugosi doing the same story on stage.
At any rate, during the 1960s, Richard gave the disc to Forrest J. Ackerman, editor of Famous Monsters of Filmland magazine.
Around 1986, Sheffield began telling me about the disc, describing it as an important example of Lugosi at work. Unfortunately, Ackerman didn't recall the disc and it wasn't to be found at his home.
Recently, longtime film buff and Ackerman friend Lee Harris found it tucked inside a record sleeve for a different album at Ackerman's house. Harris quickly made a duplication for Mike Copner and Coco Kiyonaga of Cult Movies magazine, who kindly passed along a tape to us.
And so, after years of being buried and unheard, here is that "lost" recording of "The Tell-Tale Heart."
Postscript: Dr. Perry Moree reports that the recording is likely from the radio show "With Book and Pipe," which aired in July of 1945. The running times are identical, leaving little room for doubt. Our thanks to him for the clarification!
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Running time: approximately thirteen minutes
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