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The Mysterious Traveler Classic Old Time Radio Show

The Mysterious Traveler Classic Old Time Radio Show

If your taste in Old Time Radio Shows includes a bit of the darker side then The Mysterious Travler needs to be on your playlist. As its title suggests this anthology series is full of crime noir, with elements of horror and a little science fiction thrown in from time to time for good measure.

The premise was the old chestnut of a mysterious stranger on a train (in this case Maurice Tarplin) who would regale a willing listener with a dark and creepy tale. The stories were always self-contained and renowned for their rather downbeat endings.

The series was written by Robert A. Arthur and David Kogan and in 1953 they were honoured by the Mystery Writers of America with an Edgar Award for Best Radio Drama.

Spin Offs

The show was sufficiently popular to engender a couple of spin-off shows –  The Sealed Book and The Strange Dr. Weird.  Both of these leaned heavily on this series for content comprising mainly abridged or condensed versions of the original MT episodes.

There was also a short-lived prose magazine series which ran for five issues between late 1951 and 1952. Loads would have been printed but few copies have survived the years. They are very collectable today as the cover paintings were by acclaimed pulp artist Norman Saunders.

Mysterious Travler Magazine Issue 5

The final issue from 1952

The final spinoff was a comic series published by Charlton Publications. The first issue saw press in 1956 and ran for 15 issues.  Thirteen of these were published in the 1950s and it was briefly revived in 1985 for the remaining ones. Again these are highly sought after as some featured artwork by acclaimed comic artists such as Dick Giordano & Steve Ditko.

Mysterious Travler Issue 1

Issue One from August 1956

370 Episodes

The series ran for nine years and around 370 episodes were produced. Sadly though as has happened to many a classic old-time radio show most episodes have been lost. Still, the shows are self-contained so remain worth seeking out.

The first show aired on 5th December 1943 with the aptly cheerless title “The Hands That Killed” which is sadly missing from the archives. This introduced the listener to classic the opening line that would characterise the series…

“This is the Mysterious Traveler, inviting you to join me on another journey into the strange and terrifying. I hope you will enjoy the trip, that it will thrill you a little and chill you a little. So settle back, get a good grip on your nerves and be comfortable—if you can!”

It was also epitomised by the haunting sound of a distant steam locomotive, sound effects which were no doubt viewed as impressive back then.

The Mysterious Travler boarded the train for the last time on the 16th of September 1952. The final show “The Treasure of Superstition Mountain” is also missing but we live in hope that a recording turns up someday.


Shows available

This is a work-in-progress list of shows that are reputed to still be available. We have not heard them all but are assured the ones below exist.


44-01-30 (009) House of Death

44-02-27 (013) The Good Die Young

44-03-26 (017) Stranger In The House

44-04-02 (018) Out of the Past

44-04-09 (019) Beware of Tomorrow

44-04-16 (020) The Accusing Corpse

44-07-02 (031) The Queen Of The Cats

44-09-24 (042) Death Laughs Last

44-10-07 (043) The Man Insects Hated


45-01-06 (055) They Who Sleep

45-03-10 (064) Case of Charles Foster

45-03-24 (066) Death Comes To Adolf Hitler

45-03-31 (067) Murder Goes Free.


46-08-25 (074) Death Is The Visitor

46-09-01 (075) No One On The Line

46-09-08 (076) Symphony Of Death

46-12-29 (084) If You Believe


47-01-05 (085) New Years Nightmare

47-01-12 (086) No Grave Can Hold Me

47-03-09 (094) The Woman In Black

47-04-13 (099) Dark Destiny ?

47-05-25 (105) Mind Over Murder

47-06-15 (108) Death Is The Judge

47-07-06 (111) The Locomotive Ghost

47-07-27 (114) The Man The Insects Hated

47-09-07 (119) Vacation From Life

47-10-21 (125) Death Is My Caller


48-01-20 (137) The Man In The Black Derby

48-02-24 (142) The Man Who Died Twice

48-03-16 (145) They Struck It Rich

23/03/48 (146) Seven Years To Wait

48-04-20 (150) Murder In Jazz Time

48-05-04 (152) They Who Sleep

48-05-11 (153) I Won’t Die Alone

48-05-18 (154) Death Writes A Letter

48-06-08 (157) Murder Is My Business

48-06-15 (158) Queen Of The Cats

48-06-22 (159) Zero Hour

48-07-06 (161) The Man Who Vanished

48-08-10 (166) The Visiting Corpse

48-09-21 (171) Death Has A Thousand Faces

48-10-05 (173) Death Rings Down The Curtain


49-01-06 (185) Devil And The Deep Blue Sea

49-01-13 (186) The Accusing Corpse

49-03-29 (197) Death Has A Cold Breath

49-04-19 (200) Out Of The Past

49-05-24 (205) Behind The Locked Door

49-06-14 (208) No Grave Can Hold Me

49-08-02 (215) Planet Zevius

49-10-11 (225) The Last Survivor

49-10-25 (227) No One On The Line


50-01-10 (237) Survival Of The Fittest

50-02-07 (241) The Man Who Tried To Save Lincoln

50-03-14 (246) The Big Brain

50-04-04 (249) The Man From Singapore

50-04-11 (250) Operation Tomorrow

50-04-18 (251) Death At Fifty Fathoms

50-04-25 (252) I Died Last Night

50-05-02 (253) S O S

50-05-23 (256) The Lady In Red

50-07-18 (264) Killer Come Home

50-60-06 (258) Killer At Large


51-03-13 (297) Knives Of Death

51-08-28 (319) Fire In The Sky

51-10-09 (325) The Man That Knew Everything

51-11-06 (329) Behind The Locked Door

51-11-13 (330) Speak of the Devil

51-11-20 (331) The Most Famous Man In The World

51-12-11 (334) Hideout

51-12-25 (336) Christmas Story


52-01-08 (338) It’s Only Money

52-01-15 (339) Key Witness

52-01-22 (340) Change Of Address

52-01-29 (341) Stranger In The House

52-02-19 (344) Strange New World

52-06-03 (359) The Haunted Trailer

52-06-17 (360) The Green Plague


We hope you enjoyed quick overview and that it tempts you into giving an episode or two a listen. Before you go check out our other OTR show reviews.




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