A daily note on some event in the history of mystery fiction.
Wednesday, December 9, 2015
12/9/1938 Rebecca takes to the airwaves
December 9, 1938. The premiere of The Campbell Playhouse was the first commercially-sponsored performance by Orson Welles' Mercury Theatre after their infamous dramatization of War of the Worlds, and the first media presentation of Daphne du Maurier's Rebecca, which was on the bestseller list at the time. Welles played Mr. DeWinter, Margaret Sullavan played his nameless second wife, and Mildred Natwick was a sufficiently ghastly Mrs. Danvers.
The music was by Bernard Herrmann, who later created the scored for many Alfred Hitchcock films, not including Rebecca.
Tom Nolan, writing in Mystery Scene, gave this production pride of place in his list of ten great old-time radio thrillers. You can listen to it here.