The Black Museum
The Black Museum was a 1951 radio crime-drama program independently produced by Harry Alan Towers and based on real-life cases from the files of Scotland Yard's Black Museum. Ira Marion was the scriptwriter, and music for the series was composed and conducted by Sidney Torch. Although often mistakenly cited as being produced for the BBC, the series was produced and syndicated commercially by Towers throughout the English-speaking world.
Orson Welles was both host and narrator for stories of horror and mystery, based on Scotland Yard's collection of murder weapons and various ordinary objects once associated with historical true crime cases. The show's opening began:
This is Orson Welles, speaking from London.
(Sound of Big Ben chimes)
The Black Museum... a repository of death. Here in the grim stone structure on the Thames which houses Scotland Yard is a warehouse of homicide, where everyday objects... a woman’s shoe, a tiny white box, a quilted robe... all are touched by murder.
In the United States, the series aired on the Mutual Network between January 1 and December 30, 1952.
Beginning May 7, 1953, it was also broadcast over Radio Luxembourg sponsored by the cleaning products Dreft and Mirro. Since the BBC carried no commercials, Radio Luxembourg aired sponsored programs at night to England.
In the United States, there was a contemporary programme called Whitehall 1212 written and directed by Wyllis Cooper and broadcast by NBC, that was similar in scope to The Black Museum. It was hosted by Chief Superintendent John Davidson, curator of the Black Museum. It used many of the same picked cases as The Black Museum, and it nearly mirrored its broadcast run. The two shows were different in the respect that while Whitehall 1212 told the story of a case entirely from the point of view of the police starting from the crime scene, The Black Museum was more heavily dramatized and played out scenes of the actual murders and included scenes from the criminal's point of view.