Friday, October 28, 2016
COUNTDOWN TO HALLOWEEN BLOGSPOT #28: THE LEGENDARY AFN RADIO FRANKENSTEIN CASTLE PRANK!
We geek out over Halloween on Shuffle Function, but that's probably pretty obvious by now. I mean, we do these daily Halloween blogposts, but we also start playing spooky music immediately on October 1st. There are songs that listeners regularly request, like Werewolf Barmitzvah, Leslie Hall's Zombie Killer, and Jacob The Bard's I Will Survive The Zombie Apocalypse that are in permanent rotation throughout the month. We even play Judson Fountain radio "drammers" every day as a countdown to Halloween, then on Halloween we play Lux Interior's Purple Knif show, because The Cramps are essentially the houseband of Halloween.
We have many traditions.
One tradition we have that have a very dedicated following is when we play a very intense and terrifying recording of a prank that was pulled live on the air in 1952 by the Armed Forces Radio Network. Last week I wrote about how the terror we see in The Blair Witch Project is real, and that's what people heard during the broadcast of this prank. You hear the very real panic in the voice of an unsuspecting reporter inserted into a terrifying situation.
On Halloween Night in 1952, Armed Forces radio decided to broadcast live from the actual Frankenstein Castle that is credited with inspiring Mary Shelley to write the classic novel Frankenstein. AFN sent reporter Carl Nelson into the decaying castle to do a special Halloween broadcast. Nelson was the new guy, so the crew decided to play a prank on him. There was no light in the castle, other than the moonlight streaming in when the clouds broke, and Nelson's flashlight. The environment was basically designed to let the imagination run wild.
Nelson entered a room in the castle and begins describing what he sees, when there's suddenly a very loud bang. He is started, and you can hear in his voice just how unnerved he is by the scare. As he continues talking his panic doesn't waver, and Nelson starts explaining how crazy it is for him to be so upset because he doesn't believe in monsters or the supernatural. It becomes clear, however, that he's doing more than just talking to the audience. Nelson is actually trying to psych himself up so he'll believe that there's nothing unusual going on.
Nelson then gasps. After a pause he registers disbelief, because he believes he just saw a statue of Frankenstein's Monster move. Then he sees it move again. It's at this point that his fear is out of control, and he realizes he needs to leave immediately. He runs to the door but soon finds it locked. We hear his desperate pleadings for help in the distance, as he dropped his microphone while making a hasty retreat.
The entire recording is riveting. Honestly, he's so terrified that one has to believe that it was lucky he didn't suffer a heart attack. It's because of the intensity of the recording that we get requests for it every year, and we just played it on the last day of Halloween requests this morning.
Don't forget that on Monday (HALLOWEEN!) we're playing Lux Interior's Purple Knif show, as well as tons of music from The Cramps, PLUS you can come up to the station and trick-or-treat! Costumes are optional, and you're never too old to trick-or-treat at KMSU. You can also make a pledge, if you like!
It's the third day of the Fall Pledge Drive and we thank everyone that has pledged! The drive ends on Friday, November 4th, and we're staring down a $30,000 goal. As of this post we're still about $3000+ away from being 1/3 of the way there, and that's VERY intimidating. Please consider taking a moment to support truly independent community radio like KMSU. Give us a call at 507-389-5678 or 1-800-456-7810, or visit kmsu.org and donate online. Not only do your pledges help keep KMSU on the air, but they also serve as a vote of confidence that shows Minnesota State University, Mankato that we're a valued part of the community. CALL NOW!