Quiet Please: The Thing on the Fourble Board

This is an awesome story from one of the better old time radio shows. The show was called Quiet Please and all of the episodes were written and directed by Wyllis Cooper. While there are a few turkeys in the mix, for the most part, Quiet Please is a quality production.

From the slow hypnotic introduction of each episode to the many fantastic stories, once you start listening to an episode of Quiet Please, you probably won’t stop (or do anything else, for that matter) until that episode has come to the end.

Earnest Chappell was the lead actor, and performed the starring role on each episode. He’s a little goofy at times, but I like him as preforms very well. In this episode, you’ll hear the darker side of his nature.

A picture of Wyllis Cooper and Ernest Chappell
I found this image at http://jimwoodring.blogspot.com/

I won’t ruin the story for you. Take a listen to it now, and then meet me on the other side.

You can download it here: Quiet-Please__Thing-on-the-Fourble-BoardThe__August-9-1948.mp3 (23 MB)

This episode is often cited as the scariest episode in all of old time radio. I think such a statement does a disservice to the episode. For one thing, even if it were truly the scariest, labeling it as such puts people on guard, thereby diminishing the overall effect.

Even still, it’s really not that scary. The House in Cypress Canyon probably gets that nod from me.

No, this show is creepy. Creepy on steroids. More on that in just a bit.

First, you gotta love how it starts. You realize quickly that you are playing the role of a guest, listening to Chappell spin some stories about his oil drilling days.

And the detail is wonderful. The story is so rich with the language of the “roughnecks”. Even if it were all made up, it’s spoken with authenticity. I can’t help but wonder if Willis worked out in the oil fields and is sharing his experience. After all, this was written in the days before Google and the like.

But I do find it kind of funny that when Chappell is alone at the camp, and the geologist arrives. Chappell offers the geologist dinner, noting he has, “six, no seven pork-chops cooking”.

What kind of person eats seven pork-chops by himself? I’d love to see this guy go the butcher.

Lots and lots of porkchops
A typical meal cooked by Chappell

“I’d like to buy fifty pork chops.”

“Wow, you must be having quite a party.”

“Nah, I’m just food shopping for the week.”

But the story itself grows creepy pretty fast and as the body count starts to rise, I couldn’t help but wonder if Chappell was somehow complicit in the deaths.

No, he wasn’t.

But where the story goes next is far stranger than I could have possibly imagined.a

We all endure periods of loneliness. It’s part of the human condition. Finding that special person can add a whole new color palette to the world, but what Chappell finds is far darker and creepier than I can possibly understand.

A spider creature by Ben Garigga – https://www.artstation.com/artwork/xzn80W

I try not judge but then there’s this doozy of a line:

“But its face. I can’t help but wanting to see that pathetic little girl face. I’m afraid maybe I’ve fallen-. But it’s very beautiful. And when it’s well made up-“

This guy sounds like he checked out of Sanity hotel a long time ago. It’s at this point, if you were really his houseguest, you knew that you were screwed. The gun was just a formality.

So was this really scary?

Scary comes and go and you laugh about it when it’s over. This is far worse than scary, fueling your nightmares for years to come.

Give me scary any day and you can keep your thing and your fourble board.

By Brian Moakley

Brian Moakley is a writer and technologist who lives amongst the quiet hills in New England. When not reading tales of high adventure, he is often telling such stories to all who will listen.

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