Friends, I am moments away from closing down the Vault for the evening, there was too much work today for me to finish up and catch The Invisible Man as I had originally planned. So I am still in the mood for something a little creepy and thought it might be nice to close out the day with a bit of classic radio drama – an episode entitled The Waxwork from the exceptional The Price of Fear series. Because when you get right down to it, how can you go wrong with a BBC Radio show from the early ’70s that featured none other than Vincent Price, right? In particular as the subject for the episode is something that Price was familiar with, considering of course that he starred in the 1953’s House of Wax – a remake of the equally enjoyable Mystery of the Wax Museum which was released 20 years earlier.
The Price of Fear features Vincent Price as himself, generally acting as more of a host than narrator – regaling the listeners with how he became involved in the story. The series would feature Price traveling around the World and as he was a celebrity, he was naturally recognized by the protagonist of the story. As you will hear in The Waxwork for yourself, things do not always turn out for the best for said protagonist – so it is up to Price to end the story as well.
The Waxwork was adapted for BBC radio by Barry Campbell from A. M. Burrage and features Peter Barkworth (Patton), Cyril Shaps (The Spy Who Loved Me), Joan Cooper (The Ruling Class), and Christopher Bidmead (Doctor Who). It finds Price bumping into an old acquaintance at a Baker Street pub, a freelance writer named Raymond Hewson (Barkworth) who has been invited to spend all night in the ‘Chamber of Horrors’ at the local waxwork museum. Raymond realizes that his story will sell far better of course if Vincent Price could be featured in it in some small way. Price agrees to see the Writer to the wax museum and get situated… but both of the men find themselves unnerved by the wax effigy of Doctor Bordet – a serial killer of some renown who was known as the ‘Terror of Paris’. Oh, I should also add that while the madman was caught and convicted and sent to an asylum… he escaped… presumed dead by the authorities.
And with that setup I ask you to dim the lights if you are able and enjoy a wonderful example of why radio drama is still a valid and important entertainment medium. Let us join Vincent Price and learn more of The Waxwork thanks to The Price of Fear!