The first seed of the concept that was to become The Mask of Inanna took root in my mind sometime in 2004. At the time, I was doing extensive research for a website about the Canadian radio horror anthology series Nightfall, which aired in the early 1980s. The host of the show was a character named Luther Kranst. At one time, series creator and executive producer Bill Howell wrote an article for NPR about how he had first met Kranst at a truck stop near Piapot, Saskatchewan in 1970. In the article, Howell developed Kranst’s background and personality. A background and personality for a character who appears for just sixty seconds every episode? How many radio horror hosts had such development? And how many had people tuning in to hear them as much as the tales they had to present? Such hosts were rare.
And so, one day, a thought entered my mind: what happened to these rare hosts when their programs ended? On the surface that seems like a ridiculous question. Of course, they picked up their last paychecks and started looking for new gigs. But what if a show had been more than just its cast and crew? What if the show—and its host—had had a special purpose that was unknown to many of those involved? And…what if that show had been canceled before its time, sabotaged from within?
From that question came a synopsis for a series entitled p.m.:
The main character, once a popular radio horror host during the Golden Age of Radio, was brushed aside by both the popularity of television and a duplicitous partner, and faded into obscurity. Fifty years later, a dying old man, he is offered the job of caretaker for an old lighthouse on the New England coast by a mysterious “property management” firm. Once there, a series of strange coincidences occur to put him back on the air, hosting a new anthology series, using a low-power radio station that once operated out of the lighthouse. But he doesn’t believe in coincidences and plans to learn more about his mysterious benefactors and how the people of the local village are connected to them.*
Development on p.m. stopped at this point and the project languished on a back-burner while I tried to put a group together that could produce the show. The Post-Meridian Radio Players was formed the next year, but was focused on live performances during its first few years. It wasn’t until I got to know Alicia Goranson that p.m. was brought back from obscurity.
But that’s a tale for another entry.
Thanks for listening!
Creator and Executive Producer
*The idea of a mysterious organization bringing a man out of retirement to finish a show that was canceled years ago was inspired by the 1985 Tales from the Darkside episode, “Distant Signals“, which I only saw once—back when it originally aired—but the story has stuck with me ever since.