“Turn out all your lights—

and be completely in the dark!”



Before TV captured the nation’s attention in 1948, radio was the most popular form of domestic entertainment. Nowadays that box is mostly music, news, and impassioned back talk, but from the 1920s through the 1940s, the airwaves boasted drama, comedy, and murder mysteries. Judson Fountain (b. 1952) grew up after the heyday of classic radio theater, but as a child he heard vestiges of programs that had enthralled his parents’ generation. He developed an obsession with gothic-tinged series like The Shadow, Inner Sanctum, The Whistler, and Lights Out! While the majority of his fellow Americans were evolving into couch potatoes, Judson embraced radio as the superior theatrical medium, and he felt compelled to single-handedly revive the art. That he lacked training, technology, skilled staff, and a budget did not deter him. Ed Wood, Jr., made movies; Judson produced radio dramas.


Judson was between 17 and 22 when he created these dramas (pronounced “drammers” by sidekick Sandor Weisberger). He wrote, directed, and starred in these extremely primitive affairs, often recruiting Weisberger as announcer and occasional costar. Fountain’s simple, derivative plots employ Halloween kitsch—spooks, witches, haunted houses—as vehicles in morality plays about redemption for the honorable and damnation for evildoers. Every character in a Judson drama is simply good or bad. Those who embody virtue are invariably rewarded, while those of criminal bent (or who simply misbehave) are punished, often with ghoulish glee. A few characters manage to “repent of their evil ways,” but mostly the respective dispositions are starkly fixed in black and white.


Judson’s work is characterized by cliché scripting, egregious ethnic accents, and inept editing—all seasoned with copious needle drops of creaking doors and howling wolves from the timeless Elektra sound effects library. But this extreme amateurism and unwavering sincerity synergize to great advantage in Fountain’s theatricals. There is charm in the clumsiness and befuddled amusement in the often-abrupt plot twists. Jackson Brian Griffith, former Pulse senior editor, once summed it up: “Imagine paint-sniffers aiming for the Firesign Theatre and hitting Plan 9 From Outer Space.” Repeat listenings are rewarding: there is an odd musicality in each script’s rhythm. As with Monty Python or Wayne’s World routines, key lines of dialogue tend to creep into your conversation. “So long, punk, I’ve got t’ings to do!” And “No one blows the whis-soe on Pop Serriano!”


The original recordings were pressed on limited-run LPs—possibly 200 copies each. The jackets were hand-fabricated, with grainy photostats pasted (probably by Judson himself) on otherwise blank cardboard sleeves.


Completely in the Dark represents the first time Judson Fountain’s dramas have been released on CD. This is not an album for everyone. Judson’s work seems to have a polarizing effect, engendering love or loathing. Listeners will award this album five stars—or zero. That’s an average of 2.5 stars—but no one will actually accord it 2.5. Nonetheless, we are confident that Judson’s artifacts will attract fans. These echoes of a bygone art have an off-kilter perspective that in many ways is more entertaining than any note-perfect, professional replica of the original form.


We love these “drammers.” And we love Judson, hereby declaring ourselves devoted Fountainheads. Wherever Judson happens to be (we last saw him in 1995, and have desperately tried—and failed—to locate him for this reissue), he would be proud to know that his legacy has been preserved for future generations.

Irwin Chusid

July 2003


1. The Old Woman of Haunted

            House (16:06)

“Now you see this? If you don’t know what it is, I’ll tell you. It’s a gun.”

Judson Fountain: Johnny; Molly; Pop Serriano; the Old Woman

Sandor Weisberger: Announcer; Johnny’s Father

Bill Apter: Tom

2. Garbage Can from Thailand (6:33)

“Standing there in back of you, face-to-face, is now the old man you killed. He’s old, horrible-looking—and he’s dead!”

Judson Fountain: Johnny; The Old Man

Sandor Weisberger: Announcer

3. Two Boys in a Haunted House (6:50)

“Oh no, it’s Tommy. He’s dead.

His neck is broken. I gotta get outta this weird house.”

Judson Fountain: Richie;

The Hag

Sandor Weisberger: Announcer

James White: Tommy

4. Granny, Sing No More! (6:24)

Mr. Smith: “And don’t call me ‘Sonny.’ I’m thirty-five years old.

I’m not a kid. I’m a man!”

Judson Fountain: Granny

Sandor Weisberger: Announcer

Kenneth Benjamin: Mr. Smith

5. Hallowe’en Night (6:52)

Announcer: “He saw a strange mist. He walked into it. But when he came through it, it seemed to have vanished—and everything seemed strange to him!”

Landlord: “I say, this is strange! Where is that mist I came through?”

Judson Fountain: The Witch

Sandor Weisberger: Announcer; The Landlord

6. My Next Door Neighbor, Is a Wicked Witch (9:33)

Johann: “Don’t yell at me. I’m no kid. I’m thirty-five years old. I’m a man!”

Alice: “A man? Hah! Don’t make me laugh!”

Judson Fountain: The Wicked Witch

Uncle Bill Adams: Announcer

Kenneth Benjamin: Johann

Deborah Ashira: His wife, Alice


7. The Castle of Lo Sein (13:41)

Johnny: “Hey Molly, that was pretty cold-blooded!”

Real Estate Agent: “Yes, I agree with Johnny here.”

Judson Fountain: Johnny; Tommy-Gun Molly; Pop; Lo Sein

Sandor Weisberger: Announcer, Real Estate Agent

8. Captain Hale (4:33)

Laughing Old Woman: “You can see no one’s in this room. You can look in the cellar if you want to.”

Captain Hale: “The cellar—yes! But I don’t want to look in the cellar. I’d rather look in that closet over there!”

Judson Fountain: The Laughing Old Woman

Sandor Weisberger: The Old Scotsman; Captain Hale

9. Bonus track: Judson sound EFX

Create your own “drammer”!


Side B (6612)

1. The Voodoo Woman!

2. The Evil Portrait of Old Man


Stories in Radio

(no label, studio, or date listed)

Side A (3-3-2023)

1. Two Boys in a Haunted House

2. The Castle of Lo Sein

Side B (3-3-2023)

1. The Richard Roffman Radio


2. Garbage Can from Thailand

3. Hallowe’en Night!

Fun in Radio!

(no label, studio, or date listed)

Side A (3-3-2098)

1. The Evil Old Man

2. Garbage Can from Thailand/

            The Thing from Thailand

3. The Lottery Ticket

4. Captain Hale

Side B (3-3-2098)

1. Dark, Dark, Dark

2. Mr. Shilita/Captain Hale Goes

            to Japan





“Because radio was where talent really is.

And it’s the best, and everybody’s medium!”

Original radio dramas produced, written and directed by Judson Fountain

Produced for first CD issue by Irwin Chusid

and Barbara Economon

Executive Producers for Innova: Chris Strouth

and Philip Blackburn

Cover and tray design: Barbara Economon

Cover elements by Ed Dodd, Tom Hill, and Jack Elrod

Booklet design: Laura Lindgren

Digital Transfers: Barbara Economon

Mastering: Gerry Fleming, Recordings-To-Go

Digital stills of Judson on Stairway to Stardom:

Doug Miller

Thanks to: Judson Fountain, Sandor Weisberger,

Don Brockway, Chris Strouth, Philip Blackburn,

Doug Miller, Mitchell Friedman, Geoff Wrightson,

Scott Marshall, Heather Alevras

Ken Freedman denies any involvement.


Songs in the Key of Z: The Curious Universe

of Outsider Music              www.KeyofZ.com


innova is supported by an endowment from the McKnight Foundation and by the National Endowment for the Arts    www.innova.mu