The Mysterious Traveler

A journey into the strange and terrifying.

The Mysterious Traveler

The Mysterious Traveler (1943-1952) was an OTR dramatic anthology series written, produced, and directed by Robert A. Arthur, Jr. and David Kogen, who drew talent from unsung but quite professional radio voice actors of the day. Episodes ranged from wild science fiction thrillers to crime-based mysteries. The Mysterious Traveler is significant because its narrative approach spun off comic books, magazines, and another radio drama series, making this radio series an example of transmedia storytelling.



Total Episodes: 370
Surviving Episodes: 69
Episode Inventory

Exemplary Episodes

Zero Hour
Episode 159, 22 June 1948
A professor and his biographer visit the crash site of an alleged Martian space craft. This is not the Rod Sterling story of the same title.

Behind the Locked Door
Episode 25, 25 May 1949 and Episode 329, 6 November 1951
THE episode of The Mysterious Traveler series. Two archaeologists exploring caves in the southwestern United States find one blocked behind a landslide. Inside is a one-hundred year old wagon train. When their guide is attacked, the archaeologists wonder if some members of the wagon train survived. What if their descendants still live in this dark world?

The Last Survivor
Episode 225, 11 October 1949

Episode 253, 2 May 1950
Three criminals attempt to steal diamonds aboard an ocean liner but encounter more trouble than they imagined.

The Most Famous Man in the World
Episode 331, 20 November 1951
Two time travelers return to the 20th Century to prevent a man from becoming the first Dictator of America.


The Mysterious Traveler was broadcast on Mutual Broadcasting System (MBS) 5 December 1943-2 September 1952. Each episode of this anthology radio series began with train sounds (including a steam whistle), all fading into narrator Maurice Tarplin's introduction. "This is a Mysterious Traveler, inviting you to join me on another journey into the strange and terrifying. I hope you will enjoy the trip, that it will thrill you a little and chill you a little. So settle back, get a good grip on your nerves and be comfortable—if you can."

Tarplin, as The Mysterious Traveler, narrated each episode. At the end, the story faded into the sound of train wheels and The Mysterious Traveler saying, "Oh, you have to get off here! I'm sorry! I'm sure we'll meet again. I take this same train every week at this same time."

Each episode was written, produced, and directed by Robert A. Arthur and David Kogen.

In addition to a radio series, The Mysterious Traveler was also a magazine and a comic book. The single issue comic book, The Mysterious Traveler Comic #1 (Trans-World Publications November 1948) was directly tied to the radio series, including the story "Five Miles Down," adapted from Episode 090, 9 February 1947. Charlton Comics published a separate Tales of the Mysterious Traveler comic book for thirteen issues from 1956 to 1959, followed by two more issues in 1985. Steve Ditko illustrated many stories in the series.

A magazine spin-off, Mysterious Traveler (Grace Publishing), ran for five issues, November 1951-1952. Each issue featured a pulp cover illustration by Norman Saunders. David Kogen was the publisher; Robert A. Arthur the managing editor.

The Strange Dr. Weird was a weekly radio spin-off series on the Mutual Broadcasting System featuring fifteen-minute versions of The Mysterious Traveler episode. Each was written by David Kogan and Robert A. Arthur, and narrated by Maurice Tarplin, who lived "on the other side of the cemetery." Each week he invited listeners to enjoy a different horror story, and invited them back the following week for more. Twenty-eight episodes, 7 November 1944-15 May 1945.


OTRR certified episodes at Internet Archive
Single episodes at Internet Archive
The Mysterious Traveler Radio Logs at Jerry Haendiges Vintage Radio Logs website
Plot summaries and credits at Radio Gold Index website
The Definitive Mysterious Traveler at Digital Deli Too website
The Mysterious Traveler at Radio Horror Hosts website