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Calling Dr. Death

Calling Dr. Death(1943)

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This was the first film in the "Inner Sanctum Mystery" series. According to Hollywood Reporter, Universal purchased the screen rights to the "Inner Sanctum" name in June 1943 from Simon and Schuster, Inc., publishers of the popular mystery novels and radio shows. Simon and Schuster used Inner Sanctum as a generic title for a series of mystery novels it published starting in the 1930s. Beginning in January 1941, the NBC Blue Network broadcast a weekly, half-hour radio show entitled Inner Sanctum Mysteries. That anthology radio program was then broadcast on CBS from September 1943 to 1950, on ABC from 1950 to 1951, and on CBS in the summer of 1952. In 1954, NBC Films syndicated 39 episodes of a television series titled Inner Sanctum.
       Under its agreement with Simon and Schuster, Universal received no story rights to the novels or radio series. Universal produced six films for the series, all featuring actor Lon Chaney, Jr. In most of the pictures, actor David Hoffman, playing the role "Inner Sanctum," appears in a prologue as a bodiless head, floating in a crystal ball. The final Universal entry was the 1945 film Pillow of Death . In 1948, M.R.S. Pictures made the final entry in the series, Inner Sanctum, an independent production starring Charles Russell and Mary Beth Hughes, directed by Lew Landers . For additional information on the series, consult the Series Index.
       While actress Isabel Jewell is listed by the CBCS in the role of "Peggy Morton," she does not appear in the released film. Gale Sondergaard was originally cast in the role of "Stella Madden," but was later replaced by Patricia Morison, according to Hollywood Reporter. Hollywood Reporter news items also state that actor George Dolenz was initially cast as "Robert Duval," but was forced to leave the film because he was still working on Universal's Moonlight in Vermont .