Dracula (radio drama)

"Dracula" is an episode of the American radio drama anthology series The Mercury Theatre on the Air. It was performed as an episode of the series on Monday, July 11, 1938, and aired over the Columbia Broadcasting System radio network. Directed and narrated by actor and future filmmaker Orson Welles, the episode was an adaptation of Bram Stoker's novel Dracula (1897).

Mark 56 Records release (1976)
GenreRadio drama
Running time60 minutes
Home stationCBS Radio
Hosted byThe Mercury Theatre on the Air
AnnouncerDan Seymour
Written byBram Stoker (novel)
Directed byOrson Welles
Produced byOrson Welles
Executive producer(s)Davidson Taylor (for CBS)
Narrated by
  • Orson Welles
  • George Coulouris
  • Ray Collins
  • Martin Gabel
  • Elizabeth Fuller
  • Agnes Moorehead
Recording studioColumbia Broadcasting Building, 485 Madison Avenue, New York
Original releaseJuly 11, 1938 (1938-07-11),
9 – 10 pm ET
Opening themePiano Concerto No. 1, by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky


"Dracula" was the first episode of the CBS Radio series The Mercury Theatre on the Air, which was broadcast at 8 pm ET on Monday, July 11, 1938.

Recalling Welles's sound-effects preparations for the series debut in a 1940 article for The New Yorker, Lucille Fletcher wrote that "his programs called for all sorts of unheard-of effects, and he could be satisfied with nothing short of perfection." For "Dracula", the CBS sound team searched for the perfect sound of a stake being driven through the heart of the vampire. They first presented a savoy cabbage and a sharpened broomstick for Welles's approval. "Much too leafy," Welles concluded. "Drill a hole in the cabbage and fill it with water. We need blood." When that sound experiment also failed to satisfy Welles, he considered awhile—and asked for a watermelon. Fletcher recalled the effect: "Welles stepped from the control booth, seized a hammer, and took a crack at the melon. Even the studio audience shuddered at the sound. That night, on a coast-to-coast network, he gave millions of listeners nightmares with what, even though it be produced with a melon and hammer, is indubitably the sound a stake would make piercing the heart of an undead body.[1]


The cast of characters of "Dracula" appears in order as first heard in the broadcast.

Plot summary


  1. Fletcher, Lucille (April 13, 1940). "Squeaks, Slams, Echoes, and Shots". The New Yorker. pp. 85–86.
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