Archibald "Arch" Oboler, well-known scriptwriter, novelist, producer and director in films, radio and television, was born in Chicago, Illinois on December 7, 1907. Oboler drew much attention for his radio scripts, which were the highlight of his career. Although having a tendency for gruesomeness, he was one of broadcasting's top talents, and is regarded today as one of the innovators of old-time radio.
Oboler sold his first radio scripts while still a high school student in the 1920's. He first achieved notoriety when he took over the NBC horror anthology Lights Out in 1936. (His most notorious sound effect was the sound of a man being turned inside out --achieved with a rubber glove.) In 1939, he was given the chance to write another show, Arch Oboler's Plays, which ran on CBS. While still featuring horror, it also used more topical stories, especially about the war then beginning in Europe. His screenplays include Escape (1940), Gangway for Tomorrow (1943) and On Our Merry Way (1948). In 1945, he directed Betwitched and Strange Holiday, followed by the apocalyptic Five (1951), filmed in his own Frank Lloyd Wright-designed home. He made film history with the 3-D movie Bwana Devil (1952), and his film The Twonky (1953) (adapted from a 1942 Lewis Padgett short story published in Astounding Science Fiction) achieved cult status. He also produced a stereo LP recordings of horror tales called, Drop Dead! (1962). The most successful of Oboler's latter-day film efforts was the soft-core porn epic The Stewardesses (1969), which he understandably directed under a pseudonym. Oboler returned to films with another 3-D feature, The Bubble, in 1966. His fantasy novel, House on Fire (Bartholomew House, 1969) was adapted by Oboler for radio's Mutual Radio Theater in 1980. Though his film career was spotty at best, Arch Oboler will always be regarded as a creative writer of horror fiction and as one of the giants of radio's Golden Age.
Arch Oboler also assembled a rather small but high-quality mineral collection, which was purchased by New York mineral dealer Martin Ehrmann in 1968. Ehrmann divided the specimens among his various (mostly wholesale) clients including Oregon mineral dealer Walt Lidstrom, California collector/dealer Marion Godshaw, wealthy Idaho collector Marion Stuart, California collector/dealer Ed Swoboda, and others. Oboler died in Malibu, California on March 19, 1987.
California Death Index, 1940-1997.
Social Security Death Index
Current Biography Yearbook (1940)
International Motion Picture Almanac, (1975-1986)
ERICKSON, H. (2007) All Movie Guide.
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[Citation format for this entry:
WILSON, Wendell E. (2018)
Biographical Archive, at www.mineralogicalrecord.com.]
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Label for a specimen from the Arch Oboler collection, sold to Walt Lidstrom by Martin Ehrmann, who purchased Oboler's collection in 1968.