Here's yet another weird, unexplained bit of reel to reel recording tape which migrated to my collection at some point. I have been unable to determine anything about the purpose for which this tape was recorded, and if it rings a bell with someone out there, by all means, say so.
The tape contains a series of introductions for some sort of show which was likely titled "The Black Book". These are appropriately spooky, with tense music and scary sound effects, and a very effective narrator. That said, there is a somewhat amateur feel to the recordings. Weirdly, all that is here are what appear to be an intro, followed by narration segments, seemingly meant to go between segments of a story - but what story, and what medium? The only hint is a notation in the upper right corner of the box cover (seen to the right) which indicates that the first section of narration belongs "over film".
At first, I thought this might be related to an Old Time Radio show titled "The Black Book", hosted by Paul Frees. But the narrator sounds nothing like Frees, and there are multiple examples on line of that show, none of which sound remotely like this tape. Also, the dates on the box make it clear that this couldn't have been recorded prior to 1962.
However, a bit more digging shows that the narrations do fit the plot of a 1949 film, "Reign of Terror", about an attempt to stop a man's bloodthirsty grab at power during the French Revolution. Again, though, this tape would have been made nearly 15 years after that film, and the production level is not at the level of a big budget film.
The tape runs nine minutes or so. First up is an introduction that focuses first on Dr. Guillotine,before tying together a variety of images which seem to me recited almost at random. The second segment is a brief scene involving the Guillotine. The next section takes place on the night streets of Paris, which as in the description of the film, is about to be taken over by a dictator. The next narration specifically focuses on the importance of The Black Book, and how it needs to be destroyed. This section and the two that follow I find almost impossible to follow, not surprising given that these segments seem likely to have been meant for interludes between parts of the story, without the story itself to explain them.
See what you think!