Lights Out was originally a radio broadcast. The tolling of the bell in the background, and the announcer saying "It - is - Later - Than - You - Think" in time with the bell, acted as the introduction to Lights Out. The program was first heard on New Year's Day, 1934, on WENR (Chicago). The original writer was Wyllis Cooper, but Arch Oboler is probably better known as a writer / director / actor involved with the series. It was later brought to T.V. Four episodes were broadcast on WNBT-TV in New York during 1946 before going network in 1949-1952. There was also a revival special, January 15th, 1972 called "The Widows Weep" which was a 60 minute feature, in color.
In 1890s London, Mrs. Manifold runs a boarding house for sailors on the waterfront. New hire John hears from a customer that her wine-guzzling husband, Ambrose, long ago disappeared and that some say she killed him. The old lady gets jumpy when a strange man reeking of wine signs the register "Ambrose Manifold."
Mr. Corbeau wants to turn pristine Beware Island into a gambling destination. His plans for building a connecting bridge to the natural paradise are continually delayed; his engineers all fall from the island's cliffs, led there by by a spirit, the Will-O'-The-Wisp. His greedy daughter, Marina, tries to manipulate her ex-fiancé into designing the bridge. Their visit there also proves fatal.
On their honeymoon, a new husband brings his bride to the ranch he grew up on. The wife is soon traumatized by the antique bedroom mirror once owned by the husband's deceased former love. The dead girlfriend appears in the reflection, wanting to trade places with the newly-married woman.
A survey taker makes a startling discovery when she visits the home of two very paranoid, eccentric, elderly collectors of odds and ends.
A man makes a deal with a mysterious businessman in order to get rid of his high spending wife.
Ambitious defense attorney David Stevenson has high political aspirations and believes his romance with a nobody like Sylvia Willis will only hold him back. Calling in a favor from a murderer he once saved from conviction, he has his bride-to-be shot. Sylvia, however, is not so easily silenced. She demands justice and forces the great attorney to defend himself before a jury of the dead.
Dede attends the silent supper, a ritual the single Bayou women conduct to foresee their future husbands. Old voodoo woman Miss Watkins had told Dede that she'd meet her husband at the supper that night. Miss Watkins has the misfortune of meeting up with troublemaker Jean Duval, who stabs her and steals her silver. Then, uninvited, he crashes the silent supper.
Bird lover Waldo Bryan leaves behind his big city art career to live in the country. His wife, Adele, has turned hateful, angry that he made her give up the city life. To get even, she lets Waldo's beloved parakeet out of it's cage to be killed by her cat. The birds outside seem to know of Adele's evil deed and turn on her, turning her into the caged one.
Jeff Morgan reads a story in a pulp fiction magazine exactly like one he'd written and filed away years earlier. His meeting with the author, Frank Joyce, is eerie; he already knows everything about the man without having met him before. Convinced Frank is his doppelganger, Jeff panics when he dreams Frank steps onto an elevator that malfunctions and plunges fifteen stories. Frank just scoffs at his frantic warning.
A husband rents the same upstairs apartment where he and his late wife once lived. Despite his claims of being married, the elderly landlady feels that something is not quite right. After weeks, she's yet to meet the woman. In fact, she's never heard so much as a sound coming from upstairs floor.
A mysterious stranger enters a home uninvited, drawn from the street by the haunting music of Beethoven's "Geister (Ghost) Trio" that three musicians are performing. The pianist is immediately smitten with the woman of obvious wealth and status, soon proposing they marry. She says it is impossible, as the man would be forced to choose between her or his music.