Hyman Brown, Class of 1931

A NY Times obituary reports the death of Hyman Brown (July 21, 1910 – June 4, 2010), Brooklyn Law School Class of 1931, at his home in Manhattan. Brown grew up in the Brownsville section of Brooklyn and went to Boy’s High School, Brooklyn College and Brooklyn Law School. The Twenty-Ninth Annual Commencement Program in the Brooklyn Law School Library’s Archive collection lists Brown as one of the valedictory speakers at the ceremony held at the Albee Theater on June 11, 1931. The program spells his first name as Hyman – not Himan which he used in later life.

Acting and the entertainment business, rather than the law, was his great passion. While attending law school, he was producing and performing in live theater, Catskills revues, and on the fast growing medium of radio. Brown created a number of radio programs that became immensely popular in the 1930s and ’40s. Among his most well-known was “Inner Sanctum Mysteries.” The show opened with a signature sound effect of a creaking door. Using his legal training, Brown was the first to trademark a sound effect. His career in show business spanned eight decades from the 1920s to the 1990s directing more than 30,000 shows. Other notable series that Brown produced were The Rise of the Goldbergs, Dick Tracy, Adventures of the Thin Man, Grand Central Station, and the CBS Radio Mystery Theater.

A Founding Member of the Director’s Guild of America, he started The Radio Drama Network to propagate the spoken word. Also a member of the Radio Hall of Fame, Brown received the American Broadcast Pioneer and the Peabody Award. He taught audio drama at Brooklyn College and the School of Visual Arts and was devoted to health care causes and other issues effecting people over 50 years of age. Brown was a great friend of the BLS Library. More biographical information is available at the Walter J. Brown Media Archives & Peabody Awards Collection website.