Omnibus (1952–1961)
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The Horn Blows at Midnight 

An angel is sent to New York City with instructions to blow a trumpet which will destroy the Earth.




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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Himself - Host
The Chief
Rolfe Sedan ...
Lou Lubin ...
Newspaper Stand Owner
Lee Millar ...
Martin Dean ...
Cab Driver
Hotel Desk Clerk
Hallene Hill ...
Mrs. Watson


An angel is sent to New York City with instructions to blow a trumpet which will destroy the Earth.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Drama | History | Music




Release Date:

29 November 1953 (USA)  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


The story includes a then-timely running gag in which Athanael was solely responsible for a freak cloud of smog that had engulfed Manhattan. The same month that this show was performed, mysterious smog was blamed for the deaths of 260 people in New York City, including renowned poet Dylan Thomas. See more »


In his introduction Alistair Cooke says the film on which this teleplay was based was issued in 1943, but it was actually released in 1945. See more »


Athanael: What's your name?
Angela: Angela.
Athanael: Angela? That means "little angel," doesn't it?
Angela: That's right.
Athanael: You know, I'm an angel too. I'm a BIG angel.
See more »


References The Big Payoff (1951) See more »


Dancing in the Dark
Written by Arthur Schwartz (uncredited) and Howard Dietz (uncredited)
Performed by Mahlon Merrick and his Orchestra
See more »

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User Reviews

Omnibus presents a television version of the Benny classic
23 November 2013 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Although I'm giving this a "7", I do so -- in part -- because this is part of television history -- the famous CBS Omnibus series. Ironically, just as the original "The Horn Blows At Midnight" was a financial flop, so was Omnibus...though it continued to be broadcast for a decade. This DVD is distributed by SHOUT! entertainment media company (a few other Omnibus shows are offered, as well).

While the premise here is the same as in the movie, the actual plot is significantly different. Once again, Benny (Athaniel) is chosen to destroy the earth by blowing his trumpet at midnight. Down to earth he goes, and immediately gets in the middle of a lover's quarrel...and the young man who walks away -- also a musician -- accidentally walks away with the magic trumpet. Meanwhile, he meets several nice people and ultimately convinces the "chief" (in heaven) to spare the earth.

The script here is uneven. Some pretty decent jokes seem to go right past the audience, and other times they laugh at things that are marginal. Jack melds his television/radio persona into the script nicely, and this often garners some good laughs. The script is not as good as the movie script, and the production values are, of course, much lower. And there are no special effects, unlike the film where they were pretty decent. The chief attraction here is Jack Benny, along with a glimpse of early television. If you can find this, it's worth watching.

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