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OLD TIME RADIO - 18 AUDIO CD - 24 Shows (+ 2 Bonus)

Suspense, one of the premier drama programs of the Golden Age of Radio, was subtitled "radio's outstanding theater of thrills." It was heard on CBS from 1942 through 1962. Approximately 945 episodes were broadcast during its long run, and more than 900 are extant in mostly high-quality recordings

Suspense went through several major phases, characterized by different hosts, sponsors and director/producers. There were a few rules which were followed for all but a handful of episodes: Protagonists were usually a normal person suddenly dropped into a threatening or bizarre situation. Evildoers must be punished in the end. The program made only occasional forays into science fiction and fantasy. Among its science fiction entries were "The Man who Went Back to Save Lincoln" (a time travel fantasy) and an adaptation of Curt Siodmak's Donovan's Brain, as well as an adaptation of an H.P. Lovecraft short story, "The Dunwich Horror".

Alfred Hitchcock directed its audition show (for the CBS series Forecast). This was an adaptation of "The Lodger," a story Hitchcock had filmed in 1926 with Ivor Novello. Martin Grams, Jr., author of Suspense: Twenty Years of Thrills and Chills, described the Forecast origin of Suspense:

On the second presentation of July 22, 1940, Forecast offered a mystery/horror show titled Suspense. With the co-operation of his producer Walter Wanger, Alfred Hitchcock received the honor of directing his first radio show for the American public. The condition agreed upon for Hitchcock's appearance was that CBS make a pitch to the listening audience about his and Wanger's latest film, Foreign Correspondent. To add some flavour to the deal, Wanger threw in Edmund Gwenn and Herbert Marshall as part of the package. All three men (including Hitch) would be seen in the upcoming film, which was due for a theatrical release the next month. Both Marshall and Hitchcock decided on the same story to bring to the airwaves, which happened to be a favorite of both of them: Marie Belloc Lowndes' "The Lodger." Alfred Hitchcock had filmed this story for Gainsborough in 1926, and since then it had remained as one of his favorites.

Herbert Marshall portrayed the mysterious lodger, and co-starring with him were Edmund Gwenn and character actress Lurene Tuttle as the rooming-house keepers who start to suspect that their new boarder might be the notorious Jack-the-Ripper. [Gwenn was actually repeating the role taken in the 1926 film by his brother, Arthur Chesney. And Tuttle would work again with Hitchcock exactly 20 years later, playing Mrs Al Chambers in Psycho.] Character actor Joseph Kearns also had a small part in the drama, and Wilbur Hatch, head musician for CBS Radio at the time, composed and conducted the music specially for the program. Adapting the script to radio was not a great technical challenge for Hitchcock, and he cleverly decided to hold back the ending of the story from the listening audience in order to keep them in suspense themselves. This way, if the audience's curiosity got the better of them, they would write in to the network to find out whether the mysterious lodger was in fact Jack-the-Ripper. For the next few weeks, hundreds of letters came in from faithful listeners asking how the story ended. Actually a few wrote threats claiming that it was "indecent" and "immoral" to present such a production without giving the solution.

In the early phase, the program was hosted by "The Man in Black" (played by Joseph Kearns or Ted Osborne) and many episodes written or adapted by the prominent mystery author John Dickson Carr. Escape was a similar anthology thriller and suspense program. Both occasionally adapted the same stories, though Escape had lower budgets--and thus, fewer sound effects and name actors.




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CD 1              
The Story of Markham's Death - 1947-10-02 Episode 265
The Man Who Liked Dickens - 1947-10-09 Episode 266

CD 2              
Self Defense - 1947-10-16 Episode 267
The X-Ray Camera - 1947-10-23 Episode 268

CD 3              
Subway - 1947-10-30 Episode 269
Dream Song - 1947-11-06 Episode 270

CD 4              
Riabouchinska - 1947-11-13 Episode 271
One Hundred in the Dark - 1947-11-20 Episode 272

CD 5              
The Pit and the Pendulum - 1947-11-28 Episode 273
The Clock and the Rope - 1947-12-05 Episode 274

CD 6              
The Man Who Couldn't Lose - 1947-12-12 Episode 275
Hide and Seek - 1962-05-13 Episode 925

CD 7              
Too Little to Live On - 1947-12-26 Episode 277
(Includes “The Hitchhiker” 1946-06-21 from Mercury Summer Theater)

CD 8              
The Black Curtain - 1948-01-03 Episode 278

CD 9              
The Kandy Tooth - 1948-01-10 Episode 279

CD 10            
Love's Lovely Counterfeit - 1948-01-17 Episode 280

CD 11            
The Black Angel - 1948-01-24 Episode 281

CD 12            
Dagger of the Mind - 1962-05-20 Episode 926
(Includes “You Could Die Laughing” 1946-05-07 from Inner Sanctum Mysteries)

CD 13            
Donovan's Brain - 1948-02-07 Episode 283

CD 14            
The Lodger - 1948-02-14 Episode 284
CD 15            
Beyond Reason - 1948-02-21 Episode 285

CD 16            
The House by the River - 1948-02-28 Episode 286

CD 17            
In a Lonely Place - 1948-03-06 Episode 287

CD 18            
Nightmare - 1948-03-13 Episode 288


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  • Model: OTR-18CDA-SuspenseCollection12
  • 18 Units in Stock

This product was added to our catalog on Sunday 25 March, 2012.

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