Escape’s “He Who Rides the Tiger” is based on the 1948 novel The Nightwalkers by James Norman, which is set in post-World War II China. The title of The Nightwalkers refers to foreigners who were not in China during the war, and who do not understand the subsequent changes. Their lack of memories of wartime events prevent them from understanding the consciousness of new China. Escape’s adaptation includes a number changes to the story, some for the better.
The Nightwalkers As the episode opens, David Armour wakes from a fevered dream of disconnected images. He is in a mission hospital, but he doesn’t remember how he got there. He explains to the doctor that he is an archaeologist, and that he is in China to help protect national treasures from the advancing Japanese armies. The doctor informs him that he arrived at their hospital two months ago sick with fever and wearing a Japanese uniform. The last thing David remembers is having lunch…in 1941. Somehow, he has lost his memories of the last eight years.
David also has a visitor named Quinto, who is very interested in his problems and his missing years. Quinto explains that there is no record of David during the war years. What was he doing? Working for the Japanese? David doesn’t believe it.
So, what does Quinto want from David? Four missing T’ang bronzes. They are national treasures but they were hidden away during the war. Now, they appear to be lost. Quinto believes that David knows where those bronze treasures are. Does he?
“He Who Rides the Tiger” was adapted for radio by Les Crutchfield and Norman MacDonnell produced and directed. William Conrad starred as David Armour. Berry Kroeger played Gimiendo Quinto. Also appearing were Maria Palmer, Jack Kruschen, Ben Wright, and Edgar Barrier. This episode aired on March 12, 1949.
Escape’s “Conquerer’s Isle” begins with a burst of organ music and then draws us into the story of a lost Navy bomber crew in the South China Sea during WWII. Their plane is damaged, lost in a typhoon, and then forced to make an emergency landing on a small uncharted island.
Not long after they land the three Navy flyers are greeted by one of the island’s residents, Dr. Grove, who takes them to a mysterious elevator. They don’t want to accompany him, but he insists. Dr. Grove then leads them down into a wondrous underground city that belongs to a civilization of advanced human beings. Their community is one of advanced learning and evolved understanding. It is populated by humans who have been drawn to the island by telepathy. They are “the next stage” of evolution and their underground realm is where they study, build, and prepare for the day when their numbers are large enough to take over the Earth. At that point, they will become the “friendly guardians” of the rest of humanity. The Navy flyers trapped in this world are now their pets.
“Conquerer’s Isle” was written by Nelson Bond and adapted for radio by John Dunkel. It was produced and directed by Norman McDonald. Dr. Grove was played by Bill Johnstone. Lieutenant Brady was played by David Ellis and Dr. Gorham was played by Ted von Eltz. Special music was arranged and played by Ivan Ditmars. This episode aired on March 5, 1949.