Suspense – Muddy Track
“The Muddy Track” is a radio noir about a bookie who is framed for the murder of a model.
Harry Clark is new in town and down on his luck. He is alone in a bar sipping a Coke when he is descended upon by Brandy. She takes a liking to him, buys him a bourbon, and soon his luck begins to change. Her “friend,” Mr. Persian, arrives shortly afterwards and offers Harry a job as a bookie. Mr. Persian buys Harry another round, but this time Harry asks for a brandy. Mr. Persian warns Harry that, “Brandy lovers often die young.”
Harry goes to work the next day, but when he finds Brandy murdered, he realizes he was set-up. Now Harry is on the run for a murder he didn’t commit, but he can’t get out of town without some help.
“The Muddy Track” was written by Buckley Angell and Bob Shelly. Anton M. Leader produced and directed. Academy-award winner Edmond O’Brien, in one of his four appearances on Suspense, starred as Harry. Ann Blyth starred as Eleanor Grayson. This episode aired on November 11, 1948.
“Give Me Liberty” sounds patriotic, but this Suspense episode is a harsh tale about an escaped criminal unable to free himself of his handcuffs.
Mr. Earl French embezzeled $250,000, was caught, and then sentenced to seven years in prison. None of this bothers him because it was all according to his plan. He never disclosed to the authorities where the stolen money was, and after he completes his prison term, he plans to spend it.
On route to the penitentiary, Mr. French is smug while chatting with the police officer accompanying him. His plan, however, takes a sudden new direction when the train crashes. In the aftermath, he murders the police officer, switches their wallets, and escapes.
Now, the only obstacles to his freedom are the handcuffs that he can’t remove. Mr. French can’t get the tools he needs to break them, and no one will help him. His smugness turns to desperation as his circumstances become worse, and he meets up with a cruel female hobo.
“Give Me Liberty” was written by Herb Meadow and starred William Powell. Ann Morrison played the hobo. This episode aired for the first time on October 21, 1948.
Suspense presented this story again on March 29, 1955 with good results. Television actor/writer Tony Barrett played Mr. French. Also appearing were Michael Ann Barrett, Dick Beals, Helen Kleeb, and Lou Merrill.
“A Little Piece of Rope” stars Lucille Ball in the fourth of her six appearances on Suspense. It is a peculiar tale about a baby-faced actress in Hollywood named Isabelle who turns to a life of crime. Her youthful appearance and acting skills worked against her as a professional actress, but as a thief they serve her well. Isabelle’s criminal inspiration came from an article she had once read in a Victorian-era Police Gazette. It had described “vicious females” who dressed as schoolgirls in order to “entice and trap unwary gentlemen.”
Isabelle modernizes the scam and carves out a profitable niche for herself by passing herself off as a schoolgirl. She frequents the areas around high schools, where older men trolling for young girls are to be found, and when one offers her a ride, she accepts. Later, she clubs him with her blackjack and takes off with his cash.
Things are going well but one day she gets into a car with a dangerous man. Isabelle soon discovers that he is the strangler that the police are looking for but how can she prove it to them without exposing her own criminal activity?
“A Little Piece of Rope” was written by Virginia Cross. Anton M. Leader produced and directed. Lucille Ball played Isabelle and Berry Kroeger played the strangler. At the time she appeared on this episode of Suspense, Lucille Ball was promoting her own CBS radio show, My Favorite Husband as well as the movie Sorrowful Jones. This episode aired October 14, 1948.
In “Celebration,” a married couple commemorates their anniversary the hard way.
Emily Ward had an accident a while back, and now she lives in a care facility. Tonight, her husband, Todd, is taking her out to celebrate their eigth anniversary. Emily is waiting, with her suitcase packed, because she has also decided that she is going home with him.
What Emily doesn’t know is that her doctor thinks that her condition has worsened, and that she should be transferred to a more suitable facility. Todd arrives and promises Emily a great evening out, but then spends the evening trying to maneuver her towards isolated locations. When she finds a box of bullets in his car, she is confused. What is he planning?
Celebration” was written by Arnold Marquis and Phyllis Parker. Anton M. Leader produced/directed. Virginia Bruce and Robert Young starred as Emily and Todd. Also appearing were Berry Kroeger and Paula Winslowe. This episode aired on September 23, 1948.
Suspense presented this story again on May 5, 1957, but with a very different ending. William N. Robson produced/directed. Joy LaFleur starred. Also appearing were Shepard Menken, Jack Moyles, Joe DiSantis, and Irene Tedrow.