Escape – A Dream of Armageddon

Escape’s “A Dream of Armageddon” is based on the 1901 short story by H.G. Wells. (The original work is available online at Wikisource.) Escape made a few alterations to the story by skipping the original beginning, by changing the setting from the nineteenth century to the twentieth century, and by changing the nationalities from English to American. Otherwise, they kept the rest of the story intact.

As the episode opens, a man describes a vivid dream in which he finds himself living a completely different life. In his dream, he wakes to a new life in Capri, hundreds of years into the future. He is with a woman he loves, but there is a cloud over their happiness. In order to be together, he had to leave his position as a world leader, and now, without him, world politics seems to be steadily moving towards war.

When the man wakes up in his own time, he is back in his own drab life. Was it really a dream? Days pass and eventually his dream of the future picks up again and turns into a nightmare.

“A Dream of Armageddon” was adapted for radio by Les Crutchfield and was produced and directed by Norman MacDonnell. Featured in the cast were Stacy Harris and Betty Lou Gerson. Also appearing were Charlotte Lawrence, Jack Kruschen, Erik Rolf, and John Dehner. This episode aired on September 5, 1948.

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Escape – A Diamond as Big as the Ritz from 480829

“The Diamond as Big as the Ritz” is a short story by F. Scott Fitzgerald that was first published in The Smart Set magazine (June, 1922) and later in Fitzgerald’s short story collection Tales of the Jazz Age (1922). The text of “The Diamond as Big as the Ritz” is available online at Wikisource and it may help to read it first in order to appreciate Escape’s adaptation of this unusual story.

John Unger, a young man from Hades, Mississippi, is a student at St. Midas School, an exclusive and wealthy boarding school near Boston. He often spends his school vacations at his friend’s homes, so when his school-mate, Percy Washington, invited him to his family’s home “out west” for the summer, John agreed. On the train to Montana, Percy tells him that his father is “by far the richest man in the world” and that he owns “a diamond bigger than the Ritz-Carlton Hotel.”

John assumes Percy is exaggerating, but when he arrives at the remote mountain home of the Washington family, he realizes that it is all true. He also discovers that the family will do anything necessary, no matter how ruthless, to keep their home and the diamond secret.

Escape presented this story three different times.

“A Diamond as Big as the Ritz” was adapted for radio by Les Crutchfield and produced/directed by William N. Robson. Jack Edwards, Jr., Denny Merrill, and Linda Mason appeared. This episode aired on July 21, 1947.

This story was presented again on August 29, 1948. Sam Edwards, Peggy Webber, Dan Merrill, John Dehner, and Don Diamond appeared.

This story was presented a third time on March 27, 1949. Sam Edwards starred. Also appearing were Nina Clowden, Hugh Thomas, John Dehner, and Jack Kruschen.

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