In “Hitchhiker Poker,” Gregory Peck stars as a hitchhiker who takes a ride with someone dangerous.
As the episode opens, Ridge Fowler, a college student and former vet, is hitchhiking to Ojai to visit his mother. His dilemna appears to be resolved when a yellow convertible pulls up, and the friendly man behind the wheel offers him a ride. Ridge accepts! The driver, Jay Stewart Belden, seems like a good guy. Why, he even buys Ridge lunch, and gives him the coat off his back.
Gregory_Peck_in_Gentleman’s_Agreement_trailer Not long afterwards, Mr. Belden jumps out of the car and leaves Ridge to die an explosive death! Ridge survives the crash…but then Mr. Belden starts shooting at him!
So, why did Mr. Belden offer to give Ridge a ride?
“Hitchhiker Poker” was written by John and Gwen Bagni, and produced/ directed by Anton M. Leader. Gregory Peck starred. Also appearing were Ed Begley and Kay Brinker. This episode aired on September 16, 1948.
In “The Big Shot,” a baby-faced engineer takes a job with an illegal mining operation in Mexico.
As the episode opens, Charlie Morton arrives by bus in a remote Mexican village. Morton is happily greeted by Quinn, the boss of the mining operation that hired him.
Quinn soon discovers that his new engineer is qualified for the job but touchy about his youthful appearance. Very touchy.
Quinn already has his crew mining a rich vein of gold quartz up in the mountains, and Morton’s job is to set up a stamping mill. Their objective is to quickly mine the gold and then quietly smuggle it of the Mexico. The trick is, that they have to do this without the locals, the bandits, or the government discovering their operation.
“The Big Shot” was based on a story by Brett Halliday and adapted for radio by Lawrence Goldman. Burt Lancaster, in the first of his two appearances on Suspense, starred as Charlie Morton. Also appearing were Gerald Mohr and Cathy Lewis. This episode aired on September 9, 1948.
Best or Worst – The Morrison Affair
One can only wonder what the people at Suspense were thinking when they presented this episode.
“The Morrison Affair” starts out well and keeps us interested until the second half of the episode. Then we realize it is a stupid story. By the end of it, we are certain that it is a stupid story. How does it keep us until the end? Well, it has something to do with the small child who appears to be in constant danger throughout the last half of the show. We can’t help but be worried.
As the episode opens, Mrs. Morrison is calling upon a divorce attorney. She explains that she needs help, and then she tells him the story of how she met her husband, Dr. Paul Morrison. She is English, and he is American. They met in England and stayed there during the first two years of their marriage. She desperately wanted a child but was unable to have one. On their last day together, before Dr. Morrison left to serve in the war, she tried to convince him that they should adopt a child. Her husband flatly rejected the idea, and Mrs. Morrison was heartbroken.
After her husband left, Mrs. Morrison was alone and unhappy in London, but her situation changed the day she took a train to the country. She shared a train compartment with a widowed woman and her several children. The mother seemed overwhelmed by her burden, and Mrs. Morrison felt that the woman was indirectly asking her for relief. So, she stole the woman’s baby.
After creating a birth record for their son Jaimie, and lying to her husband, Mrs. Morrison felt confident that her plan had worked. Had it? When her husband returned from the war, he had doubts about their “miracle kid.” In fact, he seemed to hold grudge against the little guy.
“The Morrison Affair’ was written for Suspense by Pamela Wilcox. British actress Madeleine Carroll, best known for her role in Alfred Hitchcock’s 39 Steps, starred as Mrs. Morrison. Gerald Mohr played Mr. Morrison. This episode aired on September 2, 1948.
“Song of the Heart” is the story of a stifled man and the suffocating, passive-aggressive aunt who raised him.
Van Heflin plays Neil Wilson, a young guy with an overburdened life. Neil was raised by Aunt Alice and as the episode opens, he is turning himself into the police. Neil tells them he has just killed his aunt.
The trouble started when Neil met Muriel Jones at the company picnic. Neil and Muriel fell in love instantly and wanted to marry, but his aunt refused to accept what was really happening. She didn’t like Muriel, and she tried in a not-too-subtle way to communicate those feelings to Neil. Did he understand what his Aunt Alice was trying to tell him?
“Song of the Heart” was written for Suspense by Elliott Lewis and produced/directed by Anton Leader. Van Heflin starred as Neil and Betty Lou Gerson played Muriel. Lurene Tuttle played Aunt Alice.
In “Beware the Quiet Man,” Ann Sothern stars as a woman who decides to change her ways…unless it is already too late.
Ann_Sothern_As the episode opens, Margie arrives at a bar to meet her boyfriend, but instead, she is informed that he will be an hour late. So, she calls her husband and tells him a lie that will buy her more time.
However, there is another man at the bar who wants to buy her a drink, and after a little pushing from the bartender, she agrees.
That is how she meets Lem, a private investigator. He is working on a case that involves a wife cheating on her mousy, bank teller husband. As Lem tries to impress her with the danger of his job and the violent nature of his client…Margie becomes more and more concerned about the similarities between the case he is describing and her own mousy, bank teller husband.
Did Margie’s husband hire him, or is it all just coincidence?
“Beware the Quiet Man” was written by Toby Hall and produced/directed by Anton M. Leader. Ann Sothern and William Conrad starred. The names of the other actors aren’t given. This episode aired on August 12, 1948.
In “An Honest Man,” Charles Laughton stars as a grocery worker who steals money from his employer to cover a bet.
As the episode opens, Freddie’s mother has just died…and he is glad. For most of his forty-four years, his mother has been the center of his life. Now, she is gone!
The next day, he returns to his job at the sandwich counter in Mr. Kelsey’s grocery store. Freddie has been at his job for twenty-six years and his boss trusts him completely. That evening, as he and his coworker, Dora, close up the store, Freddie asks to walk her home.
He is interested in Dora, but she admits that she can’t get serious about a guy unless he has a little nest egg put away. Freddie doesn’t have a nest egg, but he wants Dora, so he tries to figure out how to get one.
The next day, Tom Bass, the local bookie, drops by the store. He provides Freddie with an opportunity to raise money quickly, and all he has to do is borrow a bit from the cash register…
“An Honest Man” was written by Robert L. Richards and produced/directed by Anton M. Leader. Charles Laughton starred. This episode aired on August 5, 1948.
“Summer Night” is based on a story by Ray Bradbury and stars Ida Lupino in a creepy episode about a serial killer.
As the episode opens, Anna is trying to phone her friend Helen, but she can’t get through. The operator is having trouble connecting the call because everyone in town is in a panic about two murders that have recently taken place. The “Lipstick Killer” has struck twice, and the town is terrified he will strike again.
Anna wants Helen to come and stay with her because she doesn’t feel safe alone in her home. Helen finds the request odd because the two of them haven’t spoken for four years, but she eventually agrees to come over. Helen knows that her old friend Anna is a bit strange, but she soon realizes how much stranger Anna has become since she last saw her.
“Summer Night” was adapted by Robert L. Richards from an original story by Ray Bradbury. Anton M. Leader produced and directed. Ida Lupino starred as Anna. This episode aired on July 15, 1948.
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“Summer Night” was also presented on the Suspense television show on February 19, 1952, but that episode is not known to be available at this time.
“Deadline at Dawn”, the last of the 19 episodes of Suspense made in 1948 for an hour-long format, was based on the 1944 novel by William Irish (aka Cornell Woolrich). There is also a 1946 film noir of the same name, but the radio version and the movie differ. Francis M. Nevins, in his 1988 book Cornell Woolrich: First You Dream, Then You Die, described Suspense’s adaptation of Woolrich’s story this way: “Deadline at Dawn, as adapted by Irving Ravetch, stayed reasonably close to Woolrich’s 1944 novel and avoided all resemblences to the eccentric 1946 movie version. …It was a workmanlike episode, emphasizing romance rather than the noir coloration of the novel, and doesn’t rank with the series finest Woolrich adaptations.”
“Deadline at Dawn” was one of four Woolrich stories that were expanded into hour-long episodes in 1948. It may or may not be one of Suspense’s finest, but once the story gets going it is worth the time.
This episode, Suspense’s last one-hour show, aired on May 15, 1948. It stars Helen Walker as Bricky and John Beal as Quinn. Also appearing are Lillian Buyeff, William Johnstone, Buddy Gray, Edith Tackner, and Rye Billsbury.
Suspense – Life Ends at Midnight
In “Life Ends at Midnight,” Dane Clark stars as a son who decides to murder his mother’s lodger for the insurance money.
As the episode opens, Walter arrives unexpectedly at the home of his devoted mother. She is happy to see him, but puzzled as to why he has come. It doesn’t take long for the real reason for his visit to become apparent.
Fay_Bainter_He needs money…again. If Walter doesn’t get it, he will end up in prison.
His mother explains that she gave up all her savings to help him the last time he was in trouble. Now, she has nothing.
Walter doesn’t like that answer, but then he realizes that she does have something valuable…a lodger with no family named Mr. Chalmers…
“Life Ends at Midnight” was written by Robert Tallman and produced/directed by William Spier. Dane Clark and Fay Bainter starred. Also appearing were Hans Conried, William Johnstone, and Ralph Morgan. This episode aired on February 17, 1944.
Suspense presented this episode a second time, with a downer of an introduction by Robert Montgomery, on May 8, 1948. Fay Bainter starred with Tony Barrett and Norman Field. Anton M. Leader produced and directed.
Suspense’s “Suspicion” was adapted from the 1940 short story by Dororthy L. Sayers, which is available in the book Dorothy L. Sayers: The Complete Short Stories, as well as in other anthology books.
As the episode opens, Mr. Mummery is not feeling well. His business partner, Mr. Brookes notices and they discuss his health, the health of his wife, and their new cook. Mr. Brookes then asks Mr. Mummery if he can recommend any other cooks because he knows a family that needs one. Recommendations are important because there is a poisoner on the loose named Mrs. Andrews, who seeks out positions as cook. The police think she is still in their neighborhood.
It doesn’t take long for Mr. Mummery to start to think about his stomach problems, his new cook, and the the danger that they might be in. So, he begins to investigate his suspicions…
“Suspicion” was was adapted for Suspense by Peter Barry and presented on August 12, 1942 but there are no known recordings of that broadcast. Pedro de Cordoba and Helen Lewis starred.
Suspense presented this story a second time on February 10, 1944 using the same script. William Spier produced and directed. Charles Ruggles starred. Also appearing were Hans Conried, William Johnstone, John McIntire, and Joseph Kearns.
Suspense presented this story a third time on April 3, 1948, but this time it was adapted by Irving Ravetch for an hour-long presentation. Sam Jaffe starred. Also appearing were Lurene Tuttle and Alan Reed.
The Suspense television show also presented an adapation of “Suspicion” on March 15, 1949. That episode survives, and can be found on disc one of Suspense: The Lost Episodes Collection Two.
“Suspicion” was also adapted for television by The Actors Studio (“Mr. Mummery’s Suspicion”) in 1950, Studio One (“Mr. Mummery’s Suspicion”) in 1951 and Alfred Hitchock Presents (“Our Cook’s a Treasure”)in 1955.
Studio One’s 1951 broadcast can be found online at the Internet Archive.