Richard Widmark on radio

Suspense 540419 The Card Game

In “The Card Game,” Richard Widmark plays a gambler desperate for a change in his luck.

Chick doesn’t keep a steady job because he thinks he is a big-time gambler. The other gamblers tell him that he is just a two-bit chiseler, but Chick doesn’t hear them.

Chick is convinced that he can win big and then stop. He knows other gamblers who have done it, so why can’t it happen to him? Chick’s wife, Jenny, has had enough. Their baby is due in a couple of weeks, but she wants to divorce him now. Jenny doesn’t believe Chick will ever be able to stop gambling.

Will Chick’s luck change, or is it hopeless for him?

“The Card Game” was written by E. Jack Neuman and produced/directed by Elliott Lewis. Richard Widmark starred. Also appearing were Cathy Lewis, Hy Averback, Eddie Fields, Joe Granby, Lou Krugman, Jay Novello, and Clayton Post. This episode aired on April 19, 1954.



Richard Widmark on radio

521013 e482 How Long is the Night

Suspense – How Long is the Night?

In “How Long is the Night?, ” Richard Widmark stars as a photographer stranded alone on a radioactive island. This episode is based on the true report by a man named Warner Taube Jr., although there doesn’t appear to be a published account of his story. This episode takes place in the Enewetak Atoll, which was the site of atom bomb testing by the United States between 1948 and 1958.

As the episode opens, it is an early morning in May, and an American crew waits for the exlposion of an experimental atom bomb. Afterwards, Warner and his assistants will go to the island dressed in protective gear and photograph the results.

Later, when they arrive on what remains of Island 27, they are overwhelmed by the devastation. The three of them set out to photograph the results, but after a couple of hours, they realize they are short on film. Warner tells his two assistants to take the boat and go back to the ship to get supplies.

Warner remains behind, alone, on the dead island…or is he?

“How Long is the Night” was written for radio by television writer James Moser, and produced/directed by Elliott Lewis. Richard Widmark starred. Also appearing were Joseph Kearns, Herbert Butterfield, and Jack Kruschen. This episode aired on October 13, 1952.


Richard Widmark on radio

520414 e469 Mate Bram

Suspense’s “Mate Bram” was loosely adapted from the true story of Thomas M. Bram chronicled by librarian/writer Edmund Pearson in his 1924 groundbreaking study of American crime, Studies in Murder. Instead of staying true to this Victorian horror tale of murder on the high seas, Suspense turned it into something similar to a 1940’s noir.

Edmund Pearson’s account of the true story of Mate Bram details the the events of a triple murder onboard the barkentine Herbert Fuller in 1896. The ship’s captain, his wife, and the second mate were ax murdered by an unknown assailant in the middle of the night. The crew sailed the ship to Halifax, Nova Scotia, and ultimately, Mate Bram was accused of the crime. The case was transferred to Boston where, he was tried for murder not once, but twice, and found guilty by a jury both times. Bram served fifteen years, was paroled, and then granted a presidential pardon.

You can read more about the case of Mate Bram, and other interesting true stories, on the website of the Center on Wrongful Convictions, Northwestern University School of Law.

Suspense’s version skips over all that, and portrays Bram as an alcoholic who lusts after the captain’s younger wife. She lures him into her cabin with wine, and while he is lost in an alcholic blackout, three people are murdered. Since he can’t remember what happened that night, he is blamed for the crime. All of this has nothing to do with the true story, but their version provides some memorably tawdry lines of dialogue like these:

Mate Bram: “…I stayed on because she was compelling, with a bold look…and because a man is always a hunter.”


Mate Bram: “Why does a young woman marry with a man like that and go sailing off on a ship with him…and eleven other men. No lady would do that, would she?”

Mate Bram: “You are a married woman, Mrs. Nash.”

Captain’s wife: “I think that makes more difference to you than it does to me. Why are you so good?”

Captain’s wife: “Whether I’m married or not, I’m a woman. Am I not?

Mate Bram: Yes, yes you are.

Captain’s wife: And, I…deserve to have the company that I like. I…brought a bottle of wine.
“Mate Bram” was adapted for radio by Gil Doud and produced/directed by Elliott Lewis. Richard Widmark starred. Also appearing were Joan Banks, Joseph Kearns, Roy Glenn, Lou Merrill, Robert North, Steve Roberts, and Ben Wright. This episode aired on April 14, 1952.