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Suspense – Death at Live Oak
In “Death at Live Oak,” a man believes that he can solve his problems by switching identities with another man.

As the episode opens, David Sutherland meets a woman in an elevator who mistakes him for her husband. Later, he meets the woman again and she is struck by his resemblance to her husband. The two have dinner and instant love follows. He is everything that her husband is not, except that he is close to bankruptcy.

The two come up with a plan to dispose of her husband and have Sutherland take his place. That way, his debtors will think he is dead, and she won’t have to go through the scandal of a divorce. Sutherland will take her husband up in his plane and parachute out before it crashes. Then, he will assume the identity of her husband, and they will live happily ever after.

Now, how could a plan like that go wrong?

“Death at Live Oak” was written by Robert E. Lee and E. Jack Neuman. William Spier produced and directed. Robert Mitchum, in the first of his two appearances on Suspense, starred as Mr. Sutherland. Also appearing were Mary Jane Croft, Jerry Hausner, William Johnstone, and Wally Maher. This episode aired on May 15, 1947.


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Suspense – Dead Ernest

In “Dead Ernest” a cataleptic is mistaken for dead and taken to the morgue. Can he be saved before he is embalmed?

Ernest Bower suffers from catalepsy, and if he has an attack, he can appear to be dead. He wears a medical bracelet on his wrist and carries in his pocket a detailed letter about his condition.

So, what happens if the bracelet falls off and the letter isn’t seen by the right people? With his safeguards gone, Mr. Bower is at the mercy of fate.

That is just what occurs the day that Mr. Bower has an attack after nearly being hit by a car…

“Dead Ernest” was written by Merwin Gerard and Cedric Lester. William Spier produced and directed. Wally Maher was featured along with Robert Bailey, Verna Felton, Jerry Hausner, Cathy Lewis, Elliott Lewis, Jay Novello, Walter Tetley, and William Wright. This episode aired on August 8, 1946.This story was presented again May 8 1947. William Spier produced and directed. Wally Maher, Howard Duff, Cathy Lewis and Elliott Lewis appeared.

This story was presented for the third time with Pat O’Brien starred. Anton M. Leader produced and directed.

The Suspense television show presented this story on May 3, 1949.


Best or Worst? – Lady in Distress

Suspense’s “Lady in Distress” showcases Ava Gardner. The radio-play was written by John Michael Hayes, who also wrote the screenplays for the Alfred Hitchcock films Rear Window, The Trouble With Harry, and The Man Who Knew Too Much. So why isn’t this episode better? It could have been a neatly packaged radio noir but it isn’t.

“Lady in Distress” begins with a hitch-hiker, which is always a good start, but then Ava Gardner’s character, Mrs. Harris, and the hitch-hiker named Sullivan start talking while she is driving. We find out that he is an escaped criminal, and that now she is in danger. They keep talking and driving, driving, driving. The humm of the motor, the sound of rain, the endless dialogue…zzzz. Suddenly, they stop in a diner for hamburgers and coffee in a completely unnecessary scene. Then there is more talking, driving…motor humming…rain sounds…zzz…zzzz.

When we wake up again we find out that the escaped convict wants revenge on the policeman who put him in prison. That man just happens to be the husband of Mrs. Harris! Of course, that’s no accident. She hates her mean, crabby husband and wants to help Sullivan accomplish his revenge. They arrange to put a bomb in her husband’s car but things don’t go as planned. It would be a surprise if they did because neither of these two seems that bright. In the end, the bad people get their come-uppance through their own evil work.

So, that’s that.

You really have to listen closely to this story to appreciate it but due to the somnolent sound effects, this is hard to do. “Lady in Distress” was Ava Gardner’s only appearance on Suspense. The previous year she had starred in the film noir The Killers by Ernest Hemingway. Also featured in this episode were Howard Duff as Sullivan and Wally Maher as the husband. It was produced and directed by William Spier, who later worked with Gardner on the film Tam Lin. “Lady in Distress” aired on May 1, 1947.


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Suspense – Win, Place and Murder

In “Win, Place and Murder,” a bookie is murdered and two detectives try to find the real killer.

Chris Draper and Laura Lee are competing private detectives who occupy offices across the hall from each other. Laura wants Chris to marry her, but he doesn’t have the money.

As the episode opens, Chris calls his bookie, Joey Gault, to place a bet. When he is told that isn’t possible, he leaves his office to place his bet down the street.

As Draper returns, Joey Gault’s collection man, Mike Ferrago, arrives. He is looking for Frank Pilson, who, he claims, has just shot Gault.

Draper doesn’t know anything about it until he goes across the hall and finds Frank Pilson in the office of Laura Lee. What has Laura gotten herself into? She doesn’t believe Pilson is Gault’s killer.

Is Laura right? Or, is she in over her head?

“Win, Place and Murder” was adapted from a story by Emile C. Tepperman. William Spier produced and directed. Richard Conte starred. Also appearing were Hans Conried, Cathy Lewis, and Wally Maher. This episode aired on April 24, 1947.


Suspense – Green-Eyed Monster
In “Green-Eyed Monster,” a man kills his wife to marry his girlfriend, but is she worth the trouble?

As the episode opens, Michael Dawson receives an early morning phone call from the police informing him that his Pontiac was stolen during the night. The car is now at their station, and they want him to come in and claim it.

Mr. Dawson then calls his insurance man, and the two of them go to the police station later that morning. When they arrive, the sergeant shows them what was found in the car’s trunk — the dead body of Mrs. Dawson.

Of course, Mr. Dawson was the one who killed her, but he manages to evade the suspicions of the police. He did it so that he could be with his girlfriend, Judy, but how well does he really know her? Does she know that he can get a little jealous?

“Green-Eyed Monster” was written by Elliott Lewis and Robert L. Richards. William Spier produced/directed. Lloyd Nolan starred. Also appearing were Cathy Lewis, Wally Maher, and Joseph Kearns. This episode aired on April 17, 1947.


Suspense – Community Property

In “Community Propery,” Kirk Douglas stars as a husband who doesn’t want to share his inheritance with his wife.

George and Lois Mason don’t get along anymore. At the breakfast table, they can’t say one civil word to each other. Lois wants a divorce, but she doesn’t think that George will pay for the lawyers and her alimony. George tells her not to worry, he will gladly pay the expenses. (He thinks the only reason she has stayed with him is because of the money he may inherit from his uncle.)

So, finally, they agree to divorce.

As it turns out, George has been trying to get her to leave him for over a year. Under the community property laws of California, she might be able to claim half of everything that he has now…or may receive later.

That same day, when Uncle Burt suddenly dies, George realizes that a divorce isn’t going to solve his problems. Lois can still claim half! So, he decides that the only option is to get Lois out of the way altogether. How smart is that?

“Community Property” was written by Robert L. Richards from a story by Arthur Julian and Howard Leeds. William Spier produced and directed. Kirk Douglas starred. Also appearing were Cathy Lewis, Paul Frees, Joseph Kearns, and Howard McNear. This episode aired on April 10, 1947.



Suspense – The Swift Rise of Eddie Albright

In “The Swift Rise of Eddie Albright,” Phil Silvers stars as an elevator operator who gets to the top in an unusual way.

Phil_SilversAs the episode opens, Eddie explains that he is moving up in the world and that he won’t be working as an elevator operator much longer.

Why is that? Well, it all started when he went down to the Elite Barber Shop to get a manicure from Milly. Normally, he went in for three or four manicures a week in an attempt to impress her, but this time was different. This time, he went too far and made the mistake of telling her that he held a higher position that he actually did. Later, when Milly found out that he was a phony, she gave him the brush-off.

When Eddie went back to work, he soon found himself embroiled in another drama. Two men brought a rolled-up carpet onto his elevator…a carpet that had feet sticking out at the bottom…

So, how does it all work out for Eddie?

“The Swift Rise of Eddie Albright” was written by Roy Grandy and Robert L. Richards. William Spier produced and directed. Phil Silvers starred. Cathy Lewis played Milly. Also appearing were Jerry Hausner, Frank Lovejoy, Wally Maher, and Joseph Kearns. This episode aired on April 3, 1947.



Suspense – Elwood
In “Elwood,” Eddie Bracken stars as a high school dropout, who is more unusual than anyone realizes.

Elwood Parsons left school to work at the gas station. He helps support his mother and sister that way, but he misses being in school. His father is dead and his stepfather is long gone, but he does have friends around town.

One of them is Miss Wilson, a psychology teacher at the school. The other is Mr. Krantz, an old recluse who lives outside of town. When a number of mysterious murders take place, the residents think the culprit is Mr. Krantz, but Miss Wilson is nervous that her young friend may know more than he is telling.

“Elwood” was written by Robert L. Richards and produced/directed by William Spier. Eddie Bracken starred as Elwood. Cathy Lewis played Miss Wilson. This episode aired on March 6, 1947.