Escape – The Fourth Man
Escape presented several episodes based on short stories by John Russell, and among these, “The Fourth Man” was the most popular.
“The Fourth Man” is the story of three French convicts who have just escaped from a prison in Noumea, New Caledonia. The leader of the group, Dr. Dubosc, has made all of the arrangements. First they will be ferried out to sea in a raft and then, when they are safely away from the coast, they will be met by a ship.
At the helm of the raft is a Kanak tribesman who was given the job of taking them out to meet the ship. As the three Frenchmen wait on the raft under the blazing sun, their water supply dwindles and they become increasingly hostile. What they can’t understand is why the Kanak who is steering their raft is not troubled by the elements or the lack of water. As “civilized” men they consider themselves to be superior to the Kanak in every way, but their actions prove otherwise.
The full text of “The Fourth Man” (1917) is available online at Gaslight and Horrormasters.com. The script of the 1947 Escape broadcast is available online from the Generic Radio Workshop.
Escape first presented the radio adaptation of “The Fourth Man” by screenwriter Irving Ravetch on August 18, 1947. This episode was produced/directed by William N. Robson and featured Paul Frees, Joseph Kearns, and Nestor Paiva. William Johnstone was the narrator.
The second presentation aired on April 25, 1948. This episode was produced/directed by Norman MacDonnell and featured Berry Kroeger, Joseph Kearns, and Jay Novello. Eric Rolf was the narrator.
The third presentation aired on July 7, 1949. This episode was produced/directed by Norman MacDonnell and featured Joseph Kearns, Ben Wright, and Barney Phillips. Lawrence Dobkin was the narrator.